Why pre-retirees should get a head start on entitlements

Financial adviser and founder of Later Life Advice Brendan Ryan offers the following tips for anyone closing on Age Pension age.

I am often asked by people getting close to Age Pension age for guidance on how to get started. These are my top two tips.

1. Apply three months before you reach Age Pension age
Not everyone knows this, but you can make an application for the Age Pension three months before you are eligible. This allows plenty of time to make sure your application is correct and is being processed, so payments can start right on the day you become eligible.

From 1 July 2017, the qualification age for the Age Pension began to rise. It is increasing by six months every two years, until it reaches 67 by 1 July 2023 and will be 66 years and six months on 1 July 2021.

2. Get applying for these concessions
This is so important. Reaching Age Pension age is not just about the Age Pension, it’s also about the 40-plus programs, rebates, discounts and entitlements that go with the Age Pension. This is an opportunity to save thousands of dollars.

Read more: Services and rebates that can save you hundreds

To get ready, I would:

  • Start saving your utility statements – water, electricity, gas. You will need this information to know where to go to apply for your discounts. If you don’t pay for your utilities straight from a retailer (say you live in a retirement village), there will be a different process. It’s time to start working this out.
  • Start looking closely at how you pay for your doctor or for your medicines. You may soon get more government support. Find out if you can be bulk billed as a Pensioner Concession Card holder. Find out from your pharmacist if your Pensioner Concession Card will make a difference to your medication costs via a concessional Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme rate.
  • Keep a check on your council rates. You should be able to get a good discount once your Pensioner Concession Card comes through. It may be worth finding the form to fill in from your local council.
  • Look at the timing of your motor vehicle registration and licence renewal. You will be able to save there too.

Did you know you could get your Age Pension application started three months before you are eligible? Did you know about the various perks of concession cards? Do you have any other advice on the pension and other entitlements?

Read more: You may be entitled to more free perks than you think

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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 Brendan Ryan

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