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Help With Age Pension Application: A Comprehensive Guide

September 14, 2021

Help With Age Pension Application: A Comprehensive Guide

Ready to apply for the Age Pension but not sure where to start? We’re here to do whatever we can, to make the application process as smooth and easy as possible.

If you’d like help with your pension application, we’ll fill in the application for you, looking after paperwork requirements and communications with Centrelink. We’ll make sure you receive the correct pension, avoiding any Centrelink debts and stress, while making sure you receive the maximum amount to which you’re entitled. If there are any other Centrelink benefits you may be eligible for, including Disability Support and Jobseeker, we’ll help with your pension application, while getting you on track with these benefits. Once you’ve been approved for the Age Pension, we’ll manage all future interactions with Centrelink, supplying any further paperwork required.

We also help a lot of people organise a Low Income Health Care Card when they retire, even if they don’t qualify for Age Pension. This card enables you to access discounts on medication, car registration, utilities etc.

The process can seem overwhelming which is why you may choose to get some help with your pension application. Here’s our guide to make sure you get everything you’re entitled to in a quick, easy process.

How to Apply for the Age Pension

Ready to apply for the Age Pension? You may be aware that the application process can be long and arduous. In this article, we’ve put together all our top tips on making your Age Pension application as quick and easy as possible, and to make sure you receive the maximum amount that you’re entitled to.

The Age Pension is vital for those who are retired, or semi-retired and is an important source of income. Our aim is to help with your pension application and maintenance, making the process easier, to enable you to receive your payments as soon as possible. If you’re not eligible for Age Pension, you may still be eligible for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, which gives you access to cheaper medicine under the PBS, as well as a bigger refund for medical costs when you reach the Medicare Safety Net, and bulk billed doctor visits.

According to Retirement Essentials, people are waiting to apply for the Age Pension for around 3.2 years, which costs them around $69,000 in Age Pension payments.

You have two options when you are ready to apply for the Age Pension. You can go through Centrelink directly, or you can employ the services of a professional (such as Aurora Wealth) to take care of the process for you.

Our aim is to help with the pension application process by explaining everything here, so you can make an informed choice. It’s important to note that the Age Pension is not able to be backdated, so it’s important to file your application as soon as possible, to avoid missing out on payments.

Once you’ve been approved and are receiving your Age Pension payments, there are a few things to keep in mind, to help make sure you will continue receiving these payments for the long run.

What is the Age Pension?

Age Pension is an income support for older Australians. Eligibility depends on age and residency requirements and is subject to a means test. While it is designed to provide income support to older Australians who qualify, it also aims to encourage pensioners to maximise their overall incomes. The Age Pension payments are indexed, which means they are regularly updated to match Australian cost of living and wage increases.

Am I Eligible for the Age Pension?

There are a few factors which help Centrelink determine your eligibility for the Age Pension. These include your birth date, residency, existing income and assets and employment status.

Am I old enough for the Age Pension?

The age of eligibility for Age Pension ranges between 65 and 67, according to your birth date.

Period within which a person was born Pension age Date pension age changes
From 1 July 1952 to 31 December 1953 65 years and 6 months 1 July 2017
From 1 January 1954 to 30 June 1955 66 years 1 July 2019
From 1 July 1955 to 31 December 1956 66 years and 6 months 1 July 2021
From 1 January 1957 onwards 67 years 1 July 2023

Source: Department of Social Services

Do I have the correct residence requirements for the Age Pension?

You must be an Australian resident, living in Australia on a permanent basis when the claim for the Age Pension is lodged.

You must also satisfy at least one of the following requirements:

  • You must have been an Australian resident for at least 10 years (with at least five of these years in a block).
  • You must be a woman who was widowed in Australia. You and your late partner must have been Australian residents, having lived in Australia for 104 weeks in the leadup to your claim.
  • You must have a qualifying residence exemption.
  • You must be receiving Widow B Pension, Widow Allowance or Partner Allowance immediately before reaching pension age.

Source: Department of Social Services

What does the Age Pension means test involve?

The Age Pension requires applicants to undertake an income and assets tests. Accordingly, payments are made according to the test which produces the lowest rate.

Centrelink uses ‘deeming’ as part of this assessment process. For more information on deeming, visit the Department of Human Services.

Can I still work if I’m receiving the Age Pension?

