When claiming an Age Pension, what is your spouse entitled to?
Barry is contemplating claiming an Age Pension and would like to know if his wife will also be eligible, or will she have to make do with Newstart Allowance.
Although I would qualify for a full Age Pension I have decided to continue to work. My wife has yet to reach Age Pension age and she has not entered the work force in over 40 years. We will qualify for full benefits as our material and fiscal position is not great. We are concerned when we do decide to retire, how we are going to manage if there is nothing for her. Is there some benefit that we are unaware of for which we can apply? Or will she have to go on Newstart until she qualifies for an Age Pension?
A. Based on the information you have given, the only payment to which your wife may be entitled is Newstart Allowance. However, as your wife does not work, she may be eligible for a Seniors Card, which would entitle her to concessions on rates, utilities and other household costs. Seniors Cards are issued by state governments and you can find out more by visiting YOURLifeChoices Seniors Card page.
Also, as you have continued to work without claiming an Age Pension, you may wish to register for the Pension Bonus Scheme, if you turned 65 before 20 September 2009. If you are eligible, you can continue to work and when you do decide to claim an Age Pension, you will be paid a bonus. In the interim, you may also be able to claim a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, which will entitle you to cheaper health care, prescription costs and household concessions offered by your state or territory government.
If you are not eligible to register for the Pension Bonus Scheme, then you may wish to consider claiming the Age Pension and utilising the Work Bonus to enable you to earn more. Under the Work Bonus, the first $250 you earn each fortnight is not assessed, meaning you may be entitled to some Age Pension and a Pensioner Concession Card, as well as still being able to work.
It would be worthwhile making an appointment to see a Centrelink Financial Information Services officer who can give you a more detailed response based on your individual financial circumstances. You can do this at any time, whether or not you are currently receiving payments. Simply call 13 2300 to make an appointment.
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