How to tell if Centrelink is calculating your pension correctly

Denise is worried that her part pension payments are not being calculated correctly.

Denise is worried that her part pension payments are not being calculated correctly by Centrelink.


Q. Denise
I am struggling to work out how Centrelink calculates the penalty deducted from the pensions of both my partner and myself, for money earned for my casual work.

I have been starting with my fortnightly gross pay, deducting the $304 fortnightly allowance and then calculating the balance at $0.50 cents per dollar. Centrelink, however, is deducting a lot more than that from our pension.

Do I have the calculation formula correct?

A. You seem to be using the right formula, but perhaps you are not considering all of your income. Your income does not just include any money you earn for working, but also deemed income from financial investments, including money in both of your superannuation funds. So, the only problem with your calculation is that it does not appear to include all of the money that is being assessed as income.

If you would like further information, you can contact a Centrelink Financial Information Services officer by calling 13 2300.

If you have a Centrelink question, please send it to and we’ll do our best to answer it for you.

Are you eligible for an Age Pension? Do you know your rights? The PensionChecker™ tool has all the information you need.


    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 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 Centrelink Financial Information Services officer, financial planner, lawyer or tax agent in relation to any aspects that affect your financial and legal circumstances.


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    On the Ball
    4th Feb 2019
    Is that IT?
    Judging be the headlines that sucked me in, I expected an informative article. Not just more of the same wordy stuff we already know.
    Oh and recommending contacting Centrelink by phone is a bit of a cop out. Does anyone actually get through to Centrelink these days?
    4th Feb 2019
    I do but its lost hours hanging on the end of the phone.
    4th Feb 2019
    Well, it's not rocket science On the Ball....walk the talk and be on the ball :)
    4th Feb 2019
    Actually if you can get into a centrelink office, you are much better going in person. Unfortunately you have to make more than one vissit to set up a proper meeting, I went in arranged a time with financial people from Cetnrelink and about 3 weeks later saw someone fro a good hour or more.
    Things were explained but you have to concentrate and be on the ball.
    It is without a doubt that the people who werk out the rules and the figures on behalf of centrelink are either deliberately making it difficult or they are so entrenched in their little bureaucratic world that they simply have no idea of the average person

    I truly bleive this because no mater how hard and long you worked in your life , they never ever seem to be doing anything but hunt down ways to give you less. To a point of ridiculous, I have a part pension , this month they dropped it by $3.00 dollars. That saved them $78 dollars per annum. It is laughable , but say you multiply that $78 for the year with several thousand pensioners , well you see where I am going , they are not much better than insurance companies. They need some strong handed changes made in our welfare system.
    4th Feb 2019
    Centrelink says to call at 8am to get through quickly but what they don't realise is the eastern states are 30mins ahead of SA so even if we call at 8am 9 times out of 10 your waiting on the q and thats if you can get through.
    4th Feb 2019
    Try Perth in summer?
    Pension expert
    4th Feb 2019
    Given that about 90% of staff do not know how to calculate these things manually - ordinary people have nearly a zero% chance of working it out - and unfortunately there is are no simple explanations due to the complexities of varying influencing factors. 100% of Financial Information Service officers should be able to work this out manually but given there are less than 100 in Australia - good luck getting through.
    4th Feb 2019
    The staff don't calculate anything. They simply input the data into the computer and it's worked out by the system. Of course, if they make a mistake with the data entry then it's different kettle of rotting fish
    4th Feb 2019
    Didn't answer a thing, if you can even find it amongst the millions of ads cluttering up this site. I've pretty much given up on Your Life Choices, it's just a vehicle for shoving more and more ads onto the screen. Just a money-making venture.
    4th Feb 2019
    Agree's totally! Also "moderation" of nasty/bullying comments = zilch!
    4th Feb 2019
    As I recall, you've made a few of those yourself Foxy... "Hypocrisy … is the greatest luxury; raise the double standard!"
    4th Feb 2019
    Knows-a-lot - you obviously know JS? Right? What a joke to make an assumption like that!

