Changes to the income and assets test and payments

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Part of making retirement affordable is fully understanding your entitlements and keeping up to date with rule changes. Here are the latest government updates to help you stay on track.

Income and assets tests
From 2 July, the maximum income amount before the full Age Pension is affected is $172 per fortnight for singles and $304 combined per fortnight for couples The new thresholds are $1987.20 and $3040.40 respectively. The new asset limits are $561,250 for single home-owners and $844,000 for couples (combined). For non home-owners, the limits are $768,250 and $1,051,000 (combined).

Widow Allowance no longer available
From 1 July 2018, the Widow Allowance was no longer available to new applicants. Those who would previously have claimed the allowance can now make a claim for either the Newstart Allowance, Age Pension or Special Benefit (if you’re over Age Pension age but don’t meet residence rules for the Age Pension).

Recipients of the current Widow Allowance can keep the payment until 2022 or until they transfer to the pension (whichever is sooner), as long as they retain their eligibility.

End to backdated payments
Claims for certain payments and concession cards will need to be completed in full before they are assessed, with the cessation of ‘intent to claim’ arrangement to enable backdated payments from 1 July 2018.

You will have 14 days to complete your claim if you contact Centrelink, start an online claim or submit an intent to claim before 30 June 2018.

Payment of Carer Supplement
Those eligible for the Carers Supplement will receive a payment of $600 for each eligible person in their care. If you care for a disabled child, you will receive the Child Disability Assistance Payment of up to $1000 for each eligible child. These payments will be made between 1 July and 31 July 2018.

Changes to grandparent payments
From 2 July, grandparents who care for their grandchildren will face changes to the payments they receive, with the Grandparent Child Care Benefit (GCCB) being replaced by the Additional Child Care Subsidy (Grandparent) (ACCS) from 2 July 2018.

If you are already receiving the GCCB, you will receive a letter from the Department of Human Services advising you of the changes. If you wish to claim the ACCS (G), you will need to complete a child-care subsidy assessment via your online Centrelink account.

Downsizing super rule starts
On 1 July 2018, the much-vaunted ‘downsizing’ super rules commences. This allows retirees to make a non-concessional contribution of up to $300,000 (singles) or $600,000 (couples) into super from the proceeds of selling their primary place of residence, if they have lived there for 10 years or more. This contribution applies even if the super balance exceeds the current $1.6 million cap.

There could be a financial downside for those who take advantage of the program, with changes to exempt asset values possibly affecting your Age Pension.

More super changes take place
As well as the downsizing rules, other changes to super rules took effect on 1 July. These were:

  • the Superannuation Complaints Tribunal was replaced by the industry-funded Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA)
  • individuals whose annual income exceeds $263,157 and have multiple employers are able to nominate that wages from certain employers are not subject to the superannuation guarantee 
  • rules for tax deductions on personal contributions tightened
  • catch-up super contributions can be made by individuals with a total superannuation balance of less than $500,000.
     

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Written by Janelle Ward

17 Comments

Total Comments: 17
  1. 0
    0

    This conservative federal government doesn’t want you to have a decent superannuation. This conservative federal government doesn’t want you to be paid an Aged Pension.
    This conservative federal government wants you to work until you drop dead.
    This conservative federal government would prefer you just go away and die.
    I’m so fed up with this conservative federal government.

    • 0
      0

      Good on you, dead right! Only problem is, the Labour government probably has the same plans! None of us are going to be looked after whoever’s in power, the power will only be in our hands to look after ourselves!

    • 0
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      All Australians have had compulsory superannuation paid by our employers since the mid eighties . Also if you save and elect to top up your super fund to increase your future retirement payout . Every government encourages you to have a reasonable superannuation fund to minimise the cost by taxpayers of the Aged pension You cant expect to have it both ways surely

    • 0
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      Jem . Of course under a Labor Government things will not change. There is little to distinguish between Libs and Labor and their policies are more or less aligned. I do not understand why the majority of voters still elect one or the other to Govern. Apathy and complacency most likley are the reason. Still there are better alternatives if only people would sit up and take notice. We need a Government which puts Australia and Australians first. Libs/Lab both globalist parties who have lost sight of the needs of our Country and its people.

    • 0
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      fred – you are right in a way but if you put too much in super you are penalised by C/Link. If you are not better off with super than a bloke with nothing who in his/her right mind wants to put in more? Equality is a big word but when the payout is equal in the end is like you buy the lottery ticket but upon winning you share it around those with no entry. Aussies are not built that way I can assure you.

    • 0
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      fred seeing workers are the ones paying most of the revenue costs through taxes, levies, rates, regos, GST etc then maybe we should expect to have it both ways.

      Business owners don’t have to pay 9.5% of their income into superannuation. They can game the system all their long life through. Maybe we should all apply for ABNs and go for it.

      Then we can have it both ways apparently.

      All Australians are not forced to have Superannuation at all are they?

  2. 0
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    Bit late to be posting this now when changes started on1July. More rehashing of previous content.

    • 0
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      Yes and anyone adding extra into super now is crazy. What happens if you can’t access it until 70 for example or if they force a pension option on it at retirement. It is incredibly risky now to save into such a vehicle simply to save a tiny bit of tax.

  3. 0
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    I suppose the Government is already working on the next round of changes. Oh what a feeling!!

  4. 0
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    You state that the new downsizing rule, allows a retiree to put money back into super, however, most retirees would have converted their super into an allocated pension . Only someone working can open a new super. doesn’t seem to make sense.

  5. 0
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    The entitlement is a full pension for all regardless of income or assets. Means testing is mean as we have paid taxes for the right to an aged pension.

    • 0
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      The deeming is also make believe too.

      I bet those top public servants deemed to have assets of $1.6% wish they really did as their incomes would be $60 000 more a year than they are.

      It seems actual counting is too hard for the decision makers now and making up numbers fits the agenda well.

      Just tell a lot of lies and the truth get’s lost in the sheer size of the issue.

  6. 0
    0

    It is time for all of us (that means you) to rant at our MPs and Senators daily to take action for human decency and a huge stress reduction for pensioners

    NO ASSET TEST FOR A PENSION EVER AGAIN!
    A pension is not welfare.

    Most economist say we will save taxpayers money by dropping asset testing because of the massive overheads cost in running Centrelink and the 10,000 conflicting rules.

    Hiring more Centrelink staff will only increase taxpayer’s costs for processing the creeping insane red tape monster system politicians and well paid bureaucrats have created.

    Help scrap it now. Become a hero.

    Even poorer New Zealand has a NO ASSET pension so it is cheaper and user friendly.

    Why worry that few million$ earners get it too. That is peanuts to them, not enough for a good vintage champagne.

    Do retired and retiring people really look forward and want 100++ visits to/from Centrelink and be part of 3 million waiting queues and lost calls?

    Does your MP really like being part of the system that allows this indirect abuse of the elderly?

    This abuse is actually sponsored by our government and forced down to Centrelink and borders on a criminal act.

    Why do MPs normally compassionate persons let this Centrelink abuse happen at taxpayers’ expense?

    Some opposition and independent MPs stand to lose their chance at being part of the needed government changes

    We all need to tell our MP and senators every day that these criminal asset tests for a pension must be dropped now.

    Also contact opposition and independent MPs (today) who could help us to get a fair deal on pensions

    NO ASSET TEST FOR A PENSION EVER AGAIN!

  7. 0
    0

    Maybe a resurgence of the Gray Party is needed. With a greater segment of the population getting older, it could become a real powerhouse.

    • 0
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      @Roy R – we could never raise the millions for advertising required to beat the buggers. Going to be like the USA, without a large sponsor you’re finished.


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