The Centrelink Age Pension provides income for eligible older Australians who meet the criteria.

Am I eligible for the Centrelink Age Pension?

There are four keys to determining if you are eligible for a full or partial payment from the Centrelink Age Pension:

Age

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

Residence requirements

To be eligible for the pension, you must be an Australian resident and physically present in Australia on the day you submit your claim.

Generally, you need to have been a resident for 10 years in total – and have had a period of continuous residency of at least 5 years.  However, exemptions can apply if you:

  • are a refugee or a former refugee
  • were receiving Partner Allowance, Widow Allowance or Widow B Pension immediately before turning Age Pension age
  • are a woman whose partner died while you were both Australian residents and have been an Australian resident for 2 years immediately before claiming the Age Pension.
  • lived and worked in a country with which Australia has an international social security agreement.

Income test

The income test is one test used by Centrelink to assess your means. The income test reduces your Age Pension payments for every dollar of income received, or have deemed to have received, over a certain amount.

 

As at 20th September 2018, a couple living together would receive a full Age Pension if their fortnightly income from other sources was $304 or less. For each dollar of income over $304, their fortnightly Age Pension payment would be reduced by 50 cents in the dollar.

 

If this couple’s income was $3,066.80 or more each fortnight, their pension payment reduce to $0. The limit may change so verify the latest figures from Centrelink.

SINGLE
 Fortnightly income up to $172 over $172
 Reduction in payment  none - full payment 50 cents for each dollar over $172
COUPLE COMBINED,COUPLE SEPERATED DUE TO ILL HEALTH
   
 Fortnightly income up to $304    over $304
 Reduction in payment none - full payment    50 cents for each dollar over $304 (combined)
TRANSITIONAL RATE PENSIONERS - SINGLE    
 Fortnightly income up to $172 over $172  
 Reduction in payment none - full payment 40 cents for each dollar over $172
TRANSITIONAL RATE PENSIONERS - COUPLE COMBINED,COUPLE SEPARATED DIE TO ILL HEALTH
 Fortnightly income up to $304 over $304
 Reduction in payment none - full payment 40 cents for each dollar over $304

 

 

For 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 assumes that certain financial assets provide a fixed rate of return.

There are exemptions to the income test, including:

  • A rent subsidy paid by the commonwealth, state or territory government
  • Most payments made by Centrelink
  • Compensation for loss or damage to a building, plant and personal effects
  • The value of any free board or lodging you receive
  • A periodic payment from an immediate relative like parent, sibling or child (if you are receiving a pension)
  • Emergency relief or similar
  • Reimbursement of expenses
  • Some lump-sums including one-time gifts or an inheritance.

The income test thresholds also differ depending on your circumstances.

Assets test

Like the income test, the Assets test can mean a reduction of your eligible Centrelink benefits due to the value of assets.

The assets test threshold, or disqualifying limit, is the maximum value of assets you can have before they affect your Age Pension payment. As at 1st July 2018, a couple can maintain assets (excluding their family home) of up to $387,500 before it will begin to impact their Age Pension payments. The limit may change so verify the latest figures from Centrelink.

The UPPER assets thresholds for the Age Pension assets test increased from 20 September 2018, which means more Australians are now eligible for a PART Age Pension.

 

The LOWER assets thresholds for the Age Pension assets test increased from 1 July 2018, which means from that date, more Australians are eligible for a FULL Age Pension. Note that the LOWER threshold is only adjusted once a year (from July). The next update for the LOWER threshold will take place from 1 July 2019.

Some common assets that Centrelink take into consideration when assessing your assets includes:

  • 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, your pension payments will be reduced by $3.

The assets test threshold, or disqualifying limit, is the maximum value of assets you can have before they affect your Age Pension payment. The assets test thresholds increased under the 1 January 2017 changes, potentially allowing more part pensioners to qualify for the full Age Pension payment.

The below table outlines the assets test thresholds, or disqualifying limits, for the full Age Pension payment:



 Single homeowners full pension assets must be less than $258,500
Single non-homeowners full pension assets must be less than $465,500
Couple homeowners full pension assets must be less than $387,500
Couple non-homeowners full pension assets must be less than $448,000

The table below outlines the assets test thresholds, or disqualifying limits, for the part Age Pension payment:



Single homeowners part pension assets must be less than $564,000  
Single non-homeowners part pension assets must be less than $771,000  
Couple homeowners part pension assets must be less than $848,000  
Couple non-homeowners part pension assets must be less than $1,055,000  

 

The asset test thresholds also differ depending on your circumstances.

The payment for couples and singles may differ.

See how much the Aged Pension could contribute to your income in retirement.