Guide to Centrelink

Understand your Centrelink entitlements once you enter retirement.

Guide to Centrelink, Centrelink, entitlements, send to a friend, downloadable

Understanding your Centrelink entitlements once you enter retirement is often just a case of knowing where to look and asking the right questions. YOURLifeChoices has compiled a handy Guide to Centrelink which can you send to a friend.

In our Guide to Centrelink we answer your questions on the Age Pension, starting retirement and which concession card you're entitled to, as well as how the Work Bonus operates, using Centrelink Online Services and how best to contact Centrelink. Read on for all you need to know about your Centrelink entitlements.

How do I start my retirement?

Q. Robert
I will reach Age Pension age early next year but don’t know how to start the process of retirement. I have never had any dealings with Centrelink and don’t know whether I need to contact them, if they will contact me or if I will even be eligible to receive the Age Pension. Can you point me in the right direction?

A. Robert, working out where you stand financially is the critical first step in planning your retirement.  At any time you can make an appointment to speak to a Centrelink Financial Information Services Officer (FISO) who will be able to discuss with you whether your assets and income will affect payment of the Age Pension, how to claim and which concession cards may be available.

View the current income and asset limits which apply, but you will need to be aware that there may be other factors taken into consideration when assessing your eligibility for the Age Pension.

You may decide to continue working after you have reached Age Pension age and, if this is the case, the Work Bonus may enable you to receive a part or full pension. Under the Work Bonus, the first $250 of any fortnightly income will not be assessed. If you undertake seasonal work, this amount can be annualised. For more information on the Work Bonus, click here.

Centrelink has produced a booklet About to retire or in retirement which is worth downloading and reading before contacting an FISO. This will give you an outline of the eligibility requirements for the Age Pension and may answer other questions which you may have.

Click NEXT to find out if you will get an Age Pension.

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    To make a comment, please register or login
    13th Mar 2012
    I want to apply for the aged pension mid this year but I am not sure if I will have a problem with Centrelink as last year I sold all my dividend paying shares to buy into junor Oil & Gas shares which have no dividends and now have no income. Will this be a problem when I apply soon for the aged pension?
    27th Mar 2012
    I doubt that you will have a problem with centrelink. Just go and explain your problem. I have always found centrelink very helpful. You should not have a problem as you have no income coming from your shares.
    6th Apr 2012
    3 years ago my wife was diagnosed with RA and she was awarded a disability pension, at the same time I retired from the work force to stay home and assist her, we survive on her pension and a small superannuation pension I draw. Next year I will be eligible for the age pension but I have been told that my wifes pension will then be reduced by the amount of age pension I this correct?
    20th Jun 2012
    Hi, The sad truth is I defy any person who does not have a barristers mind to understand
    Centrelink. I,ve been in the financial industry for 15 years and my eyes still glaze over.
    I,ve had 3 meetings with the Financial officers, and received 3 different opinions.
    I,ve spoke to financial planners , who have no idea on how Centrelink works. If you think they are their to help you to maxamize your benefits with helpfull suggestions, you are in fairyland. Its like , the need to know basis, if you dont know to ask the right questions ,
    you wont be helped with the right answers. They say, out of the mouths of babes, people unknowlingly destroy themselves. Its like only fools represent them selves in court.
    The mouthing and promotion that they are there to assist you receive whats possible, is plainly untrue, they work for the Government, not you. Now thats all Ok , as long as you are under no illusions. Then where can you go to first, you may ask, I have suggested to legal friends , set up a business , where you can independantely give advise before clients go to Centrelink, (and dont tell me the FIS officers at Centrelink will do this) and you will fill a need and make a fortune.
    Im still looking,
    8th Jan 2013
    Kevin, I agree, I have found it impossible to get the answers I need. I am only wanting what I am entitled to, but feel helpless to ensure that this will happen. Surely long=term tax payers are due the care and attention they deserve in later life..
    27th Jun 2012
    Thank you for the excellent information your web site makes available.

    Its good that the assets test and pensions have been indexed and there is an attempt to keep up with inflation, but when is the income test for the CSHC to be increased in line with inflation ?

