The Age Pension is designed to support older Australians who do not have sufficient accumulated capital or income to self-fund their retirement. To be eligible for the Age Pension a person must be:
- A person of Age Pension age; and
- An Australian resident and in Australia on the day the claim is lodged, unless claiming under an international social security agreement and on the day it becomes payable must have been an Australian resident for at least 10 years, at least 5 of these years in one period.
The qualifying age is 65 for men and between 60 and 65 for women. However from 1 July 2017 the qualifying age will increase to 65.5 for both men and women.
|Date of Birth||Women||Men|
|Before 1 Jul 1935||60.0||65.0|
|From 1 Jul 1935 and 31 Dec 1936||60.5||65.0|
|From 1 Jan 1937 and 30 Jun 1938||61.0||65.0|
|From 1 Jul 1938 and 31 Dec 1939||61.5||65.0|
|From 1 Jan 1940 and 30 Jun 1941||62.0||65.0|
|From 1 Jul 1941 and 31 Dec 1942||62.5||65.0|
|From 1 Jan 1943 and 30 Jun 1944||63.0||65.0|
|From 1 Jul 1944 and 31 Dec 1945||63.5||65.0|
|From 1 Jan 1946 and 30 Jun 1947||64.0||65.0|
|From 1 Jul 1947 and 31 Dec 1948||64.5||65.0|
|From 1 Jan 1949 to 30 Jun 1952||65.0||65.0|
|From 1 Jul 1952 to 31 Dec 1953||65.5||65.5|
|From 1 Jan 1954 to 30 Jun 1955||66.0||66.0|
|From 1 Jul 1955 to 31 Dec 1956||66.5||66.5|
|From 1 Jan 1957||67.0||67.0|
Should an individual meet the above criteria they may well be eligible to receive the Age Pension. The actual entitlement received however, is determined through the application of the ‘Means Tests’ (Income and Asset Tests) which determine final entitlement.
These Means Tests are summarised elsewhere in this document, but in brief are designed to ensure only individuals who have limited assets and income are in receipt of the full Age Pension. Many individuals may be entitled to a part pension to supplement their existing retirement capital and income. Pensioners who are permanently blind are exempt from the income and assets tests.
Age Pension Payment Rate
The Age Pension is paid fortnightly and normally directly deposited into a nominated bank account. The maximum rate is generally be indexed to CPI (the Consumer Price Index; a measure of inflation) to ensure that recipient income keeps pace with general price increases.
As stated earlier, your actual entitlement may well be reduced as a result of your treatment under the Assets and Income means tests. If a couple is separated because of illness, they may each be able to be paid at the single pension rate.
The combined income and assets of the couple are used to work out their entitlement. Half of the married rate is payable to one of a couple if their partner is not receiving a pension, benefit or allowance. The single rate may be payable to one member of a couple if non-recipient partner is imprisoned or in psychiatric confinement.
The Age Pension can be paid overseas (in certain circumstances) indefinitely, although the rate may change after 26 weeks. You should be aware that the Age Pension is taxable.
How to Claim?
To claim the Age Pension, forms should be obtained from any Centrelink Regional Office. Claims should be made shortly before eligibility as payments cannot be made for any period prior to the date of claim.
Age Pension – Means Testing
In order to appropriately restrict government assistance to those individuals who are in need, Centrelink utilises ‘Means Tests’ to determine entitlement to a part or full Age Pension. The test that results in the least favourable entitlement is the one which is utilised to determine the actual fortnightly Pension entitlement.
The Income Test is an assessment of an individual’s income to determine their need for government assistance. Individuals are entitled to earn a certain amount of income per week before the maximum benefit is reduced. This allowable income limit is reviewed on a regular basis.
Where recipients are members of a pensioner couple (including de facto) Centrelink will assess the combined income of the couple against the partnered allowable income limit. However, where the recipients are members of a non-pensioner couple the individual income is assessed separately to determine the entitlement.
The Assets Test is designed to limit access to social security benefits for a person who has substantial assets. The test is based on whether the person is married or single and whether they are homeowners or non-homeowners.
The assets test lower threshold is indexed once per year and the upper threshold changes as a result of the indexation of the lower threshold or the indexation in the rates of pension.
Pensioners are entitled to a certain value of assets before the maximum pension entitlement is reduced. The pension is reduced by $3.00 per fortnight for each $1,000 of assets over the minimum limit.