SRS Supported Residential Service private guest house

SRS Supported Residential Service private guest house SRS Supported Residential Service private guest house by Christine Hopper Living in a SRS Supported Residential Service private guest house is an alternative to residential aged care. Each SRS Supported Residential Service private guest house is independently owned and operated. Accommodation and housekeeping in a SRS Supported Residential[…]

Residential aged care subsidies

Residential aged care subsidies by Christine Hopper Residential aged care subsidies Residential aged care subsidies are paid to Commonwealth regulated aged care facilities to help with the costs of personal support and nursing care for residents. Residential aged care subsidies for real care costs Seniors are only allowed into Commonwealth regulated aged care facilities if they[…]

Age Pension means test allowance increase July 2017

Age Pension means test allowance increase July 2017 by Christine Hopper Age Pension means test allowance increase July 2017 The Pension Allowances are the starting points for the Income Test and Assets Test that can reduce the amount of DSP or Age Pension actually payable. Pension Allowance amounts increased slightly on 1 July 2017. This means[…]

Retirement village entry independent financial advice

Retirement village entry independent financial advice by Christine Hopper Why retirement village entry independent financial advice Wise seniors buy retirement village entry independent financial advice as part of their consideration of moving into a retirement lifestyle community village. Buying into a retirement lifestyle community village involves buying the right to occupy a residence and participate[…]

Means tested aged care fees

Means tested aged care fees Means tested aged care fees by Christine Hopper Australians pay means tested aged care fees as a contribution to the costs of their personal care and support. Means tested aged care fees apply to residents of Commonwealth regulated aged care facilities. Seniors and people with disabilities who live in the[…]

Help to stay at home

Help to stay at home by Christine Hopper Help to stay at home Help to stay at home is fantastic if your spouse is with you and the domestic services are superb. Alas life can be lonely if you have help to stay at home but you are too frail to go out alone. So[…]

Confirming identity at Centrelink

Confirming your identity at Centrelink by Christine Hopper Confirming your identity at Centrelink Without any fanfare Centrelink have tightened their process for confirming the identity of customers. Who is subject to the new ‘confirming your identity‘ process? The new confirming your identity at Centrelink process is applied to both new customers and any existing Centrelink[…]

Disability Support and Age Pension Increases March 2017

Disability Support and Age Pension Increases March 2017   by Christine Hopper The Commonwealth granted Centrelink Disability Support and Age Pension increases on 20 March 2017.  DVA Pension and Income Support Supplement rates also increased from 20 March 2017. Disability Pensions and Age Pensions increases 20 March 2017 for Single Pensioners. The new maximum total payment[…]

Aged care residents renting former homes

Aged care residents renting former homes   by Christine Hopper Closing homeowner extension for aged care residents renting former homes Small changes in Social Security legislation impact new aged care residents renting former homes. The changes mean that as from 2017, new aged care residents renting former homes will have the net rental income counted[…]

Pension Asset Test Exempt Assets

Pension Asset Test Exempt Assets by Christine Hopper Pension Asset Test Exempt Assets Your Pension Asset Test Exempt Assets are not counted in your Age Pension Assessable Assets. Remember, your Age Pension entitlement is reduced if your Age Pension Assessable Assets exceed the Asset Test Allowance. At Centrelink, Age Pension Assessable Assets include all that[…]

Age Pension Assessable Assets

Age Pension Assessable Assets By Christine Hopper Your Age Pension entitlement is reduced if your Age Pension Assessable Assets exceed the Asset Test Allowance. At Centrelink, Age Pension Assessable Assets include all that you clearly own together with items that you own indirectly. The Age Pension Assets Test is changing from January 2017. Seniors losing[…]

January 2017 Pension Asset Test changes

January 2017 Pension Asset Test changes by Christine Hopper The January 2017 Pension Asset Test changes include new higher Asset Test Allowances and a higher taper rate. As a result of the January 2017 Pension Asset Test changes some Pensioners could get a higher Pension payment.  But some Pension payment rates will be reduced following[…]

Disability Support and Age Pension Increase September 2016

Disability Support and Age Pension Increase September 2016 by Christine Hopper The Commonwealth granted Centrelink Disability Support and Age Pension increases on 20 September 2016.  DVA Pension and Income Support Supplement also increases from 20 September 2016. The full rates of income support Pension benefits increased by 0.4%. The Age Pension related daily care fees for[…]

