Along with your savings, government benefits, such as the Age Pension, Carer’s Allowance and Disability Support Pension, could be an important part of your retirement income, should you be eligible. This is why it’s a good idea to be aware of what payments you may be entitled to.
Super and the Age Pension
Around 65% of older Australians rely on a government pension or allowance as their main source of personal income at retirement.1
There’s no official retirement age in Australia, but generally you need to be between age 55 and 60 to start accessing your super with full access at 65. The Age Pension is also available from age 65 and this will gradually increase to age 67 in 2023, depending on when you were born.
Check out MoneySmart’s Super and pension age calculator to see when you can access your super savings and the Age Pension.
What else might you be entitled to?
- Low Income Health Care Card - If your gross income is less than $543 (as a single) or $939 (for a couple) each week, you may be eligible for a range of concessions including:
- medicines listed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
- bulk billing for doctor’s appointments
- more refunds for medical expenses through the Medicare Safety Net
- Seniors Card - Generally if you’re over 60 and work less than 20 hours per week, you can receive discounts at a range of commercial businesses and for some public services. Eligibility rules vary depending on where you live. Find out more depending on your home state or territory.
- Newstart Allowance - If you haven’t yet reached Age Pension age, you could be eligible for assistance. Under the Newstart Allowance, job seekers generally have to apply for jobs, train or study to qualify, but the Mutual Obligation Requirements are more flexible if you're 55 or older. You may be able to meet these requirements by doing some level of suitable paid work, self-employment or Centrelink-approved voluntary work—or a combination of these.
- Health Care Card - If you’re on Newstart Allowance, you’re also eligible for the Health Care Card, which provides a range of benefits.
- Carer payment/allowance - If you’ve had to reduce your work hours to care for a loved one, then you may be eligible for a carer payment or allowance.
- Pensioner Concession card - If you receive the Age Pension this card entitles you to reduced cost medicines under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, plus a range of other benefits. Depending on the state you live in, this could include reduced electricity and gas bills, property and water rates, public transport fares, and motor vehicle registration.
- Pension Loans - If you don’t receive, or only receive a part Age Pension due to your income or assets (but not both), you can use your real estate as security for a loan under the Pension Loans Scheme to generate an income.
- Work Bonus - If you’re working and receiving the Age Pension you could be entitled to a Work Bonus, which excludes up to $250 a fortnight of your pay from the Centrelink income test. This means you're able to keep more of your income, or work for short periods with little or no effect on your Age Pension.
- Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) - If you’re ineligible for the Age Pension due to the means test, you may be eligible for the CSHC, which provides a number of benefits.
- Pension Supplement - If you receive the Age Pension you’ll also receive up to $65.90 per fortnight for singles or $49.70 per fortnight for each member of a couple, paid quarterly.
- Energy Supplement - If you're eligible for an income support payment, including the Age Pension for example, you may receive up to $14.10 per fortnight for singles or $10.60 per fortnight for each member of a couple.
Like to know more?
- To make sure you’re on track for the retirement you want, check out our guide on preparing for retirement.
- You can also try our short online learning module about money and your retirement.
- Meanwhile, talk to your financial adviser who can help you make the most of what you’re entitled to. If you don’t have an adviser, our online tool can help you find one near you.
Once you know you have all your entitlements you’ll enjoy your retirement journey all the more.
Managing money in retirement
Our short online learning module gives you budgeting tips and ideas around how you might generate income when you stop work.
Taking your super as a lump sum might be tempting, but it won’t be the best option for everyone.