Can Jenny request pension early?

Jenny is concerned about how long it may take for her application for an Age Pension to be approved given recent reports that some people have experienced lengthy delays.

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Q. Jenny
I have read alarming accounts of people applying for the Age Pension once they reach the appropriate age, but then having to wait for sometimes up to six months before they know whether they will be approved. Do I have to wait until I am 65 and eligible, or can I get the process started earlier? I don’t have much in terms of savings and I’m concerned that any delays will be particularly hard for me.

A. You can apply for an Age Pension 13 weeks before you reach pension age. If you are happy to submit an online claim, you must have a MyGov account linked to Centrelink. If you can’t claim online, you should print and complete the Claim for Age Pension and Pension Bonus form and the Income and Assets form, or call Centrelink on the Older Australians line, or go to a service centre.

You might also find this online video explanation helpful.

The Department of Human Services advises that it processes millions of claims every year and that it “works hard to do these as quickly as we can”. A spokesperson said: “The median Age Pension processing time was 49 days in 2017–18.

“The Government recently announced measures to boost workforce numbers by 2750 to improve call wait times and enhance service delivery.

“The nature of Age Pension claims has changed over time and are increasingly more complex. Nearly 60 per cent of rejected claims are because an applicant failed to respond to requests for additional information or documentation.”

If you are applying for an Age Pension and experiencing severe financial hardship, you should let the department know as soon as possible so it can prioritise your claim.

If you have a Centrelink question, send it to [email protected] and we’ll do our best to answer it, or find someone who can.

Will you be one of the 70 per cent of Australians who receive an Age Pension or will you miss out? 

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Disclaimer: All content on YourLifeChoices website is of a general nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It has been prepared with due care but no guarantees are provided for the ongoing accuracy or relevance. Before making a decision based on this information, you should consider its appropriateness in regard to your own circumstances. You should seek professional advice from a financial planner, lawyer or tax agent in relation to any aspects that affect your financial and legal circumstances.

Written by Janelle Ward

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