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The lower assets and income threshold for age pension means testing increased on July 1, 2018. This means there will be more Australians entitled to the maximum age pension. Our financial expert Justin Cilmi explains.

As a result of the lower threshold increase, there is an increase in the upper assets and income threshold, which will result in a number of older Australians being eligible for even a small age pension.

So why the interest in a small age pension? With an eligibility of even $1 of age pension, you will automatically receive the Pensioner Concession Card, which entitles the holder to a number of concessions that are not available to holders of the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, being the card give to most self-funded retirees.

What are the Asset Test Threshold Changes?

Age Pension assets test – to access the maximum Age Pension (effective 20 September 2018 to 19 March 2019)
Home-owner
Non-Home-owner
Single
$258,500 $465,500
Couple (combined)
$387,500 $594,500
Couple (separated due to illness) (combined)
$387,500 $594,500

Source: Department of Social Services for assets test thresholds for maximum Age Pension entitlement. The assets test thresholds for maximum Age Pension is adjusted 1 July each year.

 

Age Pension assets test – Age Pension Cut Out (effective 20 September 2018 to 19 March 2019)
Home-owner
Non-Home-owner
Single
$561,250 $768,250
Couple (combined)
$844,000 $1,051,000
Couple (separated due to illness) (combined)
$993,000 $1,200,000

Source: Department of Social Services.

Age Pension Income test (effective 20 September 2018 to 19 March 2019)
For full pension (per fortnight)
For part pension (per fortnight)
Single
Up to $172 Less than $1,987.20
Couple (combined)
Up to $304 Less than $3,040.40
Couple (separated due to illness) (combined)
Up to $304 Less than $3,934.40

Source: DSS (Department of Social Services).

Difference in concession cards?

So, with the changes in the asset test thresholds, you may now be eligible for a small age pension, which will mean being issued the Pensioner Concession Card (PCC). Some of the additional concessions provided to holders of the PCC include:

  • Electricity and Gas rebates
  • Local Government rates rebates
  • Taxi and public transport concessions
  • Motor Vehicle registration

 

Some concessions are provided by Federal Government and others by State governments. So check what your home state concessions are by searching “concessions” on your home State’s government website. We have an outline of the some of the main Queensland discounts, concessions and rebates here.

In reality, a small age pension entitlement could actually be worth one or two thousand dollars per year when you add in the concessions gained.

 

Maximum age pension payment rates

From September 20, 2018, the maximum payment rates that apply will be:

 
PRIOR Sept 20 2018
POST Sept 20 2018
Increase
 
Single
$907.60 / fortnight $916.30 / fortnight $8.70 / fortnight
 
Couple (each)
$684.10 / fortnight $690.70 / fortnight $6.60 / fortnight

Important Note: The information provided about is in intended as a guide only. It is important to seek professional accredited financial advice when considering whether the information is suitable to your personal circumstances

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Justin Cilmi
Justin joined the financial planning industry in 2001 and is committed to providing practical and effective solutions for his clients. As a financial adviser, Justin has provided advice to clients across a wide range of areas, including wealth creation, wealth protection and personal insurance, redundancy, retirement and Centrelink and Aged Care planning. Justin’s qualifications include a  Bachelor of Commerce (Majoring in Finance and Economics), a Graduate Certificate in Applied Finance, an Advanced Diploma of Financial Planning and holds a specialist accreditation in Self Managed Superannuation Funds. Justin is also a member of the Financial Planning Association of Australia, holding a Financial Planner AFP® accreditation.