All the latest Government updates

YourLifeChoices keeps you up to date with retirement income changes.

All the latest Government updates

A number of changes that might affect retirees and pre-retirees came into effect on 1 July.

Age pension age

The pension age increased to 66 years from 1 July. It will increase further in upcoming years – to 66½ years from 1 July 2021 and to 67 years from 1 July 2023.

Age pension income and assets test changes

Revised income and assets test thresholds took effect from 1 July.

The new disqualifying income limit for singles is $2026.40 (up from $2024); couples combined $3100.40 (up from $3096.40); illness-separated couples combined $4012.80 (up from $4008.80).

The new disqualifying asset limits for single homeowners are $572,000 (up from $567,250); single non-homeowners $782,500 (up from $774,250); couple combined homeowners $860,000 (up from $853,000); couple combined non-homeowners $1,070,500 (up from $1,060,000).

Work Bonus

Since 1 July, both employed and self-employed pensioners over the age pension age and Veterans’ Affairs pension recipients over the qualifying age are able to earn up to $300 a fortnight through work before this income is assessed by the pension income test. The maximum Work Bonus accrual amount increased from $6500 to $7800.

The Work Bonus was set at $250 when the scheme was introduced in 2011 and had not been changed since then.

Pension Loans Scheme

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

Lifetime income products

New means-testing rules were introduced by the Department of Human Services (DHS) on 1 July to assess lifetime income stream (LIS) products.

The following rules apply to products bought from 1 July 2019:

  • an income test 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.

Superannuation accounts

New laws took effect on 1 July, requiring super funds to report and pay inactive low-balance accounts to the Australian Tax Office (ATO). 

This change was in accordance with new Protecting Your Super legislation, which was designed to ensure that people with multiple accounts were protected from having their total super balance eroded by fees and insurance premiums charged by each superannuation provider.

Insurance premiums associated with inactive accounts have been or will be cancelled after 1 July.

In addition, fees are now capped at 3 per cent per annum for accounts with $6000 or less at the end of the financial year and fund members can switch super funds without paying a penalty as exit fees are banned.

Tax time

Tax returns completed by individuals need to be lodged by 31 October, or later if completed by a registered tax agent. To work out whether you need to complete a tax return, visit the Australian Tax Office.

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    COMMENTS

    To make a comment, please register or login
    panos
    21st Jul 2019
    2:00pm
    Why dont they make it 85 for retirement....it's a joke
    Greg
    21st Jul 2019
    8:14pm
    It's coming.....
    inextratime
    21st Jul 2019
    2:34pm
    I have a friend who is 64. She has applied for 21 jobs, no success. Now they are sending her to interviews 25kms from home. Job start hardly covers the rent. Has another two years of absolute struggle..Why ?
    TREBOR
    21st Jul 2019
    4:10pm
    Never forget that we are in the Age of the Philstines - the kinds of 'people' who derive their only sense of power and ability from inuring others - often by throwing them on the 'job' market when they are older and never likely to get a real job again.