    As this figure has not changed for 12 years it would be helpful if some lobbying can be done to address this anomaly, and give those that saved all their life a fair go.
    26th Jul 2012
    My wife and I visited Centrelink last week and had an interview with a Financial Services Officer in respect of our pending application for age pension.
    We found his advice to be very good, as was his knowledge of Centrelink and taxation aspects.
    We do not consider ourselves to be "babes in the woods" as we had done our homework and were very happy with our decision to engage his services in putting the paperwork in place.
    I'd recommend the service to anyone approaching retirement age, don't just rely on your accountant or financial planner.
    8th Jan 2013
    Steve it might depend on the FSO you speak with.. ??
    13th Aug 2012
    We receive the Australian aged pension plus a small UK one. We have lived and worked in Australia for 37 years. Unfortunately two of our children have returned to the UK permanently. Now in our 70s we are torn between the two countries. Would we receive the same amount of Australian pension if we went back to the UK to live?
    29th Sep 2012
    I lived in Australia until I was 25, working fulltime for the last 5 of those years. I am still an Australian citizen, but have been resident and working, mostly parttime, in UK since then on a" given leave to enter UK for an indefinite period". I am hoping I will recieve a small state pension from the UK, but am I entitled to anything from Aus and how do I find out? I am now 57 and considering returning to live in Australia.
    24th Oct 2012
    I am 71, retired over a year and a half ago, my wife is working 3 days a week which gives a weekly gross wage of $916.00, we own our home and have $25,000 in savings, do I qualify for a full or part pension and /or the health card, does my wife have any entitlements. She reached retirement age at the end of last month.
    24th Oct 2012
    It appears that I may have misunderstood the purpose of this forum, I dont know why but I thought anyone could post a question or a comment and get a response....I see many questions being asked but nothing being returned...what exactly is the purpose??
    Paul, Brisbane
    8th Jan 2013
    Paul I agree - it looks like the only answers are from others in the same boat. The blind leading the blind .. Where is the EXPERT advise/answer, we all seek??
    uncle JD
    25th Oct 2012
    I am 56 and on a dis pension due to car crash,i can no longer work.I have lived in Aust for 48 years and worked for 32years.i am still a British citizen ,and want to move back to UK,will i still get the Australian pension,or any sort of UK pension when i reach retirement age.The only family i have left is in UK. Can i move back permanently to UK without any problems.
    27th Oct 2012
    I am 70 years young now receiving part Old Age pension. However I am under the 2 year residency condition before my pension is portable if I choose to retire overseas During the 2 years I can travel overseas I believe for periods up to 13 weeks though pension stopped during that time. Will the overseas trip affect my 2 year residency requirement?
    8th Jan 2013
    I have just finished work and applied for the aged pension. I will need to access my Super to top-up my income. Centerlink advised me to contact my Super organization an ask which would be the best way for me to withdraw. They suggested I see a Financial Adviser. I was happy to leave my money in the Balanced Accumulation option, and now feel I have left this advise too late. No one will give me simple answers. Can you please spell it out as I am out of my depth in this situation. Thank you
    1st Feb 2013
    My husband will be 74 this year and is on aged pension. I will be 63 and is currently on Newstart doing volunteer work for the last 8 years. We are thinking of selling our house to downsize but have no idea yet of where we want to go. We thought of borrowing a caravan and once the house is sold, go and find out where we would like to live as it will be our last move cosnidering our ages. How is that going to affect our Centrelink payments?
    12th Feb 2013
    i have just started seeing a female and she is on centerlink,my question is when and how often can i see her before we need to notify do they determin when we are in a defacto relationship..i stay overnight but have my own residence..all i have at her place is an overnight bag..any help would be appriciated
    7th Mar 2013
    I have been placed on the single pension under section 24, my wife is a Chinese migrant of 62 years of age, she is not entitled to any payments until this year 2013, when she hopefully will receive a permanent residence visa, Iam not sure of what happens to my pension, If Iam put on the married rate of one half at lessor rate of $200 i will find it very difficult to support my wife , she has no assetts or money to pool, We live on my pension plus a small pension from the UK, is it correct to assume she will be put onto the Newstart allowance ? at the couples rate, if so she will have to find employment, her English is very limited, my Wife hasnt paid taxes however I have for 40 years, I met my wife in China we love one anorher a great deal and want to do the right thing I just seek any information relative to the newstart payment and my current single pension
    28th Apr 2013
    Could somebody answer this for me? I have now been placed on reduced paymet being one half of the Married rate $200 less to have to live on
    19th Jun 2013
    Why is it so hard to communicate with Centrelink? There appears to be to many layers of security.
    First you must enter your CRN, then a password (that only lasts 6 months) following that you have to answer correctly 1 of 5 questions. After that you enter a maze of tabs that open other sections.
    There is no simple method to send an email to send information or make a request. At 72 years of age it is all beyond me.
    The part that gets me realy upset is that I can log into my bank account with the account number and a password (that lasts forever) and send money all over the world, pay accounts and ask questions inside or outside the secure area without any problems.
