Age Pension and government benefits

When you retire, you may be eligible for government benefits such as the Age Pension or a concession card.

The kind of pension and benefits you’re entitled to generally depends on your age, assets and income.

Proposed changes to some payments and support were announced in the 2020 federal budget. This content does not reflect those announcements yet.

Age Pension

Generally, to be eligible for the Age Pension, you must:

  • be age 66 or over, depending on when you were born

  • be an Australian resident and have lived in Australia for at least 10 years

  • 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:

  • employment

  • pensions

  • annuities

  • investments

  • earnings outside Australia

  • salary packaging

See income test for pensions on the Services Australia website.

Your assets include things like:

  • investment properties

  • caravans, cars and boats

  • 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.

See assets on the Services Australia website.

To talk to someone about the Age Pension income and assets tests, contact the Services Australia Financial Information Service.

How much the Age Pension pays

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:

  • singles is $860.60 a fortnight or $22,375 a year

  • couples is $1,297.40 a fortnight or $33,732 a year

These amounts do not include any supplements.

See Age Pension on the Services Australia website for more information.

Age Pension benefits

If you get the Age Pension, you may be eligible for other, related benefits:

  • Centrepay — a free direct bill paying service available as a regular deduction from your Centrelink payments.

  • Work Bonus — a payment that helps you earn more without reducing your pension.

  • Pensioner Concession Card — see Concession cards, below.

Other types of pensions

For information about veterans pensions, see income support on the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) website.

For other types of payments, including carers allowance, use Centrelink’s Payment finder.

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:

  • be aged 60 or over, and

  • get the Age Pension or other payments from Centrelink

See Pensioner Concession Card on the Services Australia website.

Seniors cards

Offers a discount on public transport and some goods and services. Generally, you must:

  • be aged 60 or over, and

  • work less than 20 hours per week

Check eligibility in your state or territory:

Commonwealth Seniors Health Card

Gets you cheaper prescriptions and medical appointments. You must:

  • be of Age Pension age,

  • meet an income test, and

  • not receive Centrelink payments

See Commonwealth Seniors Health Card on the Services Australia website.

Government loans

If you’re on or qualify for the Age Pension, you may be eligible for Services Australia loans:

  • Pension Loans Scheme — use real estate as security for a fortnightly loan to top up your retirement income.

  • Advance payment — get part of your pension payment in advance to help cover immediate expenses.

Health care benefits

These government benefits can help you save on your health expenses.

  • Medicare Safety Net — reduces your out-of-pocket expenses for seeing doctors after you’ve spent a certain amount.

  • PBS Safety Net — helps you pay less for medicines after you’ve reached a certain amount.

  • Free vaccinations — free vaccinations for flu and pneumococcal disease.

  • Cancer screening — free early detection screenings for breast cancer and bowel cancer.

  • 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.

  • Free home medication review — help with using medicines at home if you use more than 5 medications per day. Ask your GP or pharmacist.

Tax offsets

You may be eligible for additional tax offsets, depending on your:

  • age

  • income, and

  • eligibility for government pensions

See seniors and pensioners tax offset on the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website.

Low cost banking

If you have a Pensioner Concession Card or Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, you may be eligible for a low cost, basic bank account.

See reducing fees on the Australian Banking Association (ABA) website.


Case Study 

Lorenzo and Sophia apply for the Age Pension

Lorenzo and Sophia have both reached retirement age. They provide their tax returns and bank and financial statements to Centrelink for assessment. Their combined assets are worth $200,000 and their joint income is $45,000 a year. Their assets are modest, so they don’t affect their pension. However, as their joint income exceeds the minimum, they will only receive a part pension.

Source : Moneysmart 

Reproduced with the permission of ASIC’s MoneySmart Team. This article was originally published at

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