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The Age Pension and you – how to maximise your entitlements

Whether you qualify for an Age Pension today or not, it’s great to have a handy reminder of how the system works.

This advice comes from our partner Retirement Essentials.

  • Finance
  • Read Time: 2 mins

Key Points

  • Around 450,000 Australians enter retirement each year.
  • Half of those who start out self-funded will qualify for at least part pension.
  • Those who don’t quality may do so in the future as assets and income wind own.

At any given time, about 65% of retirees are receiving either a full or part Age Pension – but entitlements tend to vary depending upon your age and stage of life.

Nearly 450,000 Australians enter retirement each year. About 4 in 10 of those will start off as self-funded. Depending on the rate they draw down their superannuation and other savings, about half of those who start out self-funded, will sooner or later qualify for at least a small pension entitlement.

Those who start retirement with a large lump sum withdrawal from their super will obviously be more likely to qualify earlier. Those who carefully manage their withdrawals using an Account Based Pension may never exhaust their savings.

Either way, many find the idea of slogging through the 26-page Centrelink application presents a daunting prospect.

Mistakes can be costly

Many prospective applicants are concerned they might make a mistake, for which they could be penalised later on. As unlikely as this is to happen, many feel stressed by tackling their Age Pension application without professional support.

It’s also important to understand that those whose applications are rejected today may find they will qualify at a later stage. Nothing is set in concrete.

This is because the Australian Age Pension is conditional upon both an income and an assets test. Whichever of the two measures leads to the lower or no entitlement, will dictate your final payment or rejection. 

So, if today, your assets are above the current thresholds, you will not qualify – but many people overestimate the value of their assets. Others will be currently renovating or spending money on maintenance, and paying for these home improvements, whilst adding value to your home, can also reduce your assets and change your eligibility.

That’s why it is so important to never say never when you consider your possible Age Pension eligibility.

Similarly, you will need to keep totally up to date to ensure that your entitlement is always maximised.

Our personal situations can change at the drop of a hat – and so can those of our partners, our adult children, our grandchildren. There are many ways these fluctuations can translate into increased payments. One Retirement Essentials member was surprised to learn she would receive an extra support payment for taking care of her two grandchildren. This carer payment was in addition to her Age Pension entitlements.

Applying for the Age Pension

Whether you qualify for an Age Pension today or not, it’s great to have a handy reminder of how the system works. If you need support with the Age Pension application, Retirement Essentials can help:

  • Assess your eligibility on the Retirement Essentials free eligibility calculator.
  • If eligible, get your paperwork together (Retirement Essentials can let you know what you need) and start your online application.
  • If you need support or a consultation, call Retirement Essentials on 1300 527 727 or book online.
  • Appoint Retirement Essentials as your nominee to liaise with Centrelink on your behalf.
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