Commonwealth Seniors Health Card Income Test

Commonwealth Seniors Health Card Income Test   by Christine Hopper The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card is available to Australians who have attained Age Pension Age and satisfy the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card Income Test. There is no Assets test for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card only an Income Test. Commonwealth Seniors Health Card Income Test The[…]

My aged care independent financial advice

My aged care independent financial advice by Christine Hopper My aged care independent financial advice need My aged care independent financial advice need arose when my family tried to understand my potential aged care costs.  I need residential aged care before I have another nasty fall at home. Whilst I own my home, I have[…]

Disability Support Pension Eligibility

Disability Support Pension Eligibility By Christine Hopper Disability Support Pension Eligibility criteria are set out in Australian Social Security legislation. The Disability Support Pension Eligibility rules ensure that permanent Australian residents who are unable to work because of a physical, intellectual or psychiatric impairment could receive income support from the community. Disability Support Pension Eligibility[…]

Aged care fee July 2016 change

Aged care fee July 2016 change by Christine Hopper Aged care fee July 2016 change An aged care fee July 2016 change occurred to reflect the annual “indexation” of Age Pension Allowances and the Commonwealth’s payment of aged care costs. Means tested aged care fee July 2016 change The Means tested Aged care fee July[…]

Age Pension means test allowance increase July 2016

Age Pension means test allowance increase July 2016   by Christine Hopper Age Pension means test allowance increase July 2016 The Pension Allowances are the starting points for the Income Test and Assets Test that can reduce the amount of DSP or Age Pension actually payable. Pension Allowance amounts increased slightly on 1 July 2016.[…]

Granny flat agreement

Granny flat agreement by Christine Hopper If Mum sells her home and lives with us do we need to have a formal granny flat agreement? If Mum sells her home and lives with us a written granny flat agreement could avoid misunderstandings later. Granny flat agreement ingoing payments specified in the granny flat agreement. If[…]

Granny flat housing payments

Granny flat housing payments   by Christine Hopper Granny flat housing payments, if Mum sells her home and lives with us, can she pay us? If Mum sells her home and lives with us then we could be considered to have entered a ‘granny flat arrangement’. Special rules apply to Pensioners who live in granny[…]

Telephone call to Centrelink

Telephone call to Centrelink on 132 300 for seniors by Christine Hopper If you really need to talk to a Centrelink officer or make an appointment with the Financial Information Service then a telephone call to Centrelink might help you.  Before you make that telephone call to Centrelink be sure to have your CRN handy.[…]

Disability Support and Age Pension Increases 20 March 2016

Disability Support and Age Pension Increases 20 March 2016 by Christine Hopper The Commonwealth granted Centrelink Disability Support and Age Pension increases on 20 March 2016.  DVA Pension and Income Support Supplement also increases from 20 March 2016. The full rates of income support Pension benefits increased by 0.8%. The Age Pension related daily care fees[…]

If Mum lives with us does she keep her Pension as a Granny flat Pensioner

If Mum lives with us does she keep her Pension as a Granny flat Pensioner ? by Christine Hopper Sue asks, “If Mum lives with us does she keep her Pension, can she continue as a Granny flat Pensioner ?” Many years ago Sue promised Dad that they would never put Mum into an “old[…]

Lifestyle community accommodation

Lifestyle community accommodation by Christine Hopper Retirees are choosing to live in lifestyle community accommodation rather than stay on in the family home. But what type of housing is available in a lifestyle community. Lifestyle community accommodation includes any separate ‘community’ of individual independent living residences. Older lifestyle communities were known as retirement villages with[…]

Low Means Aged Care Resident Accommodation Contribution

Low Means Aged Care Resident Accommodation Contribution by Christine Hopper Low Means Aged Care Resident Accommodation Contribution The Low Means aged care resident Accommodation Contribution applies to new residents who are assessed as Low Means on entry to Commonwealth regulated permanent residential aged care. A Low Means aged care resident can only be asked to[…]

