Get ready now to apply for the Age Pension

Australians reach Age Pension age when they turn 67. But did you know you can submit your claim up to 13 weeks before you reach Age Pension age?

That doesn’t mean you have to retire then, and there are programs in place to provide support for older Australians who choose to work beyond Age Pension age. One example is the Work Bonus, which may reduce the effect of your employment income on your rate of payment.

If you work, Services Australia applies the Work Bonus of $300 a fortnight against your gross employment income or eligible self-employment income. That means the first $300 a fortnight of your work income won’t count towards the Age Pension income test.

If your work income is less than $300 in the fortnight, then any of your unused Work Bonus is saved, up to a maximum of $11,800. Your Work Bonus balance can be used to offset any future income from work. 

The Work Bonus doesn’t apply to other types of income such as investment returns.

If you’re thinking of claiming an Age Pension, there are things you can do to make the process easier for you.

The first thing is to check if you’re going to be eligible to receive the payment. These eligibility rules also include both income and assets tests.

Visit the website Payment and Service Finder page. You can use this online tool as a quick check to see if you might be eligible for payments from us.

If you have more complex financial circumstances, you might need extra help. You can call Centrelink on 132 300 and ask to speak to a financial information service officer – just say the words ‘financial information service’ when prompted about why you’re calling.

Centrelink’s financial information service (FIS) is a free service that can inform and educate you about financial matters including how different financial products may impact on your pension. FIS doesn’t provide financial advice or promote products or providers, but offers information, tools and resources to help you make informed decisions.

It’s also helpful to have as much supporting documentation lodged with your claim as possible. This means gathering your documents prior to beginning the claim.

The information you need to provide is outlined in your claim form. It includes proof of identity, residence status, and income and assets. That could include bank statements, super statements, tax returns, and statements for your shares.

You can lodge your documents by uploading them through your myGov account linked to your Centrelink record or through the Express Plus Centrelink app. If you don’t have a myGov account yet, go to to create one.

You can also mail your documents in or give them to us at one of our service centres.

Did you know you could apply for the Age Pension 13 weeks before you’re eligible? Do you have any other tips for members? Share them in the comments section below.

Also read: How to make the most of a windfall

Hank Jongen is general manager of Services Australia.

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