What are your options when you can’t keep working?

Tina doesn’t think she will be able to keep working up until her pension age.

What are your options when you can’t keep working?

Tina doesn’t think she will be able to keep working up until her pension age. What are her options?


Q. Tina
I am 63 and work in a factory. I cannot see myself being able to work until 66.5 years of age, as is currently required to access the Age Pension. If I have to give up work, what kind of Centrelink benefit can I receive until retirement age? I have a small mortgage and $100,000 in my superannuation account. Do I have to use my super until I reach retirement age? Or can I leave it alone until I retire, so that it can top up my pension, pay off the mortgage, etc? I have been taking $10,000 out tax free each year for the past three years, so that I can make ends meet and have a bit of enjoyment, as my wages are low.

A. You may be entitled to the Newstart Allowance, although this is usually only granted to those actively looking for employment. 

In September 2018, the government strengthened participation requirements for some people receiving an unemployment payment, including mature age Australians.

These changes to participation requirements recognise that many older Australians are working longer.

The changes are aimed at encouraging more mature age people to actively undertake activities to improve their chances of getting into paid employment and off welfare, particularly in their first 12 months on payment when they are more likely to have recent workforce experience.

Annual activity requirements of 10 hours per fortnight have been introduced for those aged between 60 and the Age Pension age.

You should book an appointment to visit a Centrelink Financial Information Services officer to find out exactly how this and your other income and assets will affect any potential Newstart payment. You can book an appointment by calling 13 2300.

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    Disclaimer: All content on YourLifeChoices website is of a general nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It has been prepared with due care but no guarantees are provided for ongoing accuracy or relevance. Before making a decision based on this information, you should consider its appropriateness in regard to your own circumstances. You should seek professional advice from a Centrelink Financial Information Services officer, financial planner, lawyer or tax agent in relation to any aspects that affect your financial and legal circumstances.


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    Chris B T
    23rd Dec 2019
    There is no mention of Married/Partner Status, widow/separated.
    Being Female and Born before 1960 you can apply for "Widow's Pension"
    Why I say this, a neighbour of my mine was able to claim this when she was separated.
    I thought it to be strange, but within the rules of Centerlink.
    23rd Dec 2019
    @Chris. Yes, there's a lot detail absent which may materially affect Tina's position. Didn't stop them giving a 'template' response though. Gosh, this has become a clickbait of a site.
    23rd Dec 2019
    New claims for Widows pension ceased as of 1 July 2018.
    23rd Dec 2019
    Was going to say the same older&wiser - yes, no longer exists.

    Chris BT - then your friend would have to have claimed this before 1.7.2018.

