August 31, 2016

Vol 6 Ed 8

Volume 6 Edition 8 Financial Care Services Newsletter

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Financial Care Services Newsletter by Christine Hopper
Independent aged care, lifestyle and financial advice for seniors

Volume 6 Edition 8 – 31 August 2016

Maintaining correct Social Security entitlements

Australian Social Security legislation aims to ensure that all permanent residents have access to a basic level of resources. To actually receive a Social Security Pension payment applicants must satisfy both the eligibility criteria and a ‘means test’.

Eligibility for the Age Pension is satisfied on attaining your Age Pension Age after having lived in Australia for ten years.
Access to the Disability Support Pension is restricted to people who are unable to work because of a physical, intellectual or psychiatric impairment.

The Income and Assets tests for Age and Disability Support Pensions channel the community money to people with limited resources of their own. September is the time to update Centrelink about your asset values so that your Pension payment is correct when the Pension rate increases on 20 September.

Age Pension Age is rising

The Age Pension is payable to people who are considered too old for full time work. In July 2017, the Age Pension Age increases to 65 years and 6 months. If you were born in July 1952 and reach age 65 years in July 2017, then you will need to wait another six months to qualify for an Age Pension.

The legislation has three more little steps increase the Age Pension Age to 67 years for people born after 1956. Check the Age Pension Age for your date of birth 

Further increases in the Age Pension Age are possible. The Commonwealth must legislate any changes in Social Security rules. The news media suggest age seventy years could be the new Age Pension Age.

If you are thinking of retiring at age 65 years in late 2017 then you could review your retirement plans now.

Help is available. Christine at Financial Care Services is experienced with the many Centrelink financial means tests.

A Short Consultation with Christine at Financial Care Services could estimate your potential Age Pension amount. Contact Christine to arrange for the ‘$99 Special Age Pension Illustration Short Consultation’. In response you will receive the Financial Care Services Financial Services Guide and Age Pension Data form.

So who is qualified for a Disability Support Pension?

The rules for assessing if a Disability Support Pension, “DSP”, applicant is prevented from working or from being re-trained for work on account of physical, intellectual or psychiatric impairment are detailed in Social Security legislation. Eligibility is determined according to an Impairment Assessment Table. The Impairment Assessment Table allocates points for different types and levels of impairment. Most applicants need 20 points of impairments to qualify for the Disability Support Pension.

An example of a single impairment that attracts 20 points is a severe functional impact on activities involving hearing (communication). The hearing impairment is assessed when using a hearing aid, cochlear implant or other assistive listening device. The severely impacted person is unable to hear a smoke alarm, truck horn or fire evacuation siren. She could not hear someone shouting a safety warning. The person with severely impacted hearing could not participate in a loud conversation but must rely totally on lip-reading or sign language.

Read more about Disability Support Pension assessments

Reviews of Disability Support Pensions

Not every disability impairment is permanent with no hope of improvement. To be granted DSP, the applicant’s disability needs to be permanent or expected to continue for at least two years. Some conditions are sadly permanent with no potential for alleviation. Other conditions might improve over time with treatment and/or better adaptive technologies such as hearing implants, to allow some recipients to re-enter the workforce.

Therefore, many current Disability Support Pensioners are having their impairment level reviewed. The Disability Support Pension could be canceled if the person no longer experiences impairments equivalent to twenty points on the Impairment Assessment Table.

If Centrelink invite you to a disability review, you are being asked to verify that you still have an impairment. On reaching Age Pension Age, a DSP recipient could transfer to the Age Pension with no further impairment assessments.

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 for ‘personal financial factual information’ to help you check your financial position against the means tests for DSP.
Before you invest in the emotional cost of being assessed for DSP, you can check if you could actually be eligible for any means tested pension benefit.

If you think that you might be eligible for a part Disability Support Pension or Carer Payment you can call Christine on 03 9808 0338 to arrange a Short Consultation, 45 minutes in person or by telephone and/or email to discuss your potential means tested Pension amount. The fee for a Short Consultation for ‘personal financial factual information’ is $99. Please ask for a special ‘short personal financial factual information consultation’ when you book your appointment.

Clients who are unable to attend the Financial Care Services office in Camberwell are welcome to Contact us via email to arrange for a Short personal financial factual information Consultation by email and telephone.

You can start the Short ‘personal financial factual information’ Consultation by emailing for the Financial Care Services Financial Services Guide and Age Pension Data form.

The doctor said that Mum cannot go home so does she really need an ACAT Assessment?

An Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) assessment is required before the Commonwealth will pay any ‘care’ subsidy for a new aged care resident. If Mum is on her way to residential aged care then the ACAT assessment is needed to show that she really does need personal support and nursing care.

The ACAT assessment includes information about the potential aged care resident and her care needs. The team at your preferred aged care facility need access to Mum’s ACAT assessment to ensure that her care needs can be provided for in that aged care home. The ACAT assessment then allows the aged care facility to ask the Commonwealth to pay some of Mum’s personal support and nursing care fees.

The family will still need to complete the Centrelink Asset and Income forms. Centrelink then work out the split of the personal support and nursing care fees between Mum and the Commonwealth.

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.

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 about pensions and aged care financial solutions and arranging your investments.

To make an appointment for confidential, independent and professional advice about aged care, retirement lifestyle or financial issues please contact Christine Hopper  or call +61 3 9808 0338.


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
Authorised Representative Number
252529 (check this at

Telephone – call +61 3 9808 0338
Email – contact
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.

© 2016 Financial Care Services Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.