    KISS is my answer= Keep It Simple Stupid.
    29th Jul 2013
    I agree totally with you, I do not know why Centrelink plays 'Big Brother' and insists on us changing our passwords. We're not supposed to record them but if I don't I simply can't remember which one it is. Surely we're old enough now to make the decision as to whether our passwords need changing. I've contacted them to request that and their answer shows just how little they understand their own system...their response "well, if you want to, after you've updated your password all you have to do is change it back again!" Ever tried entering a password that you've used way that's going to happen with Centrelink as a Big Brother.
    20th Dec 2013
    Totally agree re centerlink pushing people to use computer for communication. First & foremost don't they know most pensioners cannot afford a computer., or don't know how to use one. The elderly & disabled, the very people that need the most help, are being locked out of being able to deal with centrelink. They too are the ones who cannot hold a phone for nearly an hour. Yes there's a call back service. It rings twice & by the time you can answer no one is on the end of the line! The other day I wanted to know if I could get Mobility allowance on Aged Pension as I did on Disability Pension if I Volunteered xxx amount of hours per f/n. 30 clicks on links later I still had no clear answer. Anyone know?
    29th Jul 2013
    I am 59, on a disability support pension. I will soon be receiving an inheritance from my mother's estate, my only asset, of around $150,000 (depending on probate and taxes). I will of course report this to Centrelink (as I did a $30,000 advance that was issued earlier), but am wondering what effect this will have on my pension. I rent from public housing, and as I said, this is my first and only asset, everything else I own has come from someone else.
    23rd Dec 2013
    Jezemeg8, my suggestion to you and to anyone else with a financial question relation to pensions is to contact Centrelink and ask to speak to, or make an appointment to see, a FISO or Financial Information Service Officer, their sole job is to ensure that pension recipients get what they are entitled to, its a free service and should be used much more than it is.
    19th Sep 2013
    I was advised I have a letter to look at on Centrelink (why can't they just send it to my inbox ?) When I tried to look at it, the system has changed and you now use a CAN number, not CRN. When I tried to get one, it refused to accept my email address! I only have one and the letter advising me to look, arrived! I sent email a week ago (they warned emails were slow to be answered but I expected a couple of days). I am intending to revert to a simple paper copy.
    23rd Dec 2013
    KKKKatie, Centrelinks Online document service ranks up there with sliced bread, my wife and I are 'Grey Nomads' spending around half of each year on the road, we always have online access and we no longer have to worry about missing important letters from Centrelink, especially if a speedy response to a letter is required else our pension could be stopped....also, being able to upload documents directly to Centrelink makes things so much quicker and more reliable. You say they refused to accept your email address?, my guess is that your husband or some other household member has already opened and 'account' using that address, the system can only handle one email address per person, try starting a new free email account such as Yahoo and then entering a different email address. CRN and CAN are one in the same.
    23rd Dec 2013
    as a self funded retiree can i get i discount on my council rates
    23rd Dec 2013
    Richo, it depends on where you live but my guess is that you will need to present a Centrelink Pension card of some sort in order to get a rates reduction, suggest you contact your council's customer service and ask the question, maybe their website will tell you.
    23rd Dec 2013
    It is interesting to note all the complaints about Centrelink in this conversation since it started in early 2012, now it is nearly 2014 what is the betting we are still talking about it in 2015?
    I still have not resolved my problem of easy access to Centrelink and fear that I never will as the staff numbers are reduced and the work is sent off shore. Even an approach to my local MP failed due to the tangled web that stops easy access.
    Anyway Merry Christmas.
    24th Dec 2013
    I have been through Centrelink court case. Can anyone tell me if I won the court case as "special cicumstances" I dont have to pay anything back to Cemtrelink as property I have sold was my fathers inheritance. I didnt relised I have to tell Centrelink about that but I told them I am going to Croatia and find out about my inheritance so I thought I told them already what will I do if I get some property and sell it. That time they told me I will not be penalised for any money your recieved from your inheritance but when centrelink seen my account the money was there comming and going so they well furious and ask me to pay some of the money back and imediately they were diducting is from my pension without me going to the court but when I finaly after years of waiting went to the court I lost the case but on my apeal I have won the case and they told me I dont have to pay it back as special crcumstances aplied to my case. But they took from my regular pension almost $3000 in all these years. They never paid it back to me so the whole matter has just been forgotten. What shell I do to get my pension back? Can anyone tell me?
    25th Dec 2013
    I am on an aged pension receiving half the married rate plus a small UK pension of $250 approx. per month My wife is currently on a Newstart payment at the couples rate. my wife is 62 years of age and Chinese she is not entitled to any aged pension for 10 years remaining on a special allowance at 65 or a partner allowance the same payment has the newstart payment

