After working hard for so many years, naturally you want your retirement to be as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. That’s why it’s worth knowing which types of government support you may be entitled to when you’re transitioning into this new phase of life.
If you’ve been putting money into super throughout your working years, this is likely to be your main source of income when you retire. However, you might also be able to access other allowances and concessions that can help you reduce your living costs.
And let’s face it – when you’re a retiree, every dollar counts. With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the main government benefits on offer.
Once you reach age pension age (between 65 and 67 depending on your date of birth), you can apply for the Age Pension if your income and assets don’t exceed certain levels. Depending on your financial situation, you could be eligible to receive a full or partial Age Pension from the federal government.
There are different income and assets test thresholds for singles and couples, as well as for homeowners and non-homeowners under the assets test.
Under the assets test, if the value of your assets (not including your home) is below the lower threshold, you could receive a full pension – and if it’s between the two thresholds you may be eligible for a partial pension. However, if you’re above the upper threshold, you won’t receive any pension at all.
These thresholds are currently:
Your income (eg. if you’re still working) may also reduce the value of your pension. As a single pensioner, you can earn up to $168 a fortnight without it affecting your pension entitlement.
A couple can earn a combined fortnightly income of $300. Every dollar you earn above these thresholds will reduce your fortnightly pension by 50 cents.
Your age pension is the lower of the assets test and income test calculation.
On top of the Age Pension, you may also be able to access additional government payments, such as:
Affordable health care
Even if you’re not eligible for the Age Pension upon reaching age pension age, you can still get a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card – as long as your annual income is less than $53,799 for singles and $86,076 for couples.
This card offers reduced cost medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, bulk billing for doctor’s appointments and cheaper out of hospital medical expenses through the Medicare safety net.
Other discounts and concessions for seniors
You can apply for a Seniors Card once you reach 60 (or 65 for Queenslanders), as long as you’re working the required number of hours a week and you’re a permanent resident of your state. With your Seniors Card, you’ll get exclusive offers and significant discounts on a range of different services, as well as holidays and entertainment.
Different businesses in each state offer Seniors Card discounts. To find out what you’re eligible for, check the government website for your state or territory, or look for the Seniors Card sign in stores.
Additionally, if you’re receiving the Age Pension or another government allowance, you may also qualify for a Pensioner Concession Card. This card provides lower cost medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, bulk billing for doctor’s appointments, cheaper out of hospital medical expenses through the Medicare safety net and assistance with hearing services. In addition, this card allows you to access many state based concessions.
These are just a few of the many benefits available – but the eligibility requirements are different for each one.
To find out more, please contact us.
“Capstone made everything so easy by providing all the templates and support we need which makes me feel comfortable that I am in good hands with my licensee. I would highly recommend Capstone to any fellow Accountant."
Hillyer Riches Accountants
“We have gained assistance with transitioning to the new regulatory environment and provided a new service of strategic financial planning. Capstone have been of tremendous value in assisting with this transition."
“I would recommend Capstone to any accountant seeking to become licenced within the financial services industry. Their personal service and support to me and my firm has been exceptional."
“I joined Capstone Financial Planning in 2003 as I was looking for a Group that could offer a high level of independence and freedom that came from not being institutionally owned."
Willow Wealth Management
“Compliance support and feedback is crucial to our business. The Capstone team are always there to assist us in improving and providing best advice and best practice standards. Their input is always positive and constructive."
Nicholson Financial Planning
“I would happily recommend Capstone as a licensee to other advisers. The Capstone staff are friendly, knowledgeable, and professional, and they are genuinely committed to meeting their advisers' needs. I feel very secure in the knowledge that I have Capstone backing my business.”
Acquire Strategic Advisers
“Capstone’s support has been exceptional and consistent from the time our business made the transition. Capstone is continually trying to enhance their service offerings to their advisers, at both the higher level, and more specific lower levels within our business. They are an exceptional licensee and lead from the front.”
“I can highly recommend Capstone for planners seeking an independent licensee that’s not in your face but provide quality support services. Their service and support is second to none and has allowed us to concentrate on providing our clients with a premium level of service.”
“Having been with Capstone for a number of years, one thing that really stands out is their willingness to help and can do attitude. These are qualities we really appreciate.”