A short history of the Age Pension


A means tested Old-Age Pension was introduced for people aged 65 and over, or 60 and over if permanently incapacitated.


Pension eligibility for women at 60 years of age commenced.


The value of the family home was excluded from pension means testing


Automatic quarterly rate adjustment based on the retail price index commenced


The Old-Age Pension was renamed the Age Pension


A telephone rental concession for pensioners was introduced


All age pensioners became eligible for the Pensioner Medical Service


Pensions granted in Australia could be paid in any country in which the pensioner lived and the Age Pension was subject to income tax.


Rates were automatically increased twice yearly in line with movements in the Consumer Price Index (CPI)


Indexation of the rate of pension was conducted once a year


Twice yearly indexation of the rate of pension was restored


Residency requirements were changed to exclude temporary residents and prohibited non-citizens.


The rate of the single pension was maintained at a level equal to or greater than the annualised original, all males, total average weekly earnings figure (MTAWE). If the rate after indexation in March and September was less than the MTAWE then it was raised to that level.


The Pension Bonus Scheme for people deferring retirement and continuing to work for at least 20 hours per week was introduced.


The pension rate was increased to compensate for the impact of the introduction of the GST.

A pension supplement equivalent to four per cent of the maximum rate at July 2000 was paid to all pensioners.


The maximum single rate was increased by $30 per week.

The Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index was used to adjust pension rates where it produced a larger increase than the Consumer Price Index.

The qualifying age for the age pension increased from 65 years to 67 years. The age will increase by six months every two years from July 2017.

A work bonus was introduced for pensioners of age pension age. Half of the first $500 earned in each fortnight was disregarded under the income test. The Pension Bonus Scheme was closed.


A new benchmark was set for the Age Pension. A combined couple rate was benchmarked at 41.76 per cent of Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE) and the single rate at 66.33 per cent of the combined couple rate (effectively 27.7 per cent of MTAWE).


A new Age Pension asset test was introduced. The asset test threshold was increased to expand eligibility to the full Aged Pension. The taper rate was increased so that every $1,000 of assets above the asset test threshold would reduce the pension by $3.00 per fortnight (instead of $1.50) reducing the number of people eligible for a part pension. Changes took effect 1 Jan 2017.

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