Age Pension and Government Benefits for Retirees

When you retire, you might be eligible to receive government benefits such as the Age Pension or a concession card.
This type of pension and benefits you are entitled to generally will depend on your age, assets and your income.

Age Pension

In most cases, to be eligible for the Age Pension, you must:
1.    be age 66 or over, depending on when you were born
2.    be an Australian resident and have lived in Australia for at least 10 years
3.    meet the income and asset tests

Income and Assets Tests

These tests measure your income (how much money you get) and the value of your assets (what you own, for example, any investment properties).
If your income or assets are above certain limits, your pension payment will be reduced, or you may not be eligible at all.
Your income includes money from:
1.    employment
2.    pensions
3.    annuities
4.    investments
5.    earnings outside Australia
6.    salary packaging
Your assets include things like:
1.    investment properties
2.    caravans, cars and boats
3.    business assets
Your family home, if you live in it, isn't counted as an asset. However, if you decide to sell, it could affect your pension.
If you have any assets overseas, their value will be converted into the equivalent Australian dollar amount.

How Much Money Does the Age Pension Pay?

How much you get depends on your income and assets tests, and whether you're single or in a couple.
The maximum Age Pension for:
1.    singles are $868.30 a fortnight or $22,575 a year
2.    couples are $1,309.00 a fortnight or $34,034 a year
These payments do not include any supplements.

Age Pension Benefits

If you get the Age Pension, you may be eligible for other, related benefits:
1.    Centrepay – a free direct bill paying service available as a regular deduction from your Centrelink Payments.
2.    Work Bonus - a payment that helps you earn more without reducing your pension.
3.    Pensioner Concession Cards – See below

Concession Cards

The following cards provide seniors, retirees and pensioners with discounts on things like health care, transport and utilities.

Pensioner Concession Card

Gives you access to cheaper utility and medical bills, and discounts on public transport in some states. You must:
1.    be aged 60 or over, and
2.    get the Age Pension or other payments from Centrelink

Senior Cards

Offers a discount on public transport and some goods and services. Generally, you must:
1.    be aged 60 or over, and
2.    work less than 20 hours per week

Commonwealth Seniors Health Card

Gets you cheaper prescriptions and medical appointments. You must:
1.    be of Age Pension age,
2.    meet an income test, and
3.    not receive Centrelink payments

Government Loans

If you are on or qualify for the Age Pension, you might be eligible for Services Australia loans:
1.    Pension Loans Scheme – use real estate as security for a fortnightly loan to top up your retirement income.
2.    Advance Payment - get part of your pension payment in advance to help cover immediate expenses.

Health Care Benefits

1.    Medicare Safety Net - reduces your out-of-pocket expenses for seeing doctors after you've spent a certain amount.
2.    PBS Safety Net - helps you pay less for medicines after you've reached a certain amount.
3.    Free Vaccinations - free vaccinations for flu and pneumococcal disease.
4.    Cancer Screening - free early detection screenings for breast cancer and bowel cancer.
5.    Free Annual Health Assessment - if you're 75 or over (or 55 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples). If your doctor doesn't bulk bill, you may have to pay the gap. Ask your GP.
6.    Free home medication review - help with using medicines at home if you use more than 5 medications per day. Ask your GP or pharmacist.

Age Pension and Government Benefits for Retirees