MyPost Concession Postage

MyPost Concession Postage by Christine Hopper In January, 2016 Australia Post increased postage prices except for the MyPost Concession Postage customers.  At the same time, the delivery schedule for the new “regular” service became at least one business day slower than the 2015 standard delivery schedule. Yes your letter could go as fast as the[…]

Disability Support Pension Eligibility

Social Security customer notification forms

Social Security customer notification forms   by Christine Hopper Social Security customer notification forms Social Security customer notifications are an essential part of the means testing system for income support benefits and health care cards. Centrelink administer the Australian Social Security arrangements. Centrelink pays income support and issues the associated health care concession caeds only[…]

Aged care means test rental income exemption closure

Aged care means test rental income exemption closure by Christine Hopper Aged care means test rental income exemption The aged care means test exemption has allowed for permanent residents of Commonwealth regulated aged care facilities to have the rental income from their former homes excluded from the Centrelink income tests. This exemption will continue to[…]

Commonwealth regulated aged care Means Tested Care fees

Commonwealth regulated aged care Means Tested Care fees by Christine Hopper All aged care residents pay a Basic Daily fee for housekeeping costs and most permanent residents are charged some accommodation costs. In addition, permanent aged care residents with significant levels of assets and/or income are expected to contribute to the costs of their personal[…]

Commonwealth Seniors Health Card Income Test

Commonwealth Seniors Health Card

Commonwealth Seniors Health Card   by Christine Hopper Benefits of Commonwealth Seniors Health Card The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card provides discounts on Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) prescription medicines. Holders of the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card are entitled to the Pensioner Concession rate of charges for PBS medications and the Concession levels of Medicare Safety Net.[…]

Lifestyle community retirement village costs

Lifestyle community retirement village costs by Christine Hopper Lifestyle community retirement village costs Moving to a lifestyle community retirement village is an opportunity for a new lifestyle. But what are the actual Lifestyle community retirement village costs. Every lifestyle community retirement village costs are specific to that facility. You expect your chosen lifestyle community retirement[…]

Aged Care fees increases 20 September 2015

Aged Care fees increases 20 September 2015   by Christine Hopper Basic Daily Aged Care fees increases 20 September 2015 All residents of Commonwealth regulated residential aged care are asked to pay a Basic Daily fee. You could think of the Basic Daily fee as covering the costs of running any home such as meals, laundry,[…]

Disability Support and Age Pension Increase September 2015

Disability Support and Age Pension Increase September 2015 by Christine Hopper The Commonwealth granted Centrelink Disability Support and Age Pension increases on 20 September 2015.  DVA Pension and Income Support Supplement also increases from 20 September 2015. The full rates of income support Pension benefits increased by 0.8%. The Age Pension related daily care fees for[…]

Disability Support Pension Eligibility

Deemed financial income calculation

Deemed financial income calculation   by Christine Hopper Centrelink and DVA pension income tests use your deemed financial income rather than your actual income form financial assets. What is the formula for the deemed financial income calculation? Interest rates in the deemed financial income calculation Two interest rates are prescribed for the deemed financial income[…]

July 2015 changes in means tested aged care fees

July 2015 changes in means tested aged care fees by Christine Hopper Careful readers of aged care invoices could notice a small reduction in the means tested care fees from July 2015.  The July 2015 changes in means tested aged care fees reflect small increases in the Age Pension means test allowances. July 2015 changes[…]

Centrelink Pension Allowance Increase July 2015

Centrelink Pension Allowance Increase July 2015 by Christine Hopper The Centrelink Pension Allowances are the starting points for the Income Test and Assets Test that can reduce the amount of DSP or Age Pension actually payable. Centrelink Pension Allowance amounts increased on 1 July 2015. This means that a Centrelink Pensioner could have more Income and[…]

Age Pensioner financial assets for income deeming

Age Pensioner financial assets for income deeming   by Christine Hopper Why define Centrelink Age Pensioner“financial assets”? Centrelink Age Pensioner Income Tests use the deemed financial income from your financial assets rather than your actual earnings from financial assets. Therefore, you need to identify your Centrelink Age Pensioner financial assets before you could calculate your deemed[…]

