July 28, 2016

Vol 6 Ed 7

Volume 6 Edition 7 Financial Care Services Newsletter

Permalink: http://www.financialcareservices.com.au/newsletters/vol-6-ed-7/

Independent aged care, lifestyle and financial advice for seniors
Volume 6 Edition 7 – 29 July 2016


Small increases in Centrelink means testing allowances

Indexation of Income Allowances

Effective 1 July 2016, the allowable amounts of Income and Assets for the full rate of Age Pension were increased marginally. Pensioners can have an additional two dollars per person per fortnight before the Pension Income Test bites.

A single person can now have $164 per fortnight of income before the Income Test bites. Once her income at Centrelink exceeds $1,751.60 per fortnight, $45,540 for 26 fortnights, the Income Test would cut-off her Age Pension.

A couple at Centrelink can now have a total joint income of $292 per fortnight before the Income Test bites. Once the combined total income of the couple exceeds $2,684.40 per fortnight, $69,794 for 26 fortnights, they would be cut-off from the Age Pension.

The Asset Test Allowances also increased

For the second half of 2016, a single Pensioner may have $360,500 of assets, or a home plus $209,000 of other assets, and not be impacted by the Assets Test.

A couple may have $448,000 of assets or a home plus $296,500 of other assets, before the Asset Test impacts their Age Pensions. Currently a Pensioner couple may have a million dollars’ worth of assets in addition to their home and still be entitled to a part Age Pension and the Pensioner Concession Cards provided that the Income Test does not exclude them from any Age Pension.

Read about the Asset Test cut-offs for Age Pensions

Deeming rate changeover points increased

As from July 2016, for a single pensioner the deemed income from financial assets will be calculated as 1.75% pa on the first $49,200 of financial assets plus 3.25% pa of any balance above $49,200.

The deemed income of a couple from their combined financial assets will be calculated as 1.75% pa on the first $81,600 of financial assets plus 3.25% pa of any balance above $81,600.

How much Pension would I get?

The calculation of your Age Pension amount can be challenging.

The easy route is to ask for the Age Pension Illustration Personal Data form as a checklist of essential data and then arrange for a ‘$99 Special Age Pension Illustration Short Consultation’ with Financial Care Services.

Financial Care Services offers Short Consultations for ‘personal factual financial information’ in the form of an Illustration of the amount of Centrelink Age Pension you could receive today provided that you satisfied the age and residency conditions for a Centrelink Age Pension.

Contact Financial Care Services to obtain the Age Pension Illustration Personal Data form. You will also receive our Financial Services Guide that provides essential information about Financial Care Services.

Alternatively you could search through the Centrelink website for clues about Pension rates and means tests then do the sums yourself.

Consequential aged care means tested amount change

A small increase has applied to the income allowance in the calculation of the income component of the aged care means tested amount. This adjustment ensures that a full Age Pensioner would continue to have a nil ‘income component’ in the aged care means tested amount.

Read more about the changes to the aged care means test formula

Help with understanding aged care costs is available.

Christine at Financial Care Services understands the Centrelink system for assessing means tested aged care fees and Pensions.  Christine at Financial Care Services works with families to clarify the costs for their family member to enter residential aged care.

Contact Christine at Financial Care Services to arrange for a aged care entry consultation. You will receive the Financial Care Services’ Financial Services Guide and the Financial Care Services Aged Care Checklist form.

Centrelink are busy data matching

Australian social security benefits are intended for permanent residents in constrained financial circumstances. Hence the ‘means testing’ of income support benefits. Also the community expect that living costs are less on a per person basis, for shared domestic arrangements.  Hence ‘couples living together’ get lower Age Pensions than ‘couples separated by illness’ and singles.

If your living arrangements or work activities, are different from what you had reported to Centrelink or DVA, then you might prefer to volunteer the right details to Centrelink or DVA.  Alternatively, you could wait anxiously until the Commonwealth’s data matching systems flag your case.

You might need to inform Centrelink about your new ‘domestic partner’. Remember a ‘couple at Centrelink’ is any two adults who share domestic arrangements and present socially as a couple.  You cannot be treated as a ‘single person at Centrelink’ just because you and your domestic partner choose to keep your finances separate. Read more about Personal Circumstances at Centrelink.

You cannot hide earnings from work from Centrelink or the ATO. The taxman is also an avid checker of the online babysitting, gardening and cleaning services websites looking for cash payment workers.
Age Pensioners are eligible for ‘work bonus’ exemptions for some earnings from employment. Therefore you can work for $250 per fortnight of without your pay counting for the Age Pension Income Test. Read more about Pensioner work earnings.

Was a family member confused about voting in the federal election?

A demented person who no longer understands what voting is about can have her name removed from the Electoral Roll. You can print out the ‘objection’ form and insert the full name and registered enrolment address of the demented elector.  But only the demented person’s medical practitioner can sign the declaration that the named person no longer understands and could be removed from the Electoral Roll.

The medical practitioner sign off is to ensure that you cannot disenfranchise grandma who has always had different political views from yours.

To start the process, you can find the Objection form at aec 

The State registries supply the AEC with regular data updates to remove the names of deceased electors from the Electoral Roll; the family only not need to inform the AEC of death outside of Australia.

Financial Care Services is an independent financial advisory service specialising in retirees of modest means and aged care entrants. Our core values of working with clients in their lifetime financial planning supports claiming DVA and Centrelink entitlements.

Financial Care Services charges fees based on the work involved in advising you. Financial Care Services is licensed to provide personal financial strategy advice about pensions, aged care financial solutions and arranging your investments.

Financial Care Services

Christine Hopper
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 info@financialcareservices.com.au
Address – mail or meet at 2B Thomas Street, 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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