Defining retirement age may seem like a no brainer, but it’s actually a tricky definition. Put simply, there is no such thing as retirement age.
Technically you can retire at any age you like, should your circumstances permit. But if you wish to apply for an Age Pension or to access your superannuation, then the age limits vary.
Age Pension age
Most people assume that age 65 is the retirement turning point, because this was the Age Pension entitlement age for many years.
But starting in 2009, this entitlement age started to increase.
- As of 1 July 2021, the entitlement age is 66 years and 6 months, for those born between 1 July 1955 and 31 December 1956.
- If you were born on or after 1 January 1957, then your Age Pension entitlement age is 67.
The legislation increasing the Age Pension age will cease, with all applicants required to be 67 or older from 1 July 2023.
Access to superannuation age
This is also referred to as preservation age – the age at which you can access your superannuation, moving from a stage of accumulation, to one of decumulation, when you retire or transition to retirement.
These ages vary according to your year of birth.
|Date of Birth||Preservation Age|
|Before 1 July 1960||55|
|1 July 1960 – June 30 1961||56|
|1 July 1961 – June 30 1962||57|
|1 July 1962 – June 30 1963||58|
|1 July 1963 – June 30 1964||59|
|1 July 1964 onwards||60|
These dates are barring special circumstances, which might include, but are not limited to, compassionate grounds, transition to retirement status and financial hardship.
As we covered in an article a few weeks ago, state and territory governments offer senior concession cards for residents who have reached a certain age. This is normally 60,although it is now 64 in WA, but can also be lower in some states or territories. There can also be limitations according to the number of hours you work each week. Often the age 60 qualification means people use this as shorthand for an official government ‘retirement age’.
It is also worth noting that because you have turned a certain age does not mean that you should be required to retire or step back from full duties. The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is very clear on your right to full employment for as long as you are capable of filling the required duties, regardless of your age. In a few small instances (federal and state judges, Australian Defence Force personnel) legacy legislation means that employees may be required to leave – but even these exceptions are now being tested. Remember, in most cases, it is against the law to treat older people differently because of their age. Further detail is supplied in the Australian Human Rights Commission’s guide, Know your rights: Age Discrimination. To order the guide, phone the Commission on 1300 369 711.
If you want to check what you are entitled to receive right now, or could be entitled to receive in the future, you can do so on our free calculator.