Granny flat arrangement ending

Granny flat arrangement ending   by Christine Hopper Granny flat arrangements At Centrelink, a granny flat arrangement provides for a senior person, the ‘granny flat resident’, to live for the remainder of her life in accommodation provided by the ‘granny flat host’. The granny flat resident usually contributes a lump sum ‘ingoing contribution’ towards the[…]

Centrelink Pension Loans Scheme

Centrelink Pension Loans Scheme

Centrelink Pension Loans Scheme   by Christine Hopper Centrelink Pension Loans Scheme The Centrelink Pension Loans Scheme is available to part Pensioners whose Pension amounts are reduced on account of either the Asset Test or the Income Test but not both. Permanent Australian residents who have attained Age Pension Age but are excluded from the[…]

Seniors rental housing

Seniors rental housing By Christine Hopper On retirement affordable seniors rental housing could be hard to find. Who is looking for seniors rental housing After retirement, private sector tenants might not be able to afford the rent for the home they had leased for many years. The rent required for a nice home unit in[…]

Aged care means tested amount DVA compensation exemption

Aged care means tested amount DVA compensation exemption by Christine Hopper The aged care means tested amount DVA compensation exemption applies only to the veteran who suffered the injury or illness. Aged care means tested amount The Commonwealth regulates and subsidies the provision of formal aged care both in aged care facilities and ‘at home’.[…]

Negotiate aged care accommodation room prices

Negotiate aged care accommodation room prices By Christine Hopper Aged care facilities must publish the maximum price for each type of accommodation offered. Families then ask “Can we negotiate aged care accommodation room prices?” Yes, you can negotiate aged care accommodation room prices. But the aged care facility might not choose to negotiate aged care[…]

Allocated pensions Centrelink account based income streams

Allocated pensions Centrelink account based income streams   by Christine Hopper Allocated pensions also known as Centrelink account based income streams Allocated pension accounts allow retirees to retain the advantages of a superannuation fund account whilst drawing out a personal pension. Allocated pension accounts are also known as allocated annuities and Centrelink account based income[…]

Centrelink Pension Loans Scheme

Pensioner Homeowner principal residence exemption

Pensioner Homeowner principal residence exemption   by Christine Hopper Pensioner Homeowner principal residence exemption for one land Title The DVA and Centrelink homeowner principal residence exemption applies only to your principal residence and the first two hectares of land covered by the single land Title that your home is on. For pension assessment purposes, your assets include real[…]

Retirement reverse mortgage debt

Retirement reverse mortgage debt by Christine Hopper In retirement reverse mortgage debt can appear as the ‘solution’ to a pattern of spending more than your regular retirement income. On retirement from full time work we each need to develop a new pattern of spending time and money. Suddenly we might find that we have more[…]

Disability Support Pension Eligibility

DVA Compensation Pension Income Support Supplement

DVA Compensation Pension Income Support Supplement   by Christine Hopper The Commonwealth pays DVA Compensation Pensions and the Income Support Supplement, ISS, to veterans who suffered health problems as a result of active service facing the enemy. The surviving spouses of veterans who died from war related causes are eligible for the DVA War Widow,[…]

Granny flat independent financial advice

Granny flat independent financial advice   by Christine Hopper A granny flat arrangement is an option for those who promised Mum that they would never put her into an old people’s home. But now that she is frail and confused she cannot stay on her own. Having Mum come to live with you long term[…]

Aged care fee indexation increase

Aged care fee indexation increase   by Christine Hopper The Commonwealth sets the levels of residential and home aged care fees for aged care services eligible for Commonwealth subsidy. The Commonwealth allows for regular reviews and aged care fee indexation increases. An aged care fee indexation increase also applies to the annual and lifetime caps[…]

Independent aged care financial advice

Independent aged care financial advice   by Christine Hopper Independent aged care financial advice is advice about the financial aspects of your specific situation. Professional financial advisers consider your particular situation and advise you on the financial implications of your options. An independent professional aged care financial adviser shows you the costs of your preferred[…]

Age Pension Assessable Assets

Claiming Blind Pension

Claiming Blind Pension   by Christine Hopper Claiming the Blind Pension involves proving both that you are ‘blind’ and that you are an Australian resident eligible for Centrelink Income Support Benefits. The advantage of claiming the Blind Pension is that no financial means testing applies to the  Blind Pension. The value of your assets and[…]

