Centrelink Q&A: Which pension should you choose?

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Barbara is unsure whether she is better off with the carer’s pension or the Age Pension.

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Q. Barbara
My husband and I are separated, but we live in the same retirement village. I am on the Age Pension and he is a disability pensioner. I am still responsible for driving him to all appointments. I cook his meals, clean his unit and do all his admin. Am I entitled to a carer’s pension for looking after him? 

Also, how do I go about making an appointment with a Financial Information Services representative for financial advice? 

A. If your husband’s care requirements meet the standard, you may be eligible for a carer’s pension, but you will then have to choose whether you would rather receive an Age Pension or a carer’s pension.

The Carer Payment and the Age Pension have the same rate of payment, the same income and assets test is applied, and both pensions entitle you to a Pensioner Concession Card.

There can, however, be advantages to receiving either the Carer Payment or the Age Pension depending on your circumstances. For example, if you are intending to travel outside Australia, the guidelines for being an Age Pensioner during an absence from Australia may be more beneficial.

If you choose to receive the carer payment, you will be contacted every two years by Centrelink to confirm that you are continuing to provide care and you may be required to provide a medical report about the care receiver.

You may be entitled to a higher rate or rent assistance on the carer payment than you are on the Age Pension, depending on your exact circumstances.

If you choose the carer payment you may also be entitled to a bereavement payment on their passing, which you will not be eligible for on the Age Pension.

You can make an appointment to visit a Centrelink Financial Information Services officer by calling 13 2300.

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Disclaimer: All content on YourLifeChoices website is of a general nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It has been prepared with due care but no guarantees are provided for the ongoing accuracy or relevance. Before making a decision based on this information, you should consider its appropriateness in regard to your own circumstances. You should seek professional advice from a financial planner, lawyer or tax agent in relation to any aspects that affect your financial and legal circumstances.

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