Has your Age Pension changed?

Changes to the asset test thresholds and associated taper rate took effect from 1 January 2017. All Australians who receive an Age Pension and whose payment will change as a result will have been notified by Centrelink of their new payment rate.

If you’re still unsure what the changes are or how you might be affected, then you should contact Centrelink direct. However, here is a summary of what has changed.

The asset free threshold is the value of assets that an individual or couple can own before their Age Pension payment is affected. Prior to 1 January 2017, for every $1000 worth of assets held above this threshold, the Age Pension payment was reduced by $1.50 until no payment was due – this is known as the taper rate. From 1 January 2017, Age Pension payments will be reduced by $3 for every $1000 exceeded over the asset threshold.

In addition to changes to the taper rate, the upper thresholds have been reduced, meaning fewer people will qualify for a part Age Pension. However, the threshold that determines whether or not you receive a full Age Pension has increased so you may find that you will benefit from the changes. The new thresholds are:

From 1 January 2017

 

Asset free threshold

Pension cut-off threshold

Homeowner

 

 

Single

$250,000

$542,500

Couple (combined)

$375,000

$816,000

Non-homeowner

 

 

Single

$450,000

$742,500

Couple (combined)

$575,000

$1,016,000


What if you’ve lost your Age Pension payment altogether?
Those who are no longer eligible for the Age Pension will automatically receive a Commonwealth Seniors Health Care (CSHC) card to help with the costs of prescription medicines, utility bills, rates, etc. The recipients of these CSHC cards will be exempt, indefinitely, from the income thresholds usually applied.

If your Age Pension payment has reduced significantly, or you’ve lost it altogether, and you’re worried about how you will manage financially, you should contact a Centrelink Financial Services officer on 13 23 00 to ask for a review of your finances.

If you’re concerned that you may exceed the asset threshold in the near future and would like to know what effect this could have on your Age Pension payment, you can receive an estimate by using Centrelink’s Asset Test Estimator.

Related articles:
Age Pension eligibility
Age Pension payment rates

Written by Debbie McTaggart

RELATED LINKS



SPONSORED LINKS

LOADING MORE ARTICLE...