Centrelink Financial Information Service

Centrelink Financial Information Service   by Christine Hopper The Centrelink Financial Information Service provides information about Centrelink benefits to customers and potential customers. Generic Financial Information is provided in Centrelink booklets and at Centrelink Financial Information Service seminars. You can ask specific questions by telephoning the Centrelink Financial Information Service and speaking with an officer.[…]

Introducing Commonwealth regulated residential aged care

Introducing residential aged care by Christine Hopper Commonwealth regulated Residential aged care is available for people who need personal support and/or nursing care irrespective of their financial resources. The Commonwealth is the ‘gatekeeper’ for who is allowed into potentially subsidised aged care. The Commonwealth also pays a substantial subsidy for aged care residents who cannot[…]

Aged care daily care fee means tested amount

Aged care daily care fee means tested amount by Christine Hopper Aged care daily care fee means tested amount applies from July 2014 From July 2014, a new entrant to residential aged care is charged a Daily Care Fee based on her Means Tested Amount. The July 2014 Aged care daily care fee Means Tested Amount[…]

SMSF member enters permanent residential aged care

SMSF member enters permanent residential aged care by Christine Hopper When an SMSF member enters permanent residential aged care he is unlikely to have the ongoing mental capacity and physical strength to continue managing his financial affairs. Once mental capacity is lost his Attorney, or Court appointed Administrator, would become responsible for his financial affairs.[…]

Financial year end gifting

Financial year end gifting By Christine Hopper Gifting can be a pleasure for both the donor and the gift recipient. Gifts generally reduce the asset base of the donor. Some gifts also reduce the ‘assets’ of a Centrelink or DVA Pensioner. The ATO allows for gifts to some charitable causes to be deducted from your[…]

July 2014 aged care accommodation contributions for pensioners

July 2014 aged care accommodation contributions for pensioners by Christine Hopper As from July 2014 the aged care accommodation contributions for pensioners with few assets will be assessed differently. The current system makes a once only determination of each resident’s eligibility for accommodation subsidy at the date of entry. Starting July 2014 the aged care[…]

July 2014 Aged Care charging system

July 2014 Aged Care charging system   by Christine Hopper Would my mother pay more for aged care if she defers entering permanent care until July 2014? The Commonwealth has legislated for a new package of resident fees and charges for residential aged care for new entrants after June 2014. The July 2014 aged care[…]

Age Pensioners permanently departing Australia

Age Pensioners permanently departing Australia

Age Pensioners permanently departing Australia   by Christine Hopper Age Pensioners permanently departing Australia do not all continue to receive their pensions.  Some Age Pensions are cancelled and others are reduced after six months absence from Australia. Remember that Age Pensions are provided to Australian residents who are in constrained financial circumstances. You must be[…]

July 2014 Means Tested Daily Care Fees for Commonwealth regulated residential aged care

New July 2014 Means Tested Daily Care Fees for Commonwealth regulated residential aged care   By Christine Hopper The Commonwealth aged care reform package, Living Longer Living Better, introduces a new style of means tested daily care fee from July 2014. All residents of Commonwealth regulated residential aged care facilities will continue to pay the[…]

Injury Compensation Payments impact Centrelink Benefits

Injury Compensation Payments impact Centrelink Benefits by Christine Hopper Any Injury Compensation Payments you receive could impact your Centrelink Benefits. Centrelink, DVA and Medicare can require you to pay back their costs as part of your personal injury claim. The Compensation Recovery Team at Centrelink can help calculate the actual impact on your personal situation.[…]

July 2014 New Residents Aged Care Accommodation Charges

July 2014 New Residents Aged Care Accommodation Charges   by Christine Hopper The system for determining new residents’ aged care accommodation charges will be different for new permanent residents from 1 July 2014. The changes do not impact on the aged care Accommodation Charges and Accommodation Bond agreements of permanent residents as at 30 June[…]

Aged Care Asset Assessment Home Exemption

Aged Care Asset Assessment Home Exemption   by Christine Hopper Multi-generational households often ask if the Aged Care Asset Assessment has a home exemption. Families may be aware that the amount of Accommodation Bond, or Accommodation Charge, required of a permanent resident of Commonwealth regulated aged care facility depends on the amount of the new[…]

