The Age Pension is a government scheme that provides eligible Australians with income to assist them with living expenses when they retire.
Each year, the government updates the pension rates on 20 March and 20 September.
Below are the rates as of 20 March 2021:
|Single person||Couple living together||Couple combined||Couple separated due to ill health|
|Maximum basic rate||$868.30||$654.50 each||$1,309.00||$868.30 each|
|Maximum pension supplement||$70.30||$53.00 each||$106.00||$70.30 each|
|Energy supplement||$14.10||$10.60 each||$21.20||$14.10 each|
|Total per fortnight||$952.70||$718.10 each||$1,436.20||$952.70 each|
Note: For many people, the Age Pension is not enough to live on. It's important that you ensure you've maximised your superannuation.
There are four keys to determining if you are eligible for a full or partial payment from the Centrelink Age Pension:
Am I eligible for the Centrelink Age Pension?
Generally, to be eligible for the pension, you must be an Australian resident and physically present in Australia on the day you submit your claim.
You must also have lived in Australia for over 10 years.
There are some special exceptions for widows, refugees and former residents of some countries Australia has special social security arrangements with.
Please visit the Services Australia website for more information on residency requirements.
The pension age for men and women born from 1 July 1952 will be gradually increased from 65 to 67 years as set out in the table below.
If your date of birth is..... Your qualifying age is...... Before 1 July 1952 65 years 1 July 1952 to 31 December 1953 65 years and 6 months 1 January 1954 to 30 June 1955 66 years 1 July 1955 to 31 December 1956 66 years and 6 months From 1 January 1957 67 years
You can submit your claim in the 13 weeks before you reach the qualifying age. For more information on the pension age, please visit the government’s Social Security Guide.
If you don’t have access to a computer at home, you can visit your local Centrelink centre and use the self-service computer terminals.
3. Income test
Centrelink uses the income test to determine how much Age Pension you’ll receive. The income test reduces your Age Pension payments for every dollar of income received, or have deemed to have received, over a certain amount. Below are the income rules for a majority of pensioners:
Income per fornight Amount your pension will reduce by Up to $178 $0 Over $178 50 cents for each dollar over $178
Couple living together or apart due to ill health
Combined income per fortnight Amount your combined pension will reduce by Up to $316 $0 Over $316 50 cents for each dollar over $316
If you were receiving a pension on 19 September 2009, Centrelink will pay you at the transitional rate until your pension is no longer higher than the current income tested rate. Below are the transitional pension income test rates:
Income per fortnight Amount your pension will reduce by Up to $178 $0 Over $178 40 cents for each dollar over $178
Couple living together or apart due to ill health
Combined income per fortnight Amount your combined pension will reduce by Up to $316 $0 Over $316 40 cents for each dollar over $316For Centrelink, your income includes both actual payments received and any deemed income. Your deemed income is determined by reviewing existing investments and applying deeming rules, which assume that certain financial assets provide a fixed rate of return.
The income test thresholds also differ depending on your circumstances.
For more information about the income test for pensions, click here.
4. Assets test
Like the income test, the assets test can mean a reduction of your eligible Centrelink benefits due to the value of your assets.
Note that your Centrelink payments won’t be reduced by both the income test and asset test, but your payments will be determined by which of the two tests gives you the lower amount.
Some common assets that Centrelink takes into consideration when assessing your assets include:
- investment properties
- financial investments such as shares
- superannuation and income stream investments, including account based pensions
- business assets held as a partner or sole trader
- motor vehicles, boats and caravans
- household items, hobby or investment collections.
For each $1,000 in assets valued over the threshold, a couple's pension payments will be reduced by $3, or $1.50 per $1,000 each.
The table below outlines the assets test thresholds for the full Age Pension payment. From 1 July 2020, pensions reduce when your assets exceed the limit for your situation:
Your situation Home owner Non-home owner Single $268,000 $482,000 A couple combined $401, 500 $616,000 A couple, separated due to illness, combined $401,500 $616,000 A couple, one partner eligible, combined $401, 500 $616,00
The table below outlines the assets test thresholds, or disqualifying limits, for the part Age Pension payment:
Your situation Home owner Non-home owner Single $583,000 $797,500 A couple, combined $876,500 $1,091,000 A couple, separated due to illness, combined $1,031,500 $1,246,000 A couple, one partner eligible, combined $876,000 $1,091,000
How do I claim the Age Pension?
If you meet the eligibility criteria, visit the Services Australia website, which outlines the steps to submit your claim.
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