More than half of all Australians age 65+ receive the Age Pension1. Even if you don’t think you could be eligible, understanding your options is an important consideration.
You could be eligible to receive the Age Pension, even if you receive a retirement income from other sources. This could include your super, as well as other savings and investments you may have.
There is a lot to consider – starting with whether you are eligible.
Find out if you’re eligible for the Age Pension
Generally, to be eligible for the Age Pension, you must:
- be an Australian resident and have lived in Australia for at least 10 years
- meet the income and asset tests
- be age 66 or over, depending on when you were born
1The minimum age you can start receiving the Age Pension depends on when you were born.
|If you were born||Your pension age is|
|From 1 July 1952 to 31 December 1953||65 years and 6 months|
|From 1 January 1954 to 30 June 1955||66 years|
|From 1 July 1955 to 31 December 1956||66 years and 6 months|
|From 1 January 1957 onwards||67 years|
Read the Top Tips our superannuation advisers have put together on the Age Pension to assist you on your journey.
The income and assets test
If your income or assets are above the allowable limits, your pension payment will be reduced, or you may not be eligible at all.
The income test includes money you receive such as from your employment, pensions, annuities, investments and any investments or earnings outside Australia.
The assets test includes investment properties, caravans, cars and boats and any business assets. Your family home, if you live in it, isn't counted in the assets test. But, it’s worth noting that if you sell your home, it could affect your entitlements.
*Find out more about the income and assets tests.
Age Pension rates for singles and couples
The amount you can receive is different for singles and couples, and depends on your income and assets tests.
The maximum basic rate of Age Pension payment* for:
- singles is $882.20 a fortnight or $22,937.20 a year
- couples is $1,330 a fortnight or $34,580 a year
These amounts don’t include any supplements, such as Pension Supplements (which includes a regular extra payment to help with utility, phone, internet and medicine costs) and Energy Supplements (which is an extra payment to help with energy costs).
The maximum supplements* available for the Age Pension are:
- singles is $85.30 a fortnight
- couples is $128.60 a fortnight
* As at September 2021
How to apply for the Age Pension
You can submit your claim in the 13 weeks before you reach your Age Pension eligibility age.
Financial Services Australia offers support to help you with your claim.
When you retire, you may be eligible for government benefits on top of the Age Pension, including concession cards and the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.
The kind of benefits you're entitled to generally depends on your age, assets and income.
Concession cardsShow more
The following cards provide seniors, retirees and pensioners with discounts on items or services, including health care, transport and utilities.
Pensioner Concession Card
Gives you access to cheaper utility and medical bills, and discounts on public transport in some states. You must:
- be aged 60 or over, and
- get the Age Pension or other payments from Centrelink
More information on the Pensioner Concession Card is available on the Services Australia website.
Offers a discount on public transport and some goods and services. Generally, you must:
- be aged 60 or over, and
- work less than 20 hours per week
Eligibility varies depending on where you live. You can check eligibility in your state or territory using the links below:
- Australian Capital Territory
- New South Wales
- Northern Territory
- South Australia
- Western Australia
Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
This card allows you to get cheaper prescriptions and medical appointments. To be eligible you must:
- be of Age Pension age,
- meet an income test, and
- not receive Centrelink payments
More information on the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card is available on the Services Australia website.
Government loansShow more
If you're on or qualify for the Age Pension, you may be eligible for a Government loan through Services Australia. There are two types:
Pension Loans Scheme — this allows you to use real estate as security for a fortnightly loan to top up your retirement income.
Advance payment — you can apply to get part of your pension payment paid in advance to help cover immediate expenses.
Help with government benefits when you need itShow more
Understanding exactly which benefits you can access and the eligibility tests for each of them can be confusing. Our financial planners are here to help.
Find out more about your advice options or request an appointment.
You can also join one of our weekly webinars that have been designed to help you learn more about your options as you head into retirement. They’re free and are a great opportunity to talk to our highly experienced team.
When and how to apply for the Age Pension can be confusing. To help you on your way, your team of superannuation advisers have put together their top tips.
When to apply – it’s good to apply earlyShow more
It’s a good idea to start the application process as early as possible, so you don’t miss out on any entitlements.
The application process can take months depending on how you complete the form and if Centrelink needs you to provide more information. It’s worth noting that your payments will only begin once your application has been approved. They won’t be backdated to the date you were eligible.
You can submit your claim to Centrelink up to 13 weeks before you reach Age Pension age.
Use Centrelink’s online form to help speed up your applicationShow more
MyGov online is a simple and secure way to access government services. The online Age Pension application form can reduce your application time considerably. The paper form has more than 80 questions - where the online application form is intuitive - this means you’ll only have to answer questions that are relevant to you.
The Services Australia website has some helpful tips and useful information to help you complete your application online.
Once you start your online application you’ll need to submit it within 13 weeks, otherwise the form will expire and you’ll need to start again.
What to consider when applyingShow more
1. Recent bank and super statements
Ensure your bank and superannuation account statements (balance details) that you submit with your application are as recent and close to the date you apply. If your statements aren’t recent, Centrelink could ask you to update these and resupply more recent statements. Going back and forth with Centrelink will delay your application – and remember, Centrelink won’t backdate any payments that were missed due to the delay.
A spouse’s bank and superannuation statements also need to be recent to avoid delay.
2. Valuing your assets - home and contents, car and other
When it comes to putting a value on your assets it’s a good idea to include the market value - this is based on how much it would be worth if you had to sell it tomorrow. It’s common to include the insurance value - the replacement value stated on an insurance document, for example a home and contents or comprehensive car insurance policy. The insurance value is usually higher than the market value, and this could inflate the value of your assets for the assets test.
Consider using the market value of your assets, instead of the insurance value.
Keep Centrelink up-to-date on any changesShow more
Once you start receiving payments you need to update Centrelink if your income or asset values changes to avoid an over or under payment. Centrelink asks you to update your asset values twice a year (October and April). If changes fall outside these timeframes you need to notify Centrelink within 14 days of these changes.
An underpayment could happen if you prepay a holiday or complete a renovation to your existing residence, for example. In this instance, your assets could reduce in value, and you could be entitled to more income. The sooner Centrelink knows, the quicker your payments can be reviewed to make sure you receive the correct amount.
An overpayment could happen if you receive an inheritance or downsize your home and spend less on the new home you purchase. If you don’t let Centrelink know in time you may need to pay back the overpayment amount. Centrelink will do this by reducing your entitlement until the overpayment has been paid back. If you’re no longer entitled to receive the Age Pension Centrelink will ask you to pay back the overpayment amount.
Centerlink requires that you notify them of any changes to your assets or income within 14 days.
The minimum age eligibility is set to increase by six months every two years until it reaches 67 on 1 July 2023. ↩