Age Pension versus Disability Support Pension

YOURLifeChoices subscriber, Ron, currently receives the Disability Support Pension and would like to know if he would be better to switch to the Age Pension when he is eligible?

Q. Ron

I have just received forms from Centrelink to complete in order to receive the Age Pension. I am currently on a Disability Support Pension and I am turning 65 years of age on October 15 this year. One question on the form gives me an option to take the Age Pension or remain on Disability Support Pension. I am very confused as to what I should or need to decide regarding the options. Are both payments the same? Will I lose some of my current benefits? Does changing over to age benefit mean that my partner no longer qualifies for Carer payments?

A. Age Pension is generally the most appropriate payment for people who are over Age Pension age. The rate of payment, income and asset tests and concession card provided to Age Pensioners are the same as for Disability Support Pension. Once you reach Age Pension age your payment will become taxable whether you remain on Disability Support Pension or transfer to
Age Pension.

There are no medical eligibility requirements or medical reviews if you receive Age Pension.

If you are intending to travel outside Australia, the guidelines for being paid Age Pension outside Australia may be more beneficial than those for Disability Support Pension.

If your home is situated on a block of land larger than two hectares, and on one title, you may be able to have more land exempted from the assets test if you receive Age Pension.
In some circumstances you may be better off remaining on Disability Support Pension. These include:
· if you are studying you may be able to get a Pensioner Education Supplement or Education Entry Payment
· if you currently get Incentive Allowance this can only be paid to Disability Support Pensioners
· if you are single and sharing privately rented accommodation you may be eligible for a higher maximum rate of Rent Assistance than if you were receiving Age Pension and sharing accommodation.

Note: If you have a partner who currently receives Wife Pension she will also lose access to Pensioner Education Supplement if you transfer to Age Pension.

Your partner would still qualify for Carer payments if you transfer to Age Pension.
Customers can contact Centrelink to discuss their situation and the most suitable option for them.

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