    "To assume - is to be an ass"

    Only thing I have ever done is retaliate against rubbish like you just posted! LOL
    5th Feb 2019
    Foxy, I think the expression is "Assume, to make an ass out of u and me". Just saying.

    4th Feb 2019
    This can happen - especially for those on part or whatever. Funny how the ATO can connect immediately to every dollar in your bank, but somehow there is no scope for an automatic review of part pensions annually, and adjustment as required, especially with stock market downturns etc going on (and set to get worse).

    You need to watch every step and do your own figures to ensure that the clerk hasn't made a mistake... the ex, when widowed, had to go on widow's pension, and her super, which amounted to $12,000, suddenly became a $12,000 income annually. She missed it in her grief and upset, and the requirements of young family, and it was two years before this error came to light.

    Never forget that Colonel C'Link - in the current climate of those dreadful pensioners costing so much - are under orders to knock you down for every cent.

    I say they can go to hell... we need a total revamp of the pensions system, just like many other facets of economic (and social) life these days... company tax rules, allowable concessions, income vanishing into trusts, super fund rorts for the name it... and don't get me started on the social sphere with all its current insanities.
    5th Feb 2019
    Yep, total revamp of the pensions system, especially if it's Universal Age Pension al lot of the trouble (and costs) for dealing with Centrelinjk would be gone.

    And also, yes, the whole range of insanities in action as you have noted begs the question - What the hell have the voters being doing, voting these Liberal, Labor & Greens into power again and again and again...?

    4th Feb 2019
    Advice Column:-

    When consulting Colonel C'Link staff, smile and treat them well, and they will generally fall over themselves to give you everything.... treat them like Ali Baba and the Forty Bank CEOs, and they'll give you the bottom line only.....

    ACT like a nice person and they think they should give you the world.. after all.... it's only Gu'mint money....
    4th Feb 2019
    Joe Hockey did a good job i no longer have to worry about C/Link.
    4th Feb 2019
    Yeah - a good job at wrecking the joint...
    4th Feb 2019
    Wait until the franking credit thing cuts in and a lot decide to spend down and make life easier on a full pension CPI adjusted and with those lovely concessions and freebies.
    4th Feb 2019
    A pension is not welfare.

    Now is the season for discontent, so do something about it!
    It is time to kill off this insane hugely expensive pensioner whacking bureaucracy.

    It is time for all of us (yes that means you) to rant at our MPs and Senators daily to take action for human decency and a huge stress reduction for pensioners

    A pension is not welfare.

    Most economist say we will save taxpayers money by dropping asset testing because of the massive overheads cost in running Centrelink and the 10,000 conflicting rules.

    Hiring more Centrelink staff will only increase taxpayer’s costs for processing the creeping insane red tape monster system politicians and well paid bureaucrats have created.

    Help scrap it now. Become a hero.

    Even poorer New Zealand has a NO ASSET pension so it is cheaper and user friendly.

    Why worry that few million$ earners get it too. That is peanuts to them, not enough for a good vintage champagne.

    Do retired and retiring people really look forward and want 100++ visits to/from Centrelink and be part of 3 million waiting queues and lost calls?

    We all (that means you) need to tell our MP and senators every day that these criminal asset tests for a pension must be dropped now.
    Karl Marx
    5th Feb 2019
    Glad to see your post back GC. Our current OAP if broken beyond repair so needs scrapping entirely & NZ model introduced. KISS as it's currently costing billions to implement the current broken system. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to understand the Kiwi system but rocket scientists would struggle to understand any of the Aussie system.
    July 2020 sounds like a good transition date as it's also the start of a new financial year so will make it a bit easier for all those retirees that have to submit tax returns.
    5th Feb 2019
    Absolutely, in fact NO Tests. How come politicians such as Joe Hockey, Bronwyn Bishop, Phillip Ruddock and a whole lot of others are able to get additional income and have huge assets, yet they also get fat pensions on top of that? Disgusting, disgusting, disgusting.