As an incentive for Age Pensioners to continue to work, Centrelink offers a Work Bonus, which allows them to maintain more of their pension, despite receiving an income from work.

Accordingly, the first $300 income per fortnight is not assessed as income, by the pension income test. Additionally, anything unused of the $300 per fortnight will be accrued in a Work Bonus income bank, to a maximum of $7800. This can be used to offset future work income, which would otherwise be impacted by the pension income test. For more information on Work Bonus, see the Work Bonus factsheet.

How soon can I apply for the Age Pension?

You can claim the Age Pension up to 13 weeks before you reach your Age Pension age. Because your payments will not be backdated, it’s best to complete your application as soon as possible. If you’re already receiving payments from Centrelink, they’ll alert you when you can apply and will let you know what you need to do to apply to transfer to Age Pension. If you need help with your pension application, contact us anytime!

If I sell my home will it impact my Age Pension?

If you choose to sell your home, it won’t be included in your assets tests. You’re free to use the profits from the sale of your home to build, renovate or buy another home, anytime throughout the next 12 months. Nevertheless, the profits are ‘deemed’ in the income test, as they are seen as income which may impact your benefit.

If you’re unsure of what to do with your home or investment properties, feel free to call us at any time to discuss your options.

If my claim is rejected, can I reapply?

If your situation has changed since your last rejected application, you can reapply. There are no limits on the amount of times you apply for the Age Pension.

Does my relationship status impact the Age Pension?

If you’re in a relationship, it may impact the way you apply for Age Pension. Read more about Centrelink’s relationship guidelines here: https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/age-pension/how-much-you-can-get/your-relationship-status or call us if you’re unsure what to do in your situation.

Maximising the Age Pension

There are a few things you can do to maximise your Age Pension payments:

  • Consider whether you or your partner may be eligible for Jobseeker?
  • Consider whether you or your partner may be eligible for Disability Support?
  • There’s a chance you may be eligible for the Low Income Health Care Card, whether or not you’re receiving the Age Pension.

If you’re unsure about any of these options, feel free to contact us anytime to discuss your situation.

Maintaining the Age Pension

Receiving the Age Pension does require some maintenance. You’ll need to manage ongoing interactions with Centrelink who will occasionally ask for updates. They may even audit your benefits from time to time.

While this is nothing to worry about, it can be helpful to have someone manage this for you – which is what we’re here for. If you’re concerned about being overpaid and ending up with a Centrelink debt, we’ll help with your pension application, making sure you’re receiving the correct amount, to avoid this stressful and expensive situation.

We understand that Centrelink communication and application processes can seem intimidating and somewhat confusing so we make sure our clients understand what’s happening every step of the way – while we do the heavy lifting, making sure everything is up to date and correct at all times.

Need Help with Your Pension Application?

If you need help with your Age Pension application, we’re here for you!

Aurora Wealth will…

  • Explain the application process to you
  • Help with pension application, filling out necessary forms
  • Simplify confusing terminology
  • Answer your questions
  • Simplify the age pension asset test and income test, so you know how it all works
  • Explain the thresholds, so you can claim the maximum rate of pension, while making the most of pension rates and pension cutoff limits
  • Make sure that you receive the Pensioner Concession Card if eligible. This enables you to receive discounts on utility bills, medicine, rates, car registration and public transport
  • Help you access the correct information through Centrelink, ensuring that when you apply for the age pension, all information is reported accurately, ruling out any possibility of accidentally accruing a Centrelink debt
  • Communicate with Centrelink on your behalf, once we’ve been allocated as your Centrelink nominee. Read about this here
  • Receive Centrelink correspondence, letters, communications and phone calls on your behalf.
  • Maintain your information with Centrelink, ensuring it is always up to date, avoiding overpayment and debt
  • Keep you updated with the latest Age Pension information and rate charts, so you’re aware of any rate increases, income and asset test threshold adjustments or changes to legislation
  • Simplify the reporting process, notifying you of any changes in your circumstances which may need to be reported

We’re here to help with your pension application or in whatever way we can. We understand that dealing directly with Centrelink can be stressful, confusing and time consuming so we do everything we can to take the stress away, when you apply for the Age Pension. We also help people who are acting on behalf of their parents or grandparents as a Power of Attorney. Whatever you may need, we’re here to help!

Call us on 03 8782 3745 or message us here to get started with a Discovery Call.

Further info: https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/age-pension/who-can-get-it

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