How often should you check your Age Pension entitlements?

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A person’s financial situation is rarely static, and neither are Centrelink’s income and asset thresholds when it comes to the Age Pension.

Being aware of these changes can result in a significant boost to your financial situation or stop you from paying back a large sum of money, if you have been overpaid.

If you currently receive a part Age Pension payment, Centrelink will automatically assess your situation when the various thresholds are indexed and promote you to a full Age Pension if that is the new rate you should be paid at. However, if your financial circumstances change significantly (either your assets or income), you will need to be aware of the change yourself to notify Centrelink and apply for a full Age Pension payment.

Those who have missed out on a part pension payment are the ones who need to pay the most attention to changes to the asset and income thresholds.

Income and asset limits for the full Age Pension are indexed on 1 July each year and the limits for part Age Pensions are indexed in March, July and September of each year.

However, if your circumstances change; for example, if you receive a lump sum payment, you purchase an asset or your relationship status changes, you will need to advise Centrelink immediately.

How often do you check your Age Pension entitlements?

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 the 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 financial planner, lawyer or tax agent in relation to any aspects that affect your financial and legal circumstances.

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Written by Ben


Total Comments: 24
  1. 0

    Those applying for the age pension for the first time need to check with Centrelink and not just look up the Thresholds. For example, some income is treated as exempt especially for those on Defined Benefit pensions, money held by a younger spouse in Super is not counted until they reach pension age etc

    • 0

      Good advice Sundays. I also noticed that our council now has a pension test for part pensioners. If your part pension is not large enough the council will not allow your pension discount on your rates.
      Hopefully this is not nation wide.
      Time I get my figures together and visit C/Link with the statements.

    • 0

      Cowboy, yes this done by a number of Councils. They stuffed up my discount and the Council girl showed me the screen. Council can log in to Centrelink and check, which I was not happy with. What other info on the CL site can the Council get access to?

  2. 0

    My understanding is that being on an Aged Pension, every time your financial circumstance change by $2,000 it must be reported. Is this still the case?

    • 0

      HS, it should be. But for the main part most people don’t. I was power of attorney for my mum and Centrlink never asked how much $$ she had in the bank etc. When she got her $$ back from her retirement unit and was put in the bank, I never told Centrelink as I didn’t understand the rules back then. I am not sure if she was over the threshold, but understanding what I know now I think she was. But she got the full pension. When she went into a nursing home 2 years later and we told centrelink how much she had, they never said- Hey you have been over the threshold for the last 2 years, and should have told us etc. etc.
      my concern is peoples assessts are actually reducing, and therefore you should cover your back by telling centrelink in case you can get more back from Centrelink. But from what I can see of all of the OAP’s I have met, they tell centrelink when they apply for the OAP, and think Centrelink knows how much $$ they have in the bank, when in fact they don’t.

    • 0

      Saw that written in the brochures as well, however a mate who likes a flutter on the horses, went to see them after a win. They (C/L) told him not to bother in future since he was likely to lose a few thousand again on next races. Still applies maybe if you get an inheritance or a substantial win in Gold Lotto since that money will stay longer in your pockets.

    • 0

      Yes it is but very easy to.update online. Increases but also decreases

    • 0

      I reported my inheritance within the 14 day mandatory period over the phone. Essential for your own protection that you obtain a receipt/reference number of the conversation and the date+time.
      My next pension payment was immediately reduced accordingly. The penalty for not reporting change of financial circumstance might be very severe. You may lose the entitlement to claim the pension altogether.Besides, it is so easy to report on myGov/Centrelink and update. Once, I received a phone call from Centrelink to question / audit my financial circumstance reporting and the answers I provided were accepted. No problem.
      So, don’t fool yourself, ‘big mother’ is watching !

    • 0

      HS – the web site actually says $1000 which is ludicrous.

    • 0

      Leek, be careful….you might get a robo debt. CL love hitting people for an overpayment made years previously.

  3. 0

    Thanks for pointing out a little mistake I might have made last year. Wife bought a new car and since it was new I never thought about reporting that to Centrelink as I am deemed on the money in the bank. Now I learn that the car as an asset is a lot less worth than the cash in the bank. Cars are depreciating and treated differently. Any of you new car or large TV buyers might also seek an adjustment.

