What are my Age Pension options?

When Barbara reaches Age Pension age, what are her Age Pension options?

What are my Age Pension options?

YOURLifeChoices member Barbara isn’t yet quite ready to finish work, but when she is, she wants to know what are her Age Pension options will be.

Q. Barbara
I will reach the Age Pension eligibility age in February 2014 and although I’m not yet able to leave work, I would like to know what my options are. I currently work 22.5 hour per week and I would like to know:

1.Would I be eligible for the supplement?
2.How much can I earn if I take up the full Age Pension?
3.Do I receive travel, medical, etc?
4.Can I access my superannuation if I keep working the same as now?

I have had reports from others that Centrelink can be quite unhelpfull with queries so I would appreciate any leads that you have for me.

Barbara, February next year isn’t that far away so it’s good to start considering your options. Below are the responses to your questions, which hopefully will help you make informed choices. I have based these responses on a single person’s circumstances.

1. I’m not sure what supplement you refer to, but perhaps it’s the Pension Supplement. The Pension Supplement is paid as part of certain regular fortnightly income-support payments, of which the Age Pension is one. It helps eligible people meet the costs of daily household and living expenses, including phone, internet, utilities, and pharmaceutical costs. To assist with larger bills and expenses, you can opt to have an amount of the Pension Supplement paid to you quarterly. You can find out more about the Pension Supplement at Humanservices.gov.au.

2. The Age Pension is subject to both income and asset tests, so although you may qualify under one test, you may not meet the requirements of the other. Currently, to obtain a full Age Pension, you can earn no more than $152 per fortnight and for a part Age Pension, you need to earn less than $1768.80. You can find the current income limits on the YOURLifeChoices website and for your information, you can also find the asset limits here.

The Work Bonus can help older Australians who continue to work past Age Pension age qualify for a pension. Under the Work Bonus scheme, the first $250 of any fortnightly income is not assessed. Therefore, should you continue to work past Age Pension age, you can earn $402 a fortnight before your Age Pension is affected. You can find out more about the work bonus on our website.

3. If you qualify for even a part Age Pension, you will be entitled to a Pensioner Concession Card which gives you access to reduced medical treatment, pharmaceutical benefits and other concessions. As you are over 60 and not working full time, you may be entitled to a Seniors Card, which will grant you concessions on transport, utilities and discounts from local and national businesses. Eligibility criteria and concessions vary between states so it’s important to contact your local Senior's Card office for more information.

4. You can access your superannuation, however, you should seek independent financial advice before you do this. A Transition To Retirement pension (TTR) is one such way to access your superannuation and take advantage of tax benefits available. To find out more about a TTR, I suggest you read the following article, ease into retirement.

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    21st Jul 2013
    Hi, I have been told that I can get some of my travel expenses paid going to the eye specialist and our family doctor in Perth. I life in Leeman WA 6514, (we moved from Perth to Leeman in February, 2013) and both hubbie and I are on the full old age pension. We do need to see the family doctor (Hubbie on going health problems) and eye specialist for the both of us (Lions Eye Institute). Unfortunately we have no where to stay in Perth so it costs us $140 per night to stay in a chalet in a Caravan Park, as its roughly a 700klm round trip, too much for one day. Our doctor in Jurien Bay does not have the expertise to handle our eye and health issues. Thank you Roberta
    6th Nov 2013
    Centrelink officers I found so helpful as I was reluctant also to seek help; they made it less stressful and I would advise you to contact them ASAP. All the best to hou noth.

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