YourLifeChoices keeps older Australians up to date with changes to the retirement landscape.
Change to Age Pension rates
The rate of a full Age Pension, including Pension and Energy Supplements, is set to be reviewed and increased from 20 March 2022. It is currently $967.50 per fortnight for singles and $729.30 per fortnight for each eligible member of a couple.
If you turn 66.5 in 2022
Australians are currently eligible for the Age Pension at 66.5 – changing to 67 in July 2023. If you are set to reach that milestone this year, you should look closely at the Age Pension application 13 weeks before your birthday. You can then address any hiccups well ahead of when your first payment would be due.
If you already receive an Age Pension or part pension, make sure Centrelink has your latest details and update key criteria as necessary. For part pensioners, a change in assets of $10,000 could mean an extra $780 per year in pension payments. Check that Centrelink has the correct and updated value for your car or caravan and that household contents are realistically valued.
If you receive an Age Pension, make sure you are receiving these entitlements:
- gas rebate
- electricity rebate
- water rebate
- council rates discount
- driver’s licence and registration concession.
Rapid antigen tests
Age Pensioners and anyone with a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card(CSHC) or a Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) card can receive 10 free rapid antigen tests.
Changes to your income and assets may mean you now qualify for a CSHC, which entitles you to much more than assistance with medical and pharmacy expenses. Even some self-funded retirees may be eligible.
Budget changes that will affect retirees
Key announcements in the May 2021 Budget are set to come into effect on 1 July 2022. You are likely to be affected if you are:
- between 66 and 74, not working, and want to put more money into super
- looking at downsizing and are aged 60 or over
- want to draw down a lump sum using the government’s Home Equity Access Scheme (formerly the Pension Loans Scheme).
Working and the Age Pension
Do not assume that the Age Pension is unavailable if you are of Age Pension age and working. Check the eligibility rules here.
Home Equity Access Scheme
This scheme, called the Pension Loan Scheme until 31 December 2021, now has a lower rate and offers older property owners more flexibility.
On 1 January 2022, the scheme’s interest rate was cut from 4.5 to 3.95 per cent and from 1 July 2022, homeowners aged 66 and over can receive two lump-sum payments a year, capped at 50 per cent of the annual Age Pension rate. Also from 1 July, a No Negative Equity Guarantee will be introduced to ensure that no participant will need to repay more than the equity he or she holds in the property used to secure the loan.
Are you hopeful of a generous increase in the Age Pension come 20 March? Do you make the most of your entitlements? Which do you find most valuable? Why not share your views in the comments section below?
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