Age Pension means test allowance increase July 2017

Age Pension means test allowance increase July 2017

By Christine Hopper

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 that an Age Pensioner could have a little more Income and/ or a little more Assets before her Pension is reduced.

DVA pay the Service Pension to eligible veterans and their partners. The Service Pension is paid at the same rates and subject to the same means testing as the Age Pension from Centrelink.

Age Pension means test allowance increase July 2017 for Singles

Income Test Allowance for a Single Pensioner

For a Single Disability Support or Age Pensioner, the Income Allowance has increased by four dollars per fortnight to $168 per fortnight. If a Single Pensioner has more than $168 per fortnight of Income at Centrelink, then her DSP or Age Pension could be reduced by fifty cents for each additional dollar of income over $168 per fortnight.

A Single DSP or Age Pensioner could have an Income at Centrelink of $1,782.60 per fortnight, $46,340 per year, and retain one dollar per fortnight of Pension plus the full rate of Pension Supplements provided that the Asset Test had not excluded her from the Pension.

Asset Test Allowance for a Single Pensioner

A Single Pensioner who is not a ‘Homeowner at Centrelink’ may have $456,750 of Assets and not be impacted by the Assets Test.
A Single homeowner could have Assets of $253,750 in addition to her home, before the Asset Test starts to impact.

The amount of DSP or Age Pension payable reduces by $3.00 per fortnight, $78 per year, for each additional $1,000 of Assets over the Allowance.

Thus a single non-homeowner Pensioner could have $725,850 of Assets, and retain one dollar per fortnight of Pension plus the full rate of Pension Supplements, provided that the Income Test had not excluded her from the Pension.

A single Pensioner could have $522,850 of Assets in addition to her home, and retain one dollar per fortnight of Pension plus the full rate of Pension Supplements provided that the Income Test had not excluded her from the Pension.

Age Pension means test allowance increase July 2017 for couples

Income Test Allowance for a Pensioner Couple

The Income Allowance for a Pensioner Couple at Centrelink has increased by eight dollars per fortnight to $300 per fortnight. Thus if an Age Pensioner Couple has more than $300 per fortnight of Income at Centrelink, then their combined Age Pension could be reduced by fifty cents for each additional dollar of income over $300 per fortnight.

Where only one member of the couple at Centrelink is eligible for DSP or an Age Pension, the Pension payable to that member of the couple is reduced by twenty five cents for each dollar of Income that the couple have in excess of the Income Test Allowance of $300 per fortnight.

Asset Test Allowance for a Pensioner Couple

A Pensioner couple at Centrelink, who are not ‘Homeowners at Centrelink’ may have $583,500 of Assets and not be impacted by the Assets Test.
A homeowner couple at Centrelink, could have Assets of $380,500 in addition to their home, before the Asset Test starts to impact.

The combined amount of Age Pension payable to a couple at Centrelink reduces by $3.00 per fortnight, $78 per year, for each additional $1,000 of Assets over the Allowance.
Where only one member of the couple at Centrelink, is eligible for DSP or an Age Pension, the amount of Pension payable to that member of the couple is reduced by $1.50 per fortnight for each additional $1,000 of Assets that the couple have in excess of the Asset Test Allowance.

Age Pension means test allowance increase July 2017 Age Pensioner Couple Income and Asset Test cut offs

An Age Pensioner couple living together could have a combined Income at Centrelink of $2,733.20 per fortnight, $71,060 per year, and each retain one dollar per fortnight of Age Pension plus the full couple rate of Pension Supplements provided that the Asset Test had not excluded them from the Age Pension.

A couple living together in their own home could have additional Assets of $786,000 and each retain one dollar per fortnight of Age Pension plus the full couple rate of Pension Supplements provided that the Income Test had not excluded them from the Age Pension.

A non-homeowner couple living together could have Assets of $989,000 and each retain one dollar per fortnight of Age Pension plus the full couple rate of Pension Supplements provided that the Income Test had not excluded them from the Age Pension.

Age Pension means test allowance increase July 2017 Age Pensioner couple separated by Illness

A couple living together are assumed to share some household expenses. Remember that a couple at Centrelink is any two adults who share domestic arrangements and present socially as a couple. Consequently, the per person Couples rate of Age Pension is lower than the Single person rate.

But if at least one member of the couple moves into residential aged care then they become a ‘couple separated by illness’. Each member of a ‘couple separated by illness’ is entitled to the single rate of Pension but subject to the couples means testing.

An Age Pensioner couple separated by illness could have a combined Income at Centrelink of $3,529.20 per fortnight, $91,750 per year, and each retain one dollar per fortnight of Age Pension plus the full single rate of Pension Supplements provided that the Asset Test had not excluded them from the Age Pension.

Thus a non-homeowner Age Pensioner couple separated by illness could have $1,121,700 of Assets, and retain one dollar per fortnight of Pension plus the full single rate of Pension Supplements provided that the Income Test had not excluded them from the Pension.

An Age Pensioner couple separated by illness could have $918,700 of Assets in addition to their home, and each retain one dollar per fortnight of Pension plus the full single rate of Pension Supplements provided that the Income Test had not excluded them from the Pension.

Age Pension means test allowance increase July 2017 in Deeming changeover amount

Centrelink and DVA, use ‘deeming’ to calculate the income from a pensioner’s financial assets for the Pension Income Test.

The Centrelink deeming calculation changeover amount was increased on 1 July 2017 to $50,200 for a single pensioner and $81,600 for a Couple at Centrelink.

The July 2017 Deemed Income from financial assets for a single pensioner is calculated as 1.75% per annum on the first $50,200 of financial assets plus 3.25% per annum on any balance above $50,200.

The July 2017 Deemed Income from financial assets for a pensioner couple is calculated as 1.75% per annum on the first $83,400 of the combined financial assets of the couple plus 3.25% per annum on any balance above $83,400.

Impact of Age Pension means test allowance increase July 2017 on your Age Pension rate

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 an Age Pension, DSP or a Carer Payment.

If you think that you might be eligible for a part 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.

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.

Financial Care Services your independent financial adviser

Financial Care Services is an independent financial adviser focused on the needs of seniors in transition. Our clients are considering the potential for accessing Age Pensions on retirement. Our advice is valuable when seniors are moving into retirement lifestyle village communities or residential aged care.

Christine could also assist you with collating your personal data, checking your income and asset values for a Pension 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.

 

If you would like further confidential, independent and professional advice about Commonwealth regulated residential aged care, Centrelink, lifestyle or financial issues please contact Christine Hopper.  Call Christine on (03) 9808 0338 to discuss how Financial Care Services can help your family.

Disclaimer. These Insights are a general over view based on our understanding of the Social Securiy and DVA Pension arrangements. Individual entitlements to Social Security and DVA benefits are determined based on your actual situation as documented to Centrelink or DVA.

© 2017 Financial Care Services Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.