Centrelink financial information services

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There no one better suited to help you make informed financial decisons about your Age Pension and entitlements than Centrelink.

Navigating the difficult web of information and potential entitlements can be tricky, and if you try and do it all on your own, it is possible to miss things or make a misstep that could end up affecting your Age Pension.

Fortunately, Centrelink runs a Financial Information Service (FIS) via seminars, one-on-one appointments or telephone discussions.

Independent officers can help you with financial information to enable you to make informed investment decisions. They will also have a look at your current situation and inform you about the Centrelink benefits to which you are entitled.

Speaking to an FIS officer can increase your confidence in financial matters, such as investments, salary sacrifice and superannuation, and help you understand your own financial situation and options.

FIS officers can also help you plan your retirement and teach you how to use credit wisely, while explaining the risk of certain financial products and teaching you how to increase your overall retirement income.

While they are an invaluable resource, there are a number of things FIS officers will not do. For example: they will not recommend investments or a specific financial adviser, or specific financial products.

To make an appointment with a Centrelink Financial Information Services officer, call 13 2300, or visit Centrelink.gov.au.

Have you ever used Centrelink’s Financial Information Services? Did you find it helpful? Would you recommend it to other YourLifeChoices members?

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Written by Ben

32 Comments

Total Comments: 32
  1. 0
    0

    I am getting to that time when my age pension is due, I visited Centrelink and asked to make an appointment to see a FIS officer. To my surprise one was available and I was asked to take a seat. After 30 minutes I was called, I explained my concerns re new to the system having worked all my life and needed to know about personal assets, where my small private pension was included and small cash assets, I was duly given a leaflet. I can see why the service is free.

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      The FIS officer was great. He even pointed out a couple of things we could do to maximise the amount of part pension we receive

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      Please tell us Sundays.

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      Nan, it was 3 years ago. Firstly, to know that as I am 4 years younger than my husband, any money in my super account was not assessable by Centrelink until I also reach pension age. Secondly, my husbands super fell under grandfathered arrangements and not counted towards the asset test

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      However your super is still taxed atv15% so you need more than that in welfare to cover it. Many people pay more in tax than they get in welfare.

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      When I retired at 55 the first $180,000.00 was not liable to tax as it was offset, so if you can make that amount last until you reach the tender age of 60 you should not be liable to tax. I am now 63 and have not paid one dollar of tax in all that time.
      Don’t take tax advice from amateurs, talk it over with an accountant or your Super Consultant, most Super Funds offer a limited amount of free financial advice.
      If you have not accessed your Super Fund you will be paying no income tax on it and the tax that is charged will be on the profit made within the fund not on the total balance. In most cases it is negligible.
      So as I said, every circumstance is different, seek advice from a proffessional.

  2. 0
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    Thanks for that info Stanny;
    Sounds like the FIS service could be quite good ??
    So might try it myself
    re
    I can see why the service is free
    did you mean that the service is not worthwhile, disadvantages the retiree or biased in some way ??

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      It’s worth doing I found them quite good. I found they only give financial advice that help you make financial decisions as they relate to Centrelink but mostly that’s what you need. If you want more in depth advice you will have to pay someone else ( most financial advisers are thieves). The FIS is worth doing.

  3. 0
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    I suspect he means that after finally getting to see someone he was given a leaflet! End of advice. RTFM.

  4. 0
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    Depends on how informative that leaflet is. If it includes all the necessary info to process a claim etc for the OAP then all should be good. I assume then there is probably no need for anything else

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      You can write it down or they can give you a leaflet.

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      I believe all three of your comments are correct, my expectation though was that I would talk to someone who would talk me through the process of correctly applying my circumstances and stopping me from making an incorrect claim, or having my claim refused because I did not include this or that. I still do not know how my lawn mower, bicycle and clothing can be included as an asset to assess my pension. The leaflet did not mention that you value certain things as scrap zero value, as I have since been advised by other pensioners. I an fine with the process now and still have not submitted a claim but I can see how confusing the system and lack of frontline staff can be for an aging population, especially with an early retirement force willing and able to volunteer its services to centrelink given appropriate training.

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      Stanny you don’t have to worry about lawn mowers bicycles and the like. You just to think about what your stuff may be worth if you sold it. The answer if you are like most of us is , not much. You’re overthinking this.

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      Stanny think what you might get if you had a garage sale. A FIS officer told me that most people over estimate the value of what they have. I say about $5000 for your household stuff, unless you have antiques.

  5. 0
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    It all helps with learning to rules to play the game. A FIS actually told me that.

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    I had an appointment with an FIS officer and it was the most amazingly useful hour. He worked out different scenarios for me and this was followed up by a well-presented booklet of the information we had discussed. This included an estimate of how much age pension I would receive while still working part-time and 3 other scenarios ending with me finally retiring. I would recommend them to anyone. If you didn’t get good advice, perhaps go back and have some specific questions to ask.

  7. 0
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    Very good comments by everyone and no need to include inconsequential items like lawn mower and clothes, unless your imelda marcos 🙂 Still wondering though if a good private financial advisor can organise finances so get more OAP.

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      A private financial advisor might arrange it so you get more OAP. But he will definitely arrange it so he gets more money out of you somehow. At least that’s my experience. One thing about the FIS , it’s free advice,it costs just a little time and you don’t have to take it. It pays to know a little about the situation before taking to a private financial adviser.

  8. 0
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    I have had a one-on-one session, also attended their seminars, both quite good. However the last time I tried to get an app’t in a hurry, none were available for weeks. Instead I found that, as a Centrelink pensioner, I can ring their number and talk to someone immediately. Very useful and if you still need help later, you can ring again.

  9. 0
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    I just understand anyone who fills out a form for a welfare payment who doesn’t understand the rules. Maybe that’s why they also play pokies too.

  10. 0
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    My local federal member puts out the best Centrelink booklet with just about everything in it you need to know.

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