Centrelink can be daunting at times, however there are strategies than can help you increase the benefits available to you.
Increasing Benefits Received
Centrelink benefits are determined by an Asset and Income test and certain assets receive favourable treatment. For example, superannuation benefits prior to pension age are exempt from both the asset and income test, whilst some annuities and account based (allocated) pensions may receive favourable treatment under the income test.
Dependant on your circumstances, simply restructuring investments may assist with increasing or obtaining Centrelink benefits. We recommend that this area be addressed prior to retirement.
Eligibility - Age Pension
To qualify for Age Pension, you must first satisfy the age and residence requirements. Centrelink then works out how much Age Pension is payable. This depends on your income and assets and other circumstances.
If you are legally blind, you may be eligible for Age Pension (Blind), which usually has no income or assets test.
Age Pension Age
From 1 July 2017, the qualifying age for Age Pension will increase from 65 to 65.5 years. The qualifying age for Age Pension will then rise by 6 months every 2 years, reaching 67 by 1 July 2023.