    Definitely all must write to your MPs and DEMAND Universal Age Pension (at Age 65 and Residency of say 15 years) with NO other tests. And scrap all Special Pensions for Politicians - past and present, with no Grandfathering. They didn't Grandfather the 2017 Asset Tesr changes.

    Now is the time, with an election coming. All Retirees must vote against them if they don't agree (by putting them last in preferences), all must stop being docile and getting rolled over again and again and again.
    4th Feb 2019
    Last comment, we all complain and we all vote, why does nothing change?
    Begging the question, do we actually live in a democracy? Most likely not really.
    4th Feb 2019
    Finally, the penny begins to drop.

    I have posted umpteen times here on YLC that continually whinging about the same old stuff but doing nothing means nothing will change.

    Only now you are waking up?

    If you want change, you have to make it happen. Whinging and whining doesn't cut it. Politicians are not interested in pensioners, and they certainly don't read the continuous barrage of tripe that gets posted here.

    When we get off our backsides and take charge of our destiny with action, then things will change.
    4th Feb 2019
    continuous barrage of protest......

    They read it when I send it to them...... we need a new party... call it the Tsunami Party... sort of a T Party with sun and ami(s)...
    5th Feb 2019
    Too late to change things we do not have a chance in the world of changing a thing. Voting differently will not change the outcome. We are becoming the minority of voters as with immigration climbing they will out number us. Also new comers have no idea on how or who to vote for so our system is stuffed. Want to know how I know this? I worked on the polling booths and the majority do not have a clue on how to vote or why we vote. If anything was to change we need a very strong charismatic person to head up a new party, one who speaks for true Australians, I thought Pauline might be the answer but too many people laugh at her. She speaks the truth but needs more strength. God help us.
    5th Feb 2019
    Why does nothing change? Because the majority vote like sheep deciding which of the major parties should slaughter them! God won't help sheep who don't help themselves.

    Vote AGAINST the MP from any Major party in your current seat by putting them LAST in preferences to ensure that MP loses. This as to happen a couple of times and we may then have a better group representing us. Note that Retirees are 3 Million+, and if they want to be heard they can do this and make an impact - not in every seat, but in a large number of them.
    4th Feb 2019
    Still working fulltime, but seriously dreading the day I need Centrelink assistance to survive! I don't mind a fair days work for a fair days pay but seems Centrelink are anything but fair, or their system is geared unfairly that many people (in particular the hard workers as mentioned already by others) cannot get what they are fairly entitled to without hours of paperwork & b.s to get it! It makes me so angry to see the disadvanraged treated so poorly!
    5th Feb 2019
    I have personally been through this horror... At the same time I started on the OAP, I got a casual part time job - and CL in their wisdom totally cancelled my Pension, which I did not find out for 4 weeks. Trying to calculate the correct back pay, etc was a nightmare, but the over-riding complaint was the CL do NOT have to breakdown the payment amount for you!
    When they did tell me an amount, it was absolutely nothing near what both I and my accountant calculated. Repeated requests for a breakdown were met with an absolute brick wall - they refused, and said they do not have to give a breakdown.
    And yes- we DID take into account deeming rates, job income, free limit amounts, etc. But nothing made sense. My accountant STILL swears they underpaid me nearly $800, but there is absolutely nothing more we can do. And we complained well up the chain. Always got the same excuse.
    Yet this is the same Govt Dept that can write to you years later and say they have overpaid you, again with NO breakdown of what/how/when. You are simply at the mercy of what they think is right. I now keep every single solitary bit of correspondence, plus a diary, of all contact with CL, as I simply do not trust them to get it right.
    5th Feb 2019
    I too am becoming very annoyed of the headlines suggesting an informative article, only to be let down time after time with dribble. Also. Informing someone contact Centrelink to check on Centrelink is a cop out.
    6th Feb 2019
    Hi Denise
    Try this


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