Vol 5 Ed 1
Volume 5 Edition 1 Newsletter
FINANCIAL CARE SERVICES
Independent aged care, lifestyle and financial advice for seniors
Volume 5 Edition 1 –30 January 2015
Small changes at Centrelink with large impacts for some retirees.
In 2014, Centrelink widely publicized the change in the treatment of allocated pensions also known as account based income streams, for the purposes of the various Income Tests for Centrelink Pensions.
As from January 2015, allocated pension accounts are to be treated as ‘financial assets’ of the Pensioner. Thus your allocated pension account balance will be included in your ‘financial assets’ and your total financial income calculated under the deeming rules.
The only exception is when the Income of an ongoing DSP, Age Pensioner or Health Care Card holder is being reassessed, an ongoing allocated pension contract could continue to be treated under the former rules. Thus the new rules will be applied to all new applications for DSP, Age Pension and all new allocated pension contracts.
Read about allocated pension and account based income streams
Less publicized is the change in administrative practice at Centrelink.
Centrelink are tightening the system for checking the citizenship and residency eligibility criteria for benefits. Australian Social Security laws provide for income support benefits and health care cost concessions for Australian citizens and permanent residents, who are in constrained financial circumstances.
All new applicants for benefits and existing Centrelink clients seeking transfers between DSP, Age Pension or Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Cards are being subjected to the citizenship and residency checks. Australian citizens must be permanently resident in Australia to access Centrelink benefits; you cannot fly in, enrol for the Age Pension then fly out the next month as an Age Pensioner.
Applicants for Centrelink benefits who were born overseas and have not become Australian citizens could be asked to verify their immigration status; for example by showing the Australian Visa in the foreign passport last used to enter Australia.
Unchanged is your responsibility to honestly declare your full income and all of your assets at Centrelink
Including additional land holdings in a DVA or Centrelink Asset Declaration challenges some families. The DVA and Centrelink homeowner exemption applies only to your principal residence and the first two hectares of land covered by a single Title that your home is on.
At DVA and Centrelink, your assets includes real estate on additional land titles apart from the first two hectares of the allotment that your home stands on. Any more land that you own is to be included in your assets for DVA or Centrelink means testing. Yes, that means the adjoining block of suburban land occupied by your swimming pool, tennis court and garden, or the additional part of your ten acre hobby farm home are to be declared as Assets at Centrelink. Read more about the Centrelink Homeowner principal residence exemption and additional land at Centrelink and DVA.
Help is available. Christine at Financial Care Services is experienced with Centrelink Pension Applications and the many Centrelink financial means tests.
Financial Care Services offers Short Consultations to help you check your financial position against the means tests for an Age Pension, DSP or a Carer Payment.
Christine could also assist you with collating your personal data, estimating how much Pension you could expect to receive and completing the Centrelink forms for you to sign. Normal hourly rate consultation fees apply for assistance with personal data collation, completing Centrelink forms and attendance at a Centrelink office with you.
Financial Care Services is licensed to offer investment strategy advice and to assist you to invest. Financial Care Services charges fees based on the work involved in advising you and arranging your investments. Financial Care Services does not base fees on the value of your assets nor do we accept any commissions or payments from other service providers.
If you would like further confidential, independent and professional advice about Centrelink, DVA, lifestyle or financial issues please contact Christine Hopper 03 9808 0338.
New system of aged care accommodation room prices
As from July 2014, 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 may try to negotiate aged care accommodation room prices. But the aged care facility might not choose to negotiate aged care accommodation room prices below their published maximums.
Read more about the potential for negotiating an aged care accommodation room price.
Help is available. Financial Care Services helps clients understand the financial implications of residential aged care and develop a life guide strategy to generate the cash flow needed.
Financial Care Services is an independent aged care financial advisory service specialising in aged care entrants and Centrelink Pensions.
Financial Care Services core value in financial advice is to assist with your money plan in the responsible management of your assets to generate the cash flow needed for your lifetime planning. Christine at Financial Care Services understands both the DVA and Centrelink Pensions systems and the Commonwealth aged care fee arrangements.
If you would like further confidential, independent and professional advice about DVA, Centrelink, lifestyle or financial advice, please contact Christine Hopper (03) 9808 0338.
Financial Care Services Pty Ltd
Independent aged care, lifestyle and financial advice for seniors in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Australian Financial Services Licence Number
299570 (check this at www.search.asic.gov.au/fsr/flb.html)
Authorised Representative Number
252529 (check this at www.search.asic.gov.au/fsr/far.html)
Telephone – call +61 3 9808 0338
Email – contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Address – mail or meet at 172 Warrigal Road, Camberwell Victoria 3124
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Disclaimer: The information contained in this newsletter is of a general nature only and does not constitute “financial advice”. You should obtain your own personal financial advice before investing any money or moving in to any retirement village, lifestyle community or aged care facility. Financial Care Services is licensed to provide financial advice to individual clients based on their personal situations.
All eligibility for Commonwealth benefits will be determined by Centrelink or DVA, based on your personal position as documented and the legislation and Regulations in force at that time.
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