    We learnt that my wife can be paid 60% of my UK pension being over 60 years of age being at the retirement age for a woman in the UK we were married in Jan 2011 the UK pension payment can only be backdated one yea,r so my wife has received a 12 month payment over $2000 Australian She has drawn Newstart since May 2013 to date, I presume Centrelink will require a deemed amount of money to be payable from 17 payments that have been made to my wife in Australia
    My question is this, a pension paid from the UK to a wife of a UK person and living in Australia being paid Newstart what is classed has earned income ? and a pension is it the same and then deemed at a further 0.50 per dollar over $62 off her Newstart payment
    I know the earned income per fortnight max is $62 If someone could comment I would appreciate it
    28th Dec 2013
    Dolby, why don't you ask Centrelink instead? It's their job to reply to your questions. No one here is a Centrelink person.....
    16th Jan 2014
    Hi I am living in Kuala Lumpur and am returning to Australia in early February to claim age pension, as I am short of funds, I want to set up appointment for a specific date if possible, I will be staying with a friend at The Entrance, Central Coast Of NSW and would be convenient if I could get appointment there, I have searched all over and don't quite understand how to do this. I registered with My Gov late last year and have a number etc and made request, but silence has been deafening, NO RESPONSE what so ever, except to acknowledge my registration, HELP!!
    17th Jan 2014
    my wife and i are aussie citizens, we had to go overseas for 7 years to care for my wifes mother. I am 66 my wife 52. We are planning on returning shortly but unsure if I will still get me aged pension as I have been out of the country for a while and if my wife would get newstart whilst she is looking for work. We do not own a property so will be renting and not sure how easy it will be to get a property. We have children and grandchildren in australia and it is perm. move home. Any advice?
    17th Jan 2014
    John..U should get Age Pension immediately. However if U go overseas within the next 2 years ur pension will be stopped while out of country. Unsure about the wait period for Newstart for your good lady.
    8th Mar 2014
    does anyone know what centrelink class uk state pension as? Can't seem to get a straight answer if its classed as income or stream.
    10th Mar 2014
    Can somebody tell me if I can go for oversea holiday 2 years before I claim age pension.
    Is holiday consider as broken 2 years???
    18th Mar 2014
    Hi... I am an Aussie expat and have resided in Phuket, Thailand for past 8 years. Four years ago, as req'd, I flew to Oz to personally apply for the Aged Pension, which, according to all Centrelink Branch brochures and counter staff, I was eligible to receive. Centrelink staff also estimated I was to receive a pro-rata pension payment of $350+ p/m. Soon after I rec'd a letter stating that Centrelink deemed I had not been living in Oz for a req'd two consec years before applying... and gave absol no consideration that in the past 2 years I had travelled to Oz 5 times for business and family reasons. I appealed and lost. I have a NSW Seniors card and utilise it's benefits during travels back home but often wonder if I am eligible for other Centrelink or Aged Pension benefits I am not aware of. My questions are... a) am I entitled to ANY of the Aged Pension benefits (eg; my rented Penrith house's Council rates or Water or power bills) considering I am a born-and-bred Aussie who paid continual taxes in Oz for 40+ years before retiring?... and, b) are there any other Centrelink categories of benefits (other than Aged Pension) that may be avail to me now, or if I return?.. and, c) as I do intend returning to Oz soon to live there permanently again, I have been told I will have to live there for 2 consecutive years (without any pension) before becoming eligible... true or not ???