    Also - Tina would not have been eligible to apply for the widows pension. She states she is 63, meaning she would have been born in 1957. To claim the widows pension, before it closed, it was only eligible for women born before 1.7.1955.
    23rd Dec 2019
    SunnyOz, Tina was born in 1956, thank you.
    Chris B T
    23rd Dec 2019
    The system was wound up, prior to winding up age was pre 1960.
    Little comfort now, not many were a where of "Widow's Pension" without being a Widow.
    Tina may or may not being within the Rules, Centerlink are not forth coming in what you can claim.
    Sad if were eligible and toiling away for similar amount or combine.(Less Hours Worked).
    Chris B T
    23rd Dec 2019
    There is a Major Omission, Qualifications and Job Tina is Employed IN.
    Centerlink are not concerned about your suitability to the Job or Physicality/Mental State.
    RUOK is of no concern, work to you drop.
    Very Sad.
    23rd Dec 2019
    My 63 year old sister-in-law has been told she will have her Newstart cancelled unless she commences job retraining in Feb. She is currently on "sick leave" with a gamut of problems leaving her unable to work. She would not qualify for disability pension but seems odd that volunteering appears not to be an option despite her husband is volunteering to satisfy Newstart obligations. Hopefully she has misunderstood.
    23rd Dec 2019
    Chock-full of empathy that response, NOT.
    Tina, engage with your employer first and explain fully and honestly why you feel you can't make it through to pension age. It may be possible that they can make modifications to your duties or negotiate another outcome which meets the needs of both parties.
    The bottom line is you'll always be better off entering retirement with max superannuation and minimal (preferably zero) debt.
    23rd Dec 2019
    Very sound, sage advice Jocky.
    23rd Dec 2019
    Yes continuing to work with perhaps other lifestyle changes would be the best outcome seeing there is a mortgage and she needs $10 000 more than her wage. Newstart is not going to work financially.
    23rd Dec 2019
    TINA - PLEASE - be VERY careful, as I have been through very similar situation! And I got shafted. I don't know of you are single or married, but I can only advise as per my single status.
    I was pushed out of my job 10 month before I was eligible for the Aged Pension. Still with a mortgage, I thought I would cover myself, so took a lump sum out of my super and put it into my home loan account, to cover my mortgage payments. I then needed to go on Newstart so applied. Jumped through the usual useless hoops with JSP'ers - they are totally and utterly not interested in older workers. However my application for Newstart was declined - why? - because I had too much money in my bank account.
    BIG mistake! Money in super - before you go on Aged Pension - cannot be assessed when applying for Newstart. BUT because I had some money in my redraw (mortgage account) - no sorry, I wasn't eligible for a cent of Newstart. Instead of taking out a lump sum, I should have just taken out an amount each month to pay the mortgage. I appealed, saying it could be seen that the money had come from my super account, but lost because they don't care where the money has come from, just that it is in my bank account. I could not get another job, so for 10 months I had to live solely on my super simply because I took too much out of my super.
    Like you, I had a small mortgage, and $100,000 in super. I could have taken the money out of my super and paid my mortgage. BUT - my super was earning a far better rate. After going on Aged Pension at earliest age, you have to take out a minimum amount from super (5%). I get mine paid every 6 months, and wack most of it on the mortgage, and pay rates. My super balance is still almonst the same. What my super pays out, easily covers my mortgage payments, plus a little extra.

    Can you ask your employer for part-time hours? So I urge you - be VERY careful what you do. Also, not sure of your work status (full-time, casual) - but if you leave your job, and get any paid out annual leave, etc, Centrelink take this into account and stop you getting Newstart for a number of weeks. And the buggers have decreased the threshold now.

    If you are working full time, and will get some payout upon leaving (say $10,000) and have some money in your bank account (say $9,000), clear your bank account out NOW (before you leave your job), and put that money into super. Then you will only have $10,000 in your bank (for Newstart assessment), not $19,000. Note - other assets/income could affect Newstart criteria.
    So If leaving work is the only option, get some advice. I only found out all this well after the fact, talking to a neighbor's daughter who is a workplace HR manager specialising in redundancies and payout packages. However, I would be wary about speaking to a Centrelink Finance person. They did not help me at all - they did not help me at all in advising how to maximise my finances, more interested in seeing that you get the minimum of Centrelink payments. Good luck.
    23rd Dec 2019
    If you had put in the loan, even if you were able to redraw it, you would have been fine. You put it in a bank account, maybe an offset account, that was the problem. Either pay it off the loan or leave it in your Super.

    23rd Dec 2019
    Involuntary suspension of employment... the Slow Horses again... (involuntary suspension of life)...

    We truly live in a cold, calculating, heartless society run by felons these days, leeches and parasites in suits who claim to be genially watching over the nation and its people - just like Uncle Joe Stalin did.......

    **cue Big Bear to tell us that 'welfare' should be ripped out of people on their final departure... that all social security recipients and Pensioners live the high life and cruise the world etc every damned day.. that shareholders have a divine right to earn a profit since they are 'better' types etc... that those who work for a living a just cattle in the fields with no real rights..

    .... for he who stands with me today in that unemployment line IS my brother, be he so base... and gentlemen who lie awash in money today will hold their manhood cheap, when any speak that stood with us upon St Crispin's Day..

    Take Back The Asylum! I'm about to head off - at my expense (again) - to check out a burnt out home owned by an old couple with no insurance - and start the process of clearing it so that a horde of volunteers can re-build something for them. I feel entitled to hold some high ground today...

