Centrelink & Retirement

1 December 2010

Eligibility – based on age

To qualify for Age Pension, you must first satisfy the age and residence requirements. Centrelink then works out how much Age Pension is payable. This depends on your income and assets and other circumstances.

If you are legally blind, you may be eligible for Age Pension (Blind), which usually has no income or assets test.

Age pension age

From 1 July 2017, the qualifying age for Age Pension will increase from 65 to 65.5 years. The qualifying age for Age Pension will then rise by 6 months every 2 years, reaching 67 by 1 July 2023.

These changes will be introduced 4 years after women’s qualifying age for Age Pension has reached 65, under existing rules.

The table below shows the gradual increase in women’s qualifying age for Age Pension over the period leading up to 1 July 2013, and then the increase in qualifying age for both men and women from 1 July 2017.

Born Women eligible for Age Pension at age Men eligible for Age Pension at age
before 1 July 1935 60 65
From 1 July 1935 and 31 December 1936 60.5 65
From 1 January 1937 and 30 June 1938 61 65
From 1 July 1938 and 31 December 1939 61.5 65
From 1 January 1940 and 30 June 1941 62 65
From 1 July 1941 and 31 December 1942 62.5 65
From 1 January 1943 and 30 June 1944 63 65
From 1 July 1944 and 31 December 1945 63.5 65
From 1 January 1946 and 30 June 1947 64 65
From 1 July 1947 and 31 December 1948 64.5 65
From 1 January 1949 to 30 June 1952 65 65
From 1 July 1952 to 31 December 1953 65.5 65.5
From 1 January 1954 to 30 June 1955 66 66
From 1 July 1955 to 31 December 1956 66.5 66.5
From 1 January 1957 67 67

Income and assets

Your Age Pension payment is calculated under both the income and assets tests. The test that results in the lower rate (or zero) will apply.

If you are legally blind you may be eligible for Age Pension (Blind) which usually has no income and assets tests.

Hardship provisions

If you have assets but little or no income, you are expected to rearrange your affairs to provide for yourself. We know in some cases this may not be possible.

If you are in severe financial hardship[1] you may be able to get a payment. This means your income or assets will be tested differently.

Income test

Your income affects the amount of payment you receive.

Income test for pensions

Family situation For full pension/allowance (pf)* For part pension (pf)#
Single up to $146 less than $1,578.20
Couple (combined) up to $256 less than $2,415.20
Illness separated (couple combined) up to $256 less than $3,120.40

 

Assets test

An asset is any property or possession you own either partly or wholly. It includes assets held outside Australia and debts owing to you.

Assets test for homeowners

Family situation For full pension/allowance* For part pension#
Single** up to $181,750 less than $659,250
Couple (combined) up to $258,000 less than $978,000
Illness separated (couple combined) up to $258,000 less than $1,213,000
One partner eligible (combined assets) up to $258,000 less than $978,000

Assets test for non-homeowners

Family situation For full pension/allowance* For part pension#
Single** up to $313,250 less than $790,750
Couple (combined) up to $389,500 less than $1,109,500
Illness separated (couple combined) up to $389,500 less than $1,344,500
One partner eligible (combined assets) up to $389,500 less than $1,109,500

Payment rates

These Age Pension payment rates are effective from 20 September 2010.

An income and assets test will be used to work out how much you can get.

Status Pension rate per fortnight
Single $658.40*
Couple $496.30* each

*These amounts exclude the Pension Supplement[2] amount which is currently a maximum of $57.70 a fortnight for singles and $87.00 a fortnight for couples (combined).

  • Customers in receipt of a pension on 19 September 2009 may be assessed under transitional arrangements and be eligible for different rates of payment.
  • If you and your partner are separated because of illness, you may be paid at the single rate. Your combined income and assets will be used to work out your rates.
  • You may receive the single rate of Age Pension if your partner is in prison or a psychiatric hospital.
  • You may be eligible for the couple rate of Age Pension even if your partner is not receiving a pension, benefit or allowance.
  • If you receive Age Pension you may qualify for other benefits[3].

Payment adjustments and reviews

From time to time, your Age Pension payment is reviewed. If you are getting an Age Pension, the amount you receive may be adjusted because your or your partner’s circumstances change. This may include a change in your income, moving house or separating from your partner.

Age Pension is usually adjusted twice a year in line with increases in the cost of living. This includes the higher of the increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the increase in the new Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index (PBLCI).

*Information sourced from Centrelink webiste – http://www.centrelink.gov.au/internet/internet.nsf/payments/age_pension.htm

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