    21st Mar 2014
    I'm darned if I can get an answer as to if I can get mobility allowance now I have transferred from disability pension to aged pension if I do volunteer work. When Centrelink contacted me to ask if I wanted to change over, naturally I asked if it will make a difference & was told "No, basically you just won't be hassled any more with periodic screening to see if you still qualify for disability" I didn't think to ask about mobility allowance because they said nothing would change, but now I am not seeing Aged Pension on the list of those who can apply. No mention was made either about work bonus!
    Not Senile Yet!
    15th May 2014
    Dear Debbie
    Please read and copy some of these comments/questions.....ask for
    details like contacts and forward the to somebody who can help them!
    I noted a justice advocate on one of your comment sites/perhaps.
    These people NEED assistance to get think?
    17th Aug 2014
    Hello, Dr LAWRENCE saved my marriage within 3days of contact,i contacted him in regard of my husband who left me for another woman i tried all the methods i know to get him back but to no avail then a good friend of mine Mrs maria introduce me to who cast a powerful and wonderful spell that brought him back to me in just 3days i really want to use this medium to advice that for solution regarding any relationship issues contact the temple and all your worry s will be gone:
    17th Aug 2014
    I'm sure there are places where 'mumbo Jumbo' is taken seriously but its probably not here.
    6th Sep 2014
    I will be working for nine months getting approximately $2000 a week after tax.will my pension be cancelled?What about my wife's?Will all concessions cease for the 9 months?
    31st Oct 2014
    This forum is entitled "Guide to Centrelink' and one assumes any comments or queries entered here would be perused and responded to by Centrelink staff....this however doesn't seem to be the case with many questions left unanswered....instead now we see references to using mediums to improve our lives, we see blatant advertising and a lot of non-relevant information...I'm wondering why I I alone here??
    5th Mar 2015
    Probably shouldn't be thinking of my retirement, need to focus on my work (writing about repairing Mshtml.dll errors), but I think it's worth planning for it.
    18th Dec 2015
    l am on a Centrelink pension, on my online account under the section " other assets" the words " ESAS conversion" you 0% value $0 has appeared. l was wondering if anyone knows what ESAS conversion means
    22nd Mar 2018
    we have been here since 1968, dad retired and so did mum they got veterans pension but no gold card or anything. dad died years ago . mum died this week I am told I cant claim bereavement support because mum got money from England ( 180.00 a month depending on the exchange rate and the aussie pension was I believe cut as a result. I also was told I cant claim anything as her carer ( she had dementia and an aneurysm) because I am not her spouse . as her carer I got $50.00 a week as I care for my disabled daughter . I have been cheated every which way./ $3.50 an hour carer payment to care for daughter , 50.00 a week to care for mum all because I'm not a worker . , my parents are british ( whats all the fuss about being Australian I wonder now ) worked here all their lives paid terrific tax and this is the thanks they get?? let alone me as their carer and carers like me .
    22nd Mar 2018
    the payment is to help with the drop in income spouses suffer when the other dies . I have suffered too a drop in income $800.00 a fortnight. my pension pays the rent daughters has to pay the rest regardless of disability needs

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