    Welcome to Around the World With Trebor...
    23rd Dec 2019
    "You steal my life when you take from me the means by which I secure that life!" Shakespeare....
    23rd Dec 2019
    Geesus I tell you they want you to go under a train if you cant work till retirement age, this is a wicked wicked govt and centrelink is underlings that enjoy screwing you over.

    I just feel so depressed for the state of the elderly
    23rd Dec 2019
    Why does LC Ben hocking say try and get on newstart, they know damn well you never will.... it's mission impossible if you leave your job for quite some time....
    23rd Dec 2019
    Yes - they'll make sure you're sucked dry as an autumn leaf in the desert before they give you a small handout to get by on - and they forget about your pending retirement, when all the assets you've had to blow away to survive will need to be replaced, and thus you are more likely to need a pension...

    Stoopid is as stoopid does, sir!
    23rd Dec 2019
    The lack of info is a bit frustrating - and Ben doesn't answer Tina's question at all - what happens to those who simply cannot continue - through pain, arthritis, mental exhaustion - whatever? If Tina's boss isn't so bloody minded that they sack her straight out, perhaps she could ask for different duties or adjustments. Maybe she could look at being assessed for disability pension or if the issue is caused by her work requirements - workcover options? I understand that disability pension isn't available until you have significant disability.
    23rd Dec 2019
    Once again the whole system would be so much simpler if everyone received a pension at 65 regardless of their financial status. Those who are wealthy enough to decline, and there are many who would do so. But think of the billions that would be saved on the whole retirement industry and overheads. And while they are at it, get rid of three tier government, we now have massive improvements in information and communication technology since 1901 to serve just 25million people. There again pigs might fly.
    23rd Dec 2019
    I agree.. the work of government is done by the clerks and workers anyway.. especially at the council level - why pay a Mayor, Deputy, and a dozen councillors...??

    I think here our Mayor cops about $90k a year, the Deputy about $50k or so, and the councillors around $24k ... but there are perks as well... and of course the Mayor and deputy have their businesses as well - I never vote for business people on council, BTW ...

    Do we really need highly paid meeting organisers when the work is done by others anyway? Why pay so much when they are only part-timers anyway and only come in to sign the papers...
    23rd Dec 2019
    Absolutely. Give pension to all at Age 65 without any tests, other than Residency period to prevent carrots for late immigrants. Tina says "..cannot see myself being able to work until 66.5 years of age, as is currently required to access the Age Pension..", however some have wisely suggested she try and get a modified role to extend her working life. That may be the best option if possible.

    Also, remember who is responsible - the Tag Team of Labor and Liberals - former increased pension age to 67, and the latter tightened the screws to even get the pathetic Newstart! Retirees, and would-be Retirees, need to revolt - at least do the easy thing for now - write to the Retirement Income Review before 3rd Feb 2020, DEMANDING scrapping of this unfair system, and DEMAND Universal Age Pension for all. It is best for ALL Retirees, as well as for the Govt's bottom line. If you don't ask, don't whinge if they do nothing as that is very likely without lots and lots of submissions putting pressure on the Review.
    24th Dec 2019
    I hope she doesn't decide to use up her super before retirement as her financial position is not that secure still having a mortgage and having to draw on super already d ue to low wages. If she is losing the capacity to continue working then she needs to discuss and define that with her doctor and apply for the disability pension. There is a list of medical conditions that meet criteria available online. If she gets rejected for that there is sickness allowance, and I have heard there is a new start incapacitated allowance where you are temporarily excused from looking for work but I don't know if that exists.
    Chris B T
    24th Dec 2019
    Since there is no information about Tina's Job, hours worked/shift work."Only Low Paid" Disability Pension isn't the Substitute to Newstart.( unless you are a Hurdler)
    The Realisation as we age some (Most Low Paid Jobs) are physically and mentally demanding.
    Especially age care or other labouring jobs with younger workers.
    Ageism is more of an Issue than any of the "others" as this could easily be combine with other issues as well.
    It appears that you only get lip service with Ageism complaints.
    24th Dec 2019
    Just go to a doctor and get a medical certificate for Centrelink and you can be put on a disability provider rather than the job provider, if you are suffering from stress or ill health.

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