A part age pension

Every little bit helps

EFFIE ZAHOS

Thanks to an increase in the upper asset thresholds for the age pension, more Aussies may now be eligible for a part pension. This is particularly relevant to self-funded retirees who have been borderline candidates for government assistance.

But the catch is that if you’re not on Centrelink’s books and you do become entitled to age pension benefits, it’s up to you to apply. The longer you leave it the more cash you miss out on, as entitlements won’t be backdated.

Eligibility for the age pension is worked out by taking into account how much income you get (the income test) and how much your assets are worth (the assets test). The test that results in the lower pension rate will be applied.

A single person can now own up to $730,500 in assets (excluding his or her home) and still receive a small part age pension, while a couple can have up to $1.086 million in assets (excluding the family home) and still receive a small part age pension.

Limits do change, so it’s always worth checking whether you’re eligible. The best time to do this is in March and September when payments are increased.

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