Aged Care Regulation changes 1 July 2014

Aged Care Regulation changes 1 July 2014 by Christine Hopper The Commonwealth Aged Care Regulation changes impacting on new residents come into effect on 1 July 2014.  Last year the Commonwealth parliament passed the Aged Care (Living Longer Living Better) Bill 2013. The new legislation changes the administration and financing system for both residential aged[…]

Centrelink Pensioners Personal Debt

Centrelink Pensioners Personal Debt By Christine Hopper At Centrelink, your personal debt is not deducted from your financial assets for determining your means tested income support benefits. For Centrelink Age Pensioners personal debt is ignored for the Asset Test. The deemed financial income for the Income Test is based on the financial assets that you[…]

Net assets for aged care entry

Net assets for aged care entry by Christine Hopper The amount that a new entrant to Commonwealth regulated residential aged care could be asked to pay for aged care Accommodation is based on the ‘net assets’ of the new resident. So how is the amount of net assets for aged care entry calculated for permanent[…]

Age Pensioners permanently departing Australia

Centrelink Benefits for Seniors Absent from Australia

Centrelink Benefits for Seniors Absent from Australia   by Christine Hopper Centrelink administers the Social Security benefit arrangements for Australian residents in constrained financial circumstances. Centrelink benefits continue for seniors absent from Australia temporarily but with some exceptions. Therefore you need to check your Centrelink entitlements as part of your travel plans. If you are[…]

Centrelink Adult Carer Payment

Centrelink Adult Carer Payment by Christine Hopper Early retire and get a Centrelink Adult Carer Payment as a full time carer When an elderly parent needs more support and care than a quick visit after work, you might be thinking to early retire to be full time carer. But what Centrelink adult Carer Payment income could[…]

Centrelink early retirement benefits

If I retire now could I get any Centrelink early retirement benefits? by Christine Hopper Your eligibility for Centrelink early retirement benefits depends on your age, your personal circumstances and your financial resources and other assets. Remember Centrelink administers the Social Security Act which is about providing support to long term Australian residents in constrained[…]

Centrelink Gifting

Centrelink Gifting by Christine Hopper At Centrelink gifting is transferring assets to another person or entity for less than the market value. Centrelink expects its Age Pensioner and DSP customers to report any substantial gifts of money or assets. What is a gift at Centrelink? The simple example of Centrelink gifting is the fifty dollar[…]

Private company and family trusts in Pension means tests

Private company and family trusts in Pension means tests

Private company and family trusts in Pension means tests by Christine Hopper The inclusion of private company and family trusts in Pension means tests surprises many seniors.  Small businesses and farmers often own their business assets and investments within a private company or family trust structure. Ownership of the shares in the private company could[…]

Entering Commonwealth regulated aged care as a Supported Resident

Entering Commonwealth regulated aged care as a Supported Resident by Christine Hopper Each Supported Resident of a Commonwealth regulated aged care facility attracts an Accommodation subsidy from the Commonwealth.  The Commonwealth has a ‘budgeted amount’ to spend on these Accommodation subsided rather than an unlimited supply of cash. Therefore, the Commonwealth endeavours to spread its[…]

Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card Income Test

Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card Income Test by Christine Hopper Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card is available to Australian residents who have attained Age Pension Age but do not qualify for an Age Pension. Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card Benefits The Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card provides the same Medicare and PBS pharmacy concessions as[…]

Age Pension as an Australian Resident

Age Pension as an Australian Resident by Christine Hopper Claiming an Age Pension as an Australian resident The Australian Social Security laws provide Age Pensions for Australian residents. To be eligible for an Age Pension from Centrelink you must be an Australian resident and actually be in Australia on the day that you lodge your[…]

Agree an additional amount of Accommodation Bond?

Agree an additional amount of Accommodation Bond? by Christine Hopper Aged care managers strongly advise entrants to agree an additional amount of Accommodation Bond Admission managers at aged care facilities frequently advise potential residents that “if you pay a higher Accommodation Bond then you will get more Age Pension and eliminate the Income Tested Fee”.[…]

Fee Disclosure Statement

Fee Disclosure Statement   by Christine Hopper Why Fee Disclosure Statements Fee Disclosure Statements were introduced as part of the Future of Financial Advice reforms in response to the 2009 Inquiry into Financial Products and Services in Australia. The Fee Disclosure Statements address the lack of transparency and accountability regarding the payment of ongoing financial advisory[…]

Life Expectancy How long will I live?

