Age Pension Eligibility
To qualify for the Centrelink Age Pension you must pass both the Income and Assets test and meet the minimum age and residency requirements.
Income and assets test:
Centrelink considers the income you generate from anywhere in the world from employment, rental property income, business or income profits, or pensions and social security-type benefits. When it comes to assets, Centrelink takes into account the value of what you own LESS the amount you owe – with the exception of your family home. If you live in your family home it is excluded from the Asset Test.
Once both tests are assessed the lower calculated amount is your pension payment.
Under the income test, how much income can I earn before I start to lose my pension entitlement?
Under the assets test, how much in assets can I have before I start to lose my pension entitlement?
Currently, the qualifying age is 66 years, but this will increase by six months every two years, to 67 years by July 1st, 2023.
You don’t have to be an Australian citizen to qualify for the Centrelink Age Pension. But you must have been a Permanent Resident for at least 10 years AND have lived in Australia for at least 5 years of those 10 uninterrupted (excluding short holidays).
Many people overestimate the value of their personal assets when applying for the Age Pension. When including the market value of any personal assets like boats, cars, jewellery, etc, Centrelink recommends you enter what you would get if you sold it at a garage sale. It is not the replacement or insured value.
Did you know
Deemed income is a term that is often used when applying for the Age Pension. Because interest and investment rates differ across all types of investments, Centrelink use a formula (deeming rate) to calculate an average interest received
Did you know?
The Centrelink Age Pension has not always existed in its current form. Indeed, when it was introduced more than a century ago, the life expectancy of retired Australians was less than half of what it is today.
History of the Centerlink Age Pension
Prior to federation, most citizens had access to an Age Pension, but it was provided by way of assistance from community associations, and only sometimes with help from government institutions.
It was in 1908 when the Australian Government announced the implementation of a national age pension.
There was little change to Australia’s national Age Pension until the concept of the superannuation emerged as a possibility in 1976. Superannuation was finally legislated in 1992, introducing sweeping changes to Australia’s retirement income regime.
In 1997, Centrelink was launched as a new government agency to administer the Age Pensions, taking over from the now obsolete Department of Social Security (DSS). Just a few years ago, in 2011, Centrelink was merged with Medicare Australia to create the Department of Human Services which now spends $39.5 billion on the Centrelink Age Pension each year.
“Have you heard about the Pensioner Concession Card? This card is a vital resource for Age Pensioners and is automatically issued with the Age Pension regardless of how much you receive. It helps reduce the cost of living by providing a long list of benefits.”
These benefits include:
- Reduced cost of medicines
- Bulk Billing for Doctor’s Appointments
- Free Car Registration
- Free Driver’s License, also driving tests and Riding Skills tests
- Hearing Services
- Reduction in council rates
- Rebate taken off Water Rates
- Rebate taken off the Electricity & Gas bills
- Reduced fares on Public Transport
- Discounts on Australia Post
- Free Pet Registration
- Free entry to National Parks
- Free Fishing License fee