The latest government updates you need to know about

Centrelink closing dates, Age Pension and supplement increases and much more.

The latest government updates you need to know about

Easter closure
Centrelink advises that its reporting and payment arrangements may change over the Easter and Anzac Day period.

Offices will be closed on:

  • Friday 19 April 2019 for Good Friday
  • Monday 22 April 2019 for Easter Monday
  • Thursday 25 April 2019 for Anzac Day.

Age Pension
From 20 March 2019, the following Age Pension payments, supplements, asset and income thresholds came into effect.

Maximum Age Pension payment rates

Previous

Current

Increase

Single

Base

$834.40

$843.60

$9.20

Supplement

$67.80

$68.50

$0.70

Energy Supplement

$14.10

$14.10

-

Total

$916.30

$926.20

$9.90

Couple (each)

Base

$629.00

$635.90

$6.90

Supplement

$51.10

$51.60

$0.50

Energy Supplement

$10.60

$10.60

-

Total

$690.70

$698.10

$7.40

Pension Supplement
The Pension Supplement is paid as part of certain regular fortnightly income support payments to help eligible recipients meet the costs of daily household and living expenses.

Pension Supplement basic amount

Previous

Current

Increase

Single

$23.60

$23.80

$0.20

Couple separated

$23.60

$23.80

$0.20

Couple (each)

$19.40

$19.60

$0.20

Pension Supplement minimum amount

Previous

Current

Increase

Single

$36.30

$36.70

$0.40

Couple separated

$36.30

$36.70

$0.40

Couple (each)

$27.40

$27.70

$0.30

Income limits
You can still receive a certain amount of income and receive an Age Pension. The income limits from 20 March are:

Situation

For full pension/allowance (per fortnight)

For part pension(pf) 

Single

up to $172

less than $2024.40

Couple (combined)

up to $304

less than $3096.40

Illness separated (couple combined)

up to $304

less than $4008.80

Asset limits
The new asset limits for part age pensioners from 20 March are:

Centrelink asset test limits for part Age Pensions

Situation

Homeowners

Non-homeowners

Single

$567,250

$774,250

Couple (combined)

$853,000

$1,060,000

Illness separated (couple combined)

$1,005,000

$1,212,000

One partner eligible (combined assets)

$853,000

$1,060,000

Low income Health Care Card
Even if you’re not eligible for any benefits from Centrelink, you may qualify for a low income Health Care Card if income falls below the qualifying limits from 20 March.

Qualifying income limits

 Status

 Weekly income

 Eight-week period

 Single, no children

 $561

 $4488

 Couple, no children

 $969

 $7752

Work Bonus
From 1 July 2019, both employed and self-employed pensioners over the age pension age and Veterans’ Affairs pension recipients over the qualifying age can earn up to $300 a fortnight through work before this income is assessed by the pension income test. The maximum Work Bonus accrual amount will also increase from $6,500 to $7,800.

The Work Bonus was set at $250 when the scheme was introduced in 2011 and has not been increased since.

Pension Loans Scheme
From 1 July 2019, the Pension Loans Scheme (PLS) will be expanded, with the available fortnightly loan plus pension amount increasing to 150 per cent of the maximum rate of the fortnightly Age Pension.

Lifetime income products
From 1 July 2019, new means testing rules will be introduced to assess pooled lifetime retirement income stream products.

The following rules will apply to these products:

  • an income test that will assess a fixed 60 per cent of all product payments as income
  • an assets test will assess 60 per cent of the nominal purchase price until the life expectancy of a 65-year-old male (currently age 84) – or a minimum of five years – and then 30 per cent for the rest of the person’s life.

These rules will apply to all pooled lifetime products held by social security or Veterans’ Affairs income support recipients acquired on or after 1 July 2019.

This article first appeared in the March 2019 Retirement Affordability Index.

RELATED ARTICLES





COMMENTS

To make a comment, please register or login
Cowboy Jim
21st Apr 2019
5:29pm
Thanks for putting this up again. Helpful since C/Link stopped News for Seniors a while back. Some neighbors ask me to bring the paper versions back from C/L office, but it is a pale issue of what they used to get.
Dorothy
1st Jul 2019
12:26pm
Thank you for your help. What exactly is a pooled lifetime income product? Is it only an annuity - then can it be a fixed term annuity, or must it be lifetime? Do any account based pensions come under this category? Dorothy


Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

  • Receive our daily enewsletter
  • Enter competitions
  • Comment on articles