Life Expectancy How long will I live? by Christine Hopper If I want to save enough for a comfortable retirement then I want to know for what period would I live in retirement. So what is my life expectancy or how long will I live?  The life expectancy number is an estimate of my future lifespan.  The[…]

Age Pension Age Increases

Social Security Age Pension Age Increases   By Christine Hopper To qualify for the Australian Age Pension applicants must have attained their Age Pension Age.  The Age Pension Age for men has been age 65 years since the Age Pension started early last century. The Age Pension Age for women has now increased to be the same as[…]

Aged care residents enrolled to vote

Aged care residents enrolled to vote by Christine Hopper Help is available for aged care residents enrolled to vote when their minds are still strong but their bodies are frail. Aged care residents enrolled to vote are expected to cast their votes at the Federal election. To simplify life, temporary mobile polling stations visit many aged[…]

Accommodation Bonds for Residential Aged Care

Accommodation Bonds for Residential Aged Care

Accommodation Bonds for Residential Aged Care By Christine Hopper New entrants to requiring ‘low care’ or ‘extra service high care’ may be asked for Accommodation Bonds for residential aged care.  The Accommodation Bonds for residential aged care are like interest free loans to the operator of the residential aged care facilities. How much is the[…]

Bill payments via Centrepay

Bill payments via Centrepay by Centrelink deductions

Efficient budgeting and utility bill payments via Centrepay   By Christine Hopper Centrelink income support clients are welcome to use the Centrepay bill payment system. Types of bills for payment via Centrepay The major telephone, water and electricity providers accept bill payments via Centrepay.  Public housing and most community housing groups will accept rent payments[…]

AFS Licence for financial service providers

AFS Licence for financial service providers

AFS Licence for financial service providers By Christine Hopper Why an AFS Licence for financial service providers Anyone who provides financial advice to retail customers must hold an Australian Financial Services (AFS) Licence or be an Authorized Representative of a business that holds an AFS Licence. ASIC issues AFS Licences to financial services businesses that[…]

Home in Retirement

Home in Retirement

A place to call home in retirement   By Christine Hopper Many long term renters delay retiring from full time paid work.  How could I afford to continue paying my rent without a regular full-time wage?  The unspoken fear could be, “I might be without a home in retirement”. The good news is that you[…]

Commissions on financial products

Commissions on financial products By Christine Hopper In the beginning the commissions on financial products were not disclosed to the customer. Long ago financial products were sold to consumers.  A glossy brochure illustrated the great features of the product and the small print mentioned the fees and charges. The insurance salesman offered ‘unit linked’ investment contracts[…]

Personal Circumstances at Centrelink or DVA

Personal Circumstances at Centrelink or DVA   by Christine Hopper The amounts of income support benefits available from Centrelink or DVA, depend on your Personal Circumstances at Centrelink or DVA.  So what are “Personal Circumstances” at Centrelink and DVA? Your Personal Circumstances at Centrelink, or DVA, is based on your relationship with the people that you[…]

Age Pensioner Work Bonus in Centrelink Income Test

Age Pensioner Work Bonus in Centrelink Income Test by Christine Hopper The Age Pensioner Work Bonus in the Centrelink Income Test is to encourage Age Pensioners to continue their links to the paid workforce. The advantage of the Age Pensioner Work Bonus is that the first $250 per fortnight of income from employment is not counted[…]

Disability Support Pension

Disability Support Pension by Christine Hopper Centrelink pay the Disability Support Pension to Australian residents whose disabilities prevent them from earning. Eligibility for Disability Support Pension The Disability Support Pension is available to Australian residents who have attained age 16 years but not their Age Pension Age. A Disability Support Pensioner normally transfers to the Age[…]

Age Pension for only one partner in a couple

Can I get an Age Pension when I turn 65 even if my partner is much younger and/or still working? by Christine Hopper You can apply for an Age Pension when you have attained age 65 years. The Centrelink rules allow for an Age Pension for only one partner in a couple when the other partner[…]

