Is Tina being short-changed?

Tina has listed her assets and wants to know why she is not receiving a full Age Pension.


Q. Tina
I am almost 66 and receive an Age Pension. I have been advised by Centrelink that I will be paid an Age Pension of $797.86 per fortnight, topped up by the Energy Supplement of $14.10 and a Pension Supplement $67.48, bringing the total to $885.04. Since 24 May 2018, I have received $874.05. A YourLifeChoices article says that the Age Pension increased to $916.30 from 20 September; an extra $8.70.

I have queried my pension amount with Centrelink as it seems I am being short-changed by $31.26. I have $205,000 in superannuation, $12,000 in the bank and own my house. The new asset test limit for a single full Age Pension is $258,500. So why am I not receiving a full Age Pension?

A. Without knowing your full circumstances, the assets test is not the only measure used to judge the rate of payment for the Age Pension. Centrelink uses deeming rates to assess the return on investments, which are assessed under the income test. You are paid the lowest resulting rate on your investments and this appears be the reason you are not receiving the full Age Pension rate.

Based on your financial assets as an example:

  • Total financial assets: $217,000

  • First $50,200 deemed at 1.75 per cent: $878.50

  • Remainder ($166,800) deemed at 3.25 per cent: $5421

  • Total annual deemed income: $6277.50 = $242.28 per fortnight

Under the income test, you can receive $172 per fortnight before your Age Pension is affected. This income includes money from investments. If you exceed this amount, your pension is reduced by 50 cents for every $1 over the $172. As you appear to exceed this amount by $70, then your Age Pension is reduced by $35 per fortnight.

Please note these calculations are indicative only.

You should check your personal circumstances with a Centrelink Financial Services officer by calling 13 2300.

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

Written by Janelle Ward


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