Boost your eligibility for Centrelink benefits
01 September 2020
By simply tweaking your super you may become entitled to some hefty Centrelink benefits that will help to stretch your disposable income a bit further, this becomes even more beneficial when investment markets are heading south and your income account balance is impacted.
It’s never too late to consider all your options in order to make sure you are maximising your retirement cash flow.
Centrelink plus super
One option, that can save a considerable amount of household expenditure every year, is your eligibility to access the Government Age Pension. Even if you only get $1 of age pension, you will be entitled to a pensioner concession card and all the benefits and discounts that come with it, such as concessional rates for prescription medicines listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. And, if you're already getting the Government Age Pension, it's timely to make sure you are getting as much as you're entitled to receive.
The eligibility age for the Government Age Pension is currently 66 years and six months.¹ However, from 1 July 2023 the age will increase to 67.
The maximum fortnightly age pension including supplements, is $987.60 for a single retiree and $1488.80 for a couple. These amounts are regularly revised in line with the consumer price index2 and an income and assets test will be used to work out how much you actually receive.
Income and assets test for Government Age Pension eligibility
To determine whether you are eligible to receive a government pension and to calculate how much you will receive, Centrelink applies two tests, an income test and an assets test.
The income test includes most types of income, for example, income from employment, investments, and shares, rental income, superannuation pensions and income streams, and annuities. It also includes income from outside Australia.
The assets test considers how much your assets are worth. Your assets include cash, super, investment properties, loans to family members, cars, household contents, lifestyle assets such as boats or caravans and assets held in private companies or trusts. Typically, the family home is not included in the list as long as it is no more than 2 hectares of land. Special rules apply for rural properties.
The test that results in the lower pension rate will be the one that is applied. Services Australia regularly reviews and updates the income and assets test limits to work out how much Age Pension you can get. When this happens, your regular payments change.
See the current income and assets test limits in our Retire Happy fact sheet.
For more information on the Age Pension and Income and Asset Tests and other Age Pension eligibility criteria, go to https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/age-pension
Want to find out more?
If you're looking for assistance with your income account payments or eligibility for Centrelink benefits we can help. As a BUSSQ member you have access to personal financial advice on retirement at no extra cost*. BUSSQ members also have access to tailored retirement advice which is charged on a fee for service basis^. Find out more or call us on 1800 692 877.
¹ Source: servicesaustralia.gov.au/who-can-get-age-pension
² As at 6 June 2022 Source: servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/age-pension/how-much-you-can-get
*Personal advice is limited to BUSSQ products and is advice on insurance, investment choice, contributions and retirement. The cost of this advice is included in the BUSSQ Trustee related costs. ^Tailored retirement advice is advice on retirement income streams and transition to retirement. As this advice extends beyond a member’s BUSSQ super account it is billed on a per hour basis. Advice is provided by Link Advice Pty Ltd (ABN 36 105 811 836 AFSL 258145). This article provides general information only and does not take into account your personal financial situation or needs. Before acting, you should review the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to ensure you have all the information about the relevant BUSSQ product and how it works and consider the appropriateness of the information to your needs or obtain financial advice tailored for your personal circumstances. You can download BUSSQ's PDSs and Target Market Determinations or call us to request a copy. Prepared by BUSS(Queensland) Pty Ltd (ABN 15 065 081 281, AFSL 237860) as Trustee for BUSSQ (BUSSQ Fund, ABN 85 571 332 201).