Your 2021 guide to age pension benefits
Most people know about the Pensioner Concession Card. If you’re a retiree and eligible for the Age Pension the card provides discounted health care, medicines, and public transport.
That’s a welcome perk for many people. But it’s only the tip of the iceberg. The Australian Government provides a variety of subsidies and services to help Australians enjoy a better retirement.
If you’ve never paid much attention you may be missing out. Especially since most Australians retire on some combination of the Age Pension and their super savings.
So, let’s take a closer look at what’s available, and what you may be able to claim.
Payments and subsidies
The Federal Government provides a range of pension benefits and payments via its Centrelink affiliated Services Australia program.
These are aimed at people who qualify for a part or full Age Pension. But even a self-funded retiree may become eligible if their financial position changes, and their income or assets fall below a certain threshold. At this point they may be eligible for a part-pension, which opens the door to other support services and a variety of subsidies.
That’s something a financial planner can assist with. In the meantime, these are the most common pension payments and supplements available.
The pension supplement is designed to help with utility, phone, internet and medical costs. For a couple this can be as high as $107 (combined) per fortnight.
If you pay rent and are on the Age Pension there’s a subsidy available. For a couple this can mean an additional $134 (combined) per fortnight.
If you provide additional daily care to someone, you may be eligible for a Carer Allowance each fortnight.
Aside from direct government payments and subsidies, there’s also a range of health care benefits that pensioners are entitled to.
The Medicare and PBS safety net aim to reduce and cap out of pocket medical expenses. There are also free vaccinations and annual health assessments available.
The Government's MoneySmart website provides a comprehensive overview.
Other support services
The Federal Government has introduce a number of measures to allow more flexibility when it comes to lifestyle and income in retirement.
If you receive the Age Pension or a Veterans Affairs Pension, the Work Bonus allows you to earn up to $300 a fortnight without impacting your Centrelink payment.
Pension Loans Scheme
The Pension Loans Scheme allows you to apply for loan that can be used to top-up your Age Pension payments. These additional payments are tax free, however, you need to own a property to be eligible.
You will have to pay interest on the loan and there are costs involved in both starting and exiting the loan. Getting professional advice is very important.
Downsizer Contribution Scheme
If you’re 65 or older and you sell your family home, you can contribute up to $300,000 (per person) towards your superannuation. Downsizer Contribution Scheme program is primarily aimed at retirees and designed to help you increase your super savings by freeing up some of the equity you have if you decide to downsize and sell the family home.
Help at home
The Help at Home Scheme is designed to keep retirees in their home and independent. It provides government subsidies to pay for at-home services. This might be anything from help with the gardening and shopping to meal prep or physiotherapy.
Retirement on suit your lifestyle
Everyone’s idea of retirement is different. Government support services are designed to provide you with the flexibility to retire on your own terms.
Whether you’re on a full or part Age Pension, there are government services to help support you throughout retirement.
The list above is a good starting point, but you should seek advice from a financial planner who can help you navigate these government services. You can also find helpful information on the Government's Services Australia website.
Authorised by Togethr Trustees Pty Ltd (ABN 64 006 964 049; AFSL 246383) ('Trustee') the trustee of the Equipsuper Superannuation Fund (ABN 33 813 823 017). MyLife MyPension is a division of the Equipsuper Superannuation Fund (ABN 33 813 823 017). Financial advice services may be provided to members by the trustee's related entity.
Togethr Financial Planning Pty Ltd (ABN 84 124 491 078; AFSL 455010). The information contained herein is general information only. It has been prepared without taking into account your personal investment objectives, financial situation, or needs. It is not intended to be, and should not be, construed in any way as investment, legal or financial advice. Please consider your personal position, objectives, and requirements before taking any action. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.
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