    That they do such things without remorse makes them monsters.... never to be trusted with anything.
    Rae
    23rd Jul 2019
    11:44am
    TREBOR it's not about the job seekers. It's about the money. Adding private profit into it simply means those providers unable to find work will do anything to keep the funds flowing to their business. Greed rather than evil.
    inextratime
    21st Jul 2019
    2:34pm
    I have a friend who is 64. She has applied for 21 jobs, no success. Now they are sending her to interviews 25kms from home. Job start hardly covers the rent. Has another two years of absolute struggle..Why ?
    johnp
    21st Jul 2019
    2:43pm
    How about this idea re. downsizing. Instead of downsizing, up size !!. Just example figures. Take say $1M out of super and sell family home for say $600K. Buy luxury home, approx. $1.2M. Then with less than $400K in assets go on full aged pension.
    TREBOR
    21st Jul 2019
    4:32pm
    That's what these kinds of policies generate...
    johnp
    22nd Jul 2019
    11:45am
    So what I have said; is that feasible or do centrelink have a restriction on this ??
    Chris B T
    22nd Jul 2019
    2:59pm
    There Are No Rules Being Set "AT THIS TIME" on how one spends there Money/Super.
    Buy The Best Accommodation You Desire, non Asset Tested. Sell up and Up Value Home.
    Just Don't Keep It In Monetary Form, without weighing up the Benefits as they are Asset Tested (DEEMING RATES) as well as The CAR, BOAT, CARAVAN etc.
    Don't Gift it away / stay Below $10000. This Magical Number what happens when you Gift below????????????
    The WIZARD OF CENTERLINK will masterfully Tell You.
    johnp
    23rd Jul 2019
    11:18am
    thanks Chris. But who is the WIZARD OF CENTERLINK. By that do you mean an FIS officer ??
    Chris B T
    23rd Jul 2019
    11:54am
    johnp
    All the rules,calculations and Centerlink use There Of is The Wizardry Of The End Result.
    No Pun Intended.
    I would suggest to ask for Ref No. when completed.
    TREBOR
    21st Jul 2019
    4:08pm
    "The new disqualifying income limit for singles is $2026.40 (up from $2024); couples combined $3100.40 (up from $3096.40); illness-separated couples combined $4012.80 (up from $4008.80).

    Hush but I'm stunned by the extreme generosity of The Guv'Nah...
    Farside
    21st Jul 2019
    5:15pm
    Your Guv'nah can be most generous if you are in his corner, for example I was surprised to learn family benefits have been paid to families with household incomes approaching $190,000!!! It seems 100,000 or so have had their benefits reduced or lost ... seems to me plenty of scope for a few thousand more. Why any family on six figure incomes is in need of welfare surely needs a rethink when so many are experiencing poverty.

    https://www.theage.com.au/money/tax/thousands-of-households-have-their-family-tax-benefit-reduced-or-cut-20190717-p527yd.html
    Tricky
    21st Jul 2019
    5:36pm
    WTF about Deeming Rates on cash Term Deposits over 86K this is robbery.
    Tricky
    21st Jul 2019
    5:37pm
    Why is this LNP government abusing this countries senior citizens over deeming rates, its hypocrisy!
    Arvo
    21st Jul 2019
    6:33pm
    In relation to Centrelink's definition of " product" and "nominal" are there any examples of:-

    (a)" an income test will assess a fixed 60 per cent of all product payments as income and ,

    (b) 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"

    Anyone ?????
    johnp
    22nd Jul 2019
    11:56am
    I dont know any examples. However thinking briefly about the numbers. Say a couple retiree had $650K in assets. 60% would be about $390K, put that in a lifetime income stream and would then also be eligible for old aged centrelink pension. Would that be right or not ?? Have I done the figures correctly ??
    Tricky
    21st Jul 2019
    8:10pm
    SCOMO and Centrelink ripped off $1bn dollars from pensioners and part pensioners over the past 5 years. FIX the deeming rates 'fraudsters'!
    johnp
    22nd Jul 2019
    11:43am
    Agree tricky 100%
    Watto
    21st Jul 2019
    8:35pm
    The adverts are eating into the message. It cant fully be read. Get off your arse and fix your webpage.
    Learner
    22nd Jul 2019
    7:42am
    The revised income and asset figures, eg: singles is $2026.40 (up from $2024); couples combined $3100.40 (up from $3096.40), are for what period of time? Weekly, fortnightly or monthly? The asset test limit does include the family home? Thank you
    london
    22nd Jul 2019
    1:29pm
    when is the govt considering 50% off power bills for pensioners who ate struggling because of the inadequate pension
    Rae
    23rd Jul 2019
    11:49am
    I think they are watching the cafes and food outlets and the figures for powerball and lottery and lotto and the clubs. When pensioners start looking like they have no money to spend they might do something. Right now it looks like pensioners are doing just fine.

    22nd Jul 2019
    7:27pm
    I get the full aged pension with supplements, I RENT and can save up to $7000 a year from the payment. It costs me nothing for rent, or living, all is free. At $1063 fortnight it is plenty, $270 a fortnight is all it takes, with 13 months a year it's easy.
    johnp
    23rd Jul 2019
    1:26pm
    you must have very cheap rent ??