    • 0

      with the car, remember that if you were to try to sell it quickly it is worth a lot less than what you paid for it, so that is the amount you should have it shown as an asset. Also, every 6 months reduce the value of that asset. You can do it on line.

    • 0

      The second you purchase, get the car registered and drive out of the car dealership’s yard, your new car instantly depreciates by 30%. By end of 5 years (rule of thumb) it is worth 10% of the new price you paid, depending on the condition of the car and the kilometres travelled.
      Centrelink refer to current market value. Well, the market value of your used car is worth what the potential retail buyer offers you, not what other people advertise they want.
      The wholesale value is what a car dealer is prepared to offer you as a trade-in or as an outright purchase.
      The outright purchase offer from a car dealer for your used car is at least $1,000 less than the trade-in offer.
      The trade-in offer is comprised of the wholesale value+what the dealer adds from his margin to make it look attractive for you to purchase your next car.
      So, yes, you should adjust your assets report once a year for the car’s market value.
      Furniture/ fridges/washing machines/computers/mobile phones is bit more tricky, but I imagine the minute you own a new piece it has a market value of 50% of the purchase price and then a reduction of 30% every year after that.
      When you sell your assets outright ( not trade-in) such as car / furniture, etc, you are suppose to report the amount you sold it for because the money from the sale is then assessed under the Income Test rule. I don’t think that every one does that. It should be interesting if they start to focus on this area.
      Anyway, read the rules -Dept of Human Services

    • 0

      Actually, Centrelink use the listed used car values in ‘The Red Book’ as market value.

    • 0

      One other issue with the Assets Test is that they do not take into account the value of your Net Assets but your Gross Value of Assets.So, if you have a current Debt (personal loan, credit card etc) against the car or furnishings, it’s not considered, possibly because pensioners do not declare finance loans as an asset and it becomes too tedious for Centrelink to handle the constant adjustments in reporting for the balance of your assets-v-debts.

    • 0

      On the humorous side,about the ‘Red Book Values’.
      1) Used Car dealer buyers say that they have thrown the ‘Red Book’ into the rubbish basket. Their market value is based on what they can get for the car at Wholesale Car Auctions. ( But they really haven’t thrown it away but use it as guide to give themselves a contemptuous laugh).
      2) Insurance companies use the Red Book to guide customers how much a car is worth. Usually, widows disposing of the deceased estate assets will say to a used car dealer’s buyer, “Well my insurance company said it’s worth much more than your offer…” The buyer’s response is always, “Well if that’s what they think, ask them to write you a cheque for your car”. 🙂 🙂

  4. 0

    Don’t forget to check cash stashed in the safe at home and report the balance to centerlink
    It should be taken into account under the assets test and deeming rules will apply

    • 0

      I thought us oldies have it under or in the mattress. Has that gone out of fashion? I remember our former PM Fraser advising us to keep it there when it looked like Labor having a chance getting back in.

  5. 0

    MP Fraser put his money in his back pocket and then lost his pants , you figure.

    • 0

      I remember the case, was organised by the Bureau of State Security in South Africa (BOSS). They found a nice colored girl for him to socialise with and she nicked his pants. Mr Fraser was an enemy of South Africa; at the time I was working in Johannesburg.

  6. 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

    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


    • 0

      Move to NZ then.

    • 0

      If any politician had a brain, the assets test would be removed because it is driving higher stress on the Budget to fund pensions for people who COULD be substantially self-supporting but CHOOSE to reduce their assets to secure pension benefits. It is also driving over-investment in housing, and higher health costs by the stress it causes. It is patently UNFAIR in a vast number of respects. A sensible taxation system would be far more equitable, easier to administer, and economically beneficial. Sad that we have such single-minded IDIOTS in power – and dumb voters keeping them there.

      Keep saying it, GrayComputing. Someday SOME might wake up and support you. But don’t hold your breath.

  7. 0

    Isn’t an inheritance supposed to be exempt and therefore not counted as income or as an asset?



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