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Age Pension Eligibility – Updates Effective 1st July 2023

Written by Aaron Alston

To be eligible for the Age Pension, you must be age pension age and meet a specified criterion.  Effective 1st July 2023 the age pension eligibility age is 67 years.  You can submit your application in the 13 weeks prior to turning age 67.

Due to the changes in income and assets tests, many seniors who were previously ineligible due to income or assets, may now be able to claim part payments.  Age pension rates are currently $1,064 per fortnight ($27,664 p/a)  for singles and $1,604 per fortnight ($41,704 p/a) for couples.

Age requirements

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Note: For those born between July – Dec 1956, your age pension eligibility is 66 years and 6 months.

You also need to meet the following:

  • Residency Test
  • Assets test
  • Income test

Residency test

You generally need to have been an Australian resident for at least 10 years in total.  For at least 5 of these years, there must be no break in your residence.

There are instances however where you can be eligible for an age pension if you have been an Australian resident for less than 10 years.

  • Have a qualifying residence exemption – Refugee or former refugees are exempt from the 10-year rule.
  • On another payment – You may be able to apply to transfer to age pension
  • Lived or worked overseas – You may be eligible for age pension however there must be an arrangement between Australia and the other country for social security purposes.
  • If you’re a woman who partner has died – you must be an Australian resident for the 2 years before you claim and both of you must be Australian residents when your partner died.

Income test

The government will assess your income from your financial assets.  To work out your income the government uses deeming rules.  Common financial assets used in deeming are savings accounts and term deposits, managed investments, loans. Debentures, shares and securities and some income streams and gifts.  The below tables are the standard income rules for most pensioners.

Single person (changes effective 1st July 2023)

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Couples (changes effective 1st July 2023)

[table id=12 /]

Asset test

Assets are property or items you or your partner own in full or part, or have an interest in.  Assets include any: financial investments, home contents, personal effects and vehicles, real estate, annuities, income streams and superannuation pensions.  It also includes sole traders, partnerships, private trusts, and private companies.  When your assets are more than the eligible limit, your pension will reduce.  Some Assets are exempt such as the family home, assets in superannuation under pension age and some funeral and accommodation bonds and gifts within allowable limits.  Home contents, cars and boats are valued at market value, not what you think you can sell them for (replacement value).

Pension assets test (changes effective 1st July 2023)

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Note – If your assets are within the relevant thresholds for your situation, you be will entitled to a part pension.  Once assessable assets exceed the lower threshold, the pension reduces by $3 per fortnight ($78 p/a) for each $1,000 by which assessable assets exceed the lower threshold.  Essentially every $100,000 of assets reduces your pension by $7,800 p/a.  Once you exceed the cut-off limit, you are no longer eligible for the age pension.

Deeming rates

When you are being assessed for pension eligibility under the income test, a deeming rate is applied irrespective of the actual earning rates of these assets.  I discussed in the previous section (Income Test) some of the assets used for deeming.

Deeming rate changes (changes effective 1st July 2023

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Example – Bob is single and has investment assets of $300,000.  His deemed income would be as follows:

0.25% x $60,400 = $151

2.25% x $239,600 ($300 000 – $60,400) = $5,391 per annum

= $5,542 per annum or $213 per fortnight

Outcome – Bob’s deemed income is $213 per fortnight which means he is over the allowable $204 per fortnight threshold and therefore his pension payments reduce by 50c for each dollar over $204.

Figures have been sourced from-  https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/  and https://www.smh.com.au/money/super-and-retirement/the-big-pension-changes-coming-in-from-july-1-20230612-p5dfsz.html

Summary

  • To be eligible for the age pension you must meet the residency, income and assets test and be of pensionable age. If you exceed either the income test or assets test you are not eligible for the age pension.
  • The assets test has different thresholds depending on your relationship, health and homeowner status.
  • Assessing for eligibility for age pension can be very complicated so it is recommended you seek advice from a Services Australia professional. Visit https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/.
  • It is also recommended that you speak with your financial adviser at Hudson, so they can provide you with guidance and aid where they can throughout the process.

 

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