Is it worth making a pension claim?

Michael is approaching Age Pension age but thinks he will fail the income test. Should he apply now or wait until he thinks he has more chance of being eligible?

Q. Michael

I will be eligible for the Age Pension in January next year but fear I will fail the income test, in the short term at least.

With this in mind, should I apply for the Age Pension at that time knowing this, or wait until my circumstances change and I am more likely to qualify?

A. You can apply for the Age Pension a maximum of 13 weeks before you reach Age Pension age. It can take several months for Centrelink to process your claim so, should you wait until you believe you are eligible, you may go several months without an Age Pension, although it will eventually be backdated to the date you became eligible. 

Also, depending on where your income comes from, you may be able to apply the Work Bonus and still be eligible. Under the Work Bonus, the first $250 of income earned from employment as wages or salary, is excluded from assessment.

While you may not be eligible for an Age Pension, your income may be such that you qualify for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.  Once your circumstances change, you can simply advise Centrelink of this change and your eligibility reassessment should be much quicker.

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Written by Debbie McTaggart


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