The Government is closely monitoring the global financial crisis and its impact on pensioners and has asked Centrelink make a special one-off update of our system with the current value of any shares and managed investments that pensioners might hold. This will be done in the next few weeks to ensure pension payments are based on the most up-to-date asset values available.
Q. How often asset evaluations are carried out for full or part Age pensioners?
A. Generally, updates on shares and investments are only made twice a year in March and September, however people can ask for a revaluation of their personal financial situation at any time.
Q. Is this review a one off? Has it been brought forward? If so, when was it originally scheduled?
A. Centrelink will automatically reassess the share values it has on customer files and adjust people’s payment rates where necessary. If customers who have investments and who are on a part rate were expecting a change in their payment and this doesn’t happen after several few weeks, they should call Centrelink on 13 2300 to discuss the situation. If possible, people should have their investment certificates handy to help speed up the process.
Q. What of those NOT on an age pension who may now be eligible because of lower assets – how do these people go about applying?
A. If affected investors are not currently Centrelink customers then they can test their eligibility for a Centrelink payment or ask to talk to a Financial Information Service Officer by calling 13 2300. Claims for Age Pension can be lodged online at www.centrelink.gov.au, over the phone or at Centrelink offices.
Q. For those whose assets are NOT FROZEN but need money urgently, an Advance payment may be available – can you share a brief synopsis of what an advance payment is and when/how it needs to be paid back?
A. Advance payments are an advance on a person’s regular pension payment, up to $500. The advance always has to be paid back through a reduction in a person’s fortnightly pension. People can only get an Advance Payment if they are on certain Centrelink payments (including the Age Pension) and can only have one advance in a 12 month period. More information is on the Centrelink website here: Advance Payment
Centrelink also have a Hardship information factsheet.