Retail Interest Rates

Retail Interest Rates for consumers or when is a ‘good deal’ too good to be true By Christine Hopper Retail interest rates represent the rate of interest that an individual lender expects to be paid for a loan.  Bank interest on ‘at call’ accounts could be between nil for a cheque account and 4.5% per annum on the top[…]

Pensioner Rent Assistance

Pensioner Rent Assistance Pensioner Rent Assistance is available to Centrelink Age and Disability Support Pensioners. DVA pays Rent Assistance to eligible Service Pensioners.  DVA also pays Rent Assistance to those veteran Disability Pensioners and War Widow Pensioners who are also recipients of the Income Support Supplement. To be eligible for Pensioner Rent Assistance you must[…]

Granny flats for Pensioners

Granny flats for Pensioners – Centrelink and DVA and granny flats By Christine Hopper When families provide granny flats for Pensioners then Centrelink, or DVA, become very interested in the ‘pensioner granny.’  A new pension means test assessment happens when an Age Pensioner, Disability Pensioner, DVA Service Pensioner or War Widow moves into a granny flat[…]

Residential aged care costs – an illustration

Residential aged care costs by Christine Hopper Families new to residential aged care can be confused by the web of fees and charges for residential aged care. Accommodation charges are fixed on entry but daily care fees change regularly. Below is an “illustration” of the fees and charges that could apply to new entrants to[…]

Homeowner at Centrelink and DVA

Homeowner at Centrelink and DVA By Christine Hopper Avid readers of Commonwealth Pension means testing charts notice that the Asset Test Allowances have different amounts for ‘homeowners’ and ‘non-homeowners’.  So who is a homeowner at Centrelink and DVA? Homeowner Suburban Examples Mary still owns the family home situated well inside a standard block in suburbia. […]

Supported Residential Service or SRS

Supported Residential Service or SRS Private Aged Care Homes By Christine Hopper What is Supported Residential Service or SRS? A Supported Residential Service or SRS, is like a guest house or private hotel, offering short or long term accommodation, all meals in a dining room and communal activities together with some personal support. Each Supported Residential Service or[…]

Pensions for Australian Veterans

Service Pensions for Australian Veterans By Christine Hopper Veterans who actively served in roles where they were exposed to danger from the enemy in World War II or later conflicts, can apply to the Australian Department of Veterans Affairs (“DVA”) for a Service Pension. The Service Pension is of equivalent amount and subject to the[…]

Residential aged care for seniors in new relationships

The complexities of aged care accommodation costs for Couples at Centrelink who met later in life By Christine Hopper James and Jenny exchanged the family home for a modest new townhouse near their adult children.  James had only recently retired and when Jenny died suddenly. After a few years of living alone, James embarked on[…]

Annuities – Income Streams

Annuities – Income Streams By Christine Hopper Long ago annuities were purchased by healthy, wealthy seniors as a means of converting lump sums into extended lifetime income streams.  These folk were paid annuities as income streams.  Annuities are now being marketed to retirees, so what is an annuity and why would I buy one? The purchase of an annuity[…]

Low Income Health Care Card

Early Retirees seeking help with Health Care Costs By Christine Hopper The Commonwealth ‘Low Income Health Care Card’ provides access to the Concession Rates for PBS prescriptions and Commonwealth funded bulk billing medical services similar to those available to Age Pensioners.  Some State government and utility providers also offer concessions and/or discounts to holders of[…]

Assessed Assets on entry to Permanent Residential Aged Care

Assessed Assets on entering permanent residential aged care By Christine Hopper The amount of your Assessed Assets on entry to Permanent Residential Aged Care impacts on your potential costs of living in care.  Your Assessed Asset amount determines the maximum amount that you could be asked to contribute towards the cost of your accommodation in[…]

Full Centrelink Pension for legally blind residents

Full Centrelink Pension for legally blind residents By Christine Hopper Centrelink pay the full Age or Disability Support Pension to residents who are ‘legally blind’.  So who is legally blind and not just vision impaired? When we hear that someone is ‘blind’ we sometimes assume that the person has no vision.  Sadly some people have[…]