At the beginning of last year, more than 300,000 Australians lost Age Pension entitlements when the assets test was tightened.
Prior to December 2016, the taper rate was more generous, reducing entitlements by just $1.50 per $1000 of assets over the threshold. The rate was doubled the following month, and now seniors can expect to lose $3 per $1000 worth of assets over the Age Pension cut-off.
Centrelink assets test limits for full and part Age Pensions were adjusted on 1 July 2018 to allow more seniors to become eligible for payouts. The new thresholds are as follows:
Centrelink asset test limits for full Age Pensions from 1 July 2018
|Illness separated (couple combined)||$387,500||$594,500|
Centrelink asset test limits for part Age Pensions – effective from 1 July 2018
|Illness separated (couple combined)||$993,000||$1,200,000|
Many older Australians have made adjustments to their assets in order to again qualify for an Age Pension payment. However, it is important to understand your entitlements will not be automatically restored if your holdings change … you have to notify Centrelink to begin the assessment process all over.
Finance expert Noel Whittaker reports that the easiest way to reapply is by using your Centrelink online account through myGov.
“In most circumstances, the majority of details from your previous claim will be pre-filled for you to make reapplying for age pension more streamlined,” he said.
“You will need to make sure all your details are up to date, including updating your financial circumstances if they have changed since your previous claim. You may also need to provide verification of your current circumstances.”
If you believe your financial circumstances have changed so that your assets are now under the thresholds and you wish to reapply for the Centrelink payment, here is what to do, according to the Department of Human Services general manager Hank Jongen:
The Age Pension will not automatically be reinstated. Those who lost their eligibility for the Age Pension due to the income and assets test changes that came into effect on 1 January 2017, must reapply if their financial circumstances have since changed.
The Department of Human Services has made a range of improvements on the process of claiming an Age Pension.
The new online channel makes it easier for people to apply, and individuals registered with Centrelink can submit their entire application online without the need to visit a service centre.
People can also save the progress of their application while online and log back in to finish it at a later time. This feature is handy for applicants who perhaps need to gather more information or documentation to assist with their claim.
If a person was previously a Centrelink payment recipient, the system will automatically fill in their personal and financial details on the Age Pension claim. Applicants just need to confirm or update the pre-populated information already provided.
Once submitted, applicants can check the status of their claim online at any time using the Claim Tracker.
Applying through the online claiming channel is faster and more efficient, as it ensures all necessary information is submitted at the time of lodgement. However, staff will be available to support people as they complete their claims, whether over the phone or in person at a service centre.
Paper forms are also available to those who need them and can be downloaded from The Department of Human Services, or by calling the Older Australians line on 132 300 and requesting a copy.
Do you think your circumstances have changed sufficiently that you may be eligible for Age Pension payments? Have you tried to reapply for entitlements … and if so, what was your experience?