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 regulated aged care were increased to reflect the Age Pension increases of 20 September 2016.

Disability Pensions and Age Pensions increase September 2016 for Single Pensioners.

The new maximum total payment for a Single Pensioner is $877.10 per fortnight, an additional $3.10 per fortnight.
The maximum payment for a Single Pensioner includes the full rate of Pension of $797.90 per fortnight.
Pension Supplements totaling $79.20 per fortnight are paid to Single Centrelink clients who receive at least one dollar of Pension per fortnight.

Income and Asset Test cut-off levels after Pension Increase September 2016

A Single Age Pensioner would need to have an income over $1,757 per fortnight, $45,700 per year, before the Income Test cut-out her final one dollar per fortnight of Age Pension and all of the Supplements. If your only Income were the deemed rate on your financial assets then you would need more than $1,429,000 of financial assets to generate an Income at Centrelink of $45,700 per year.
But if a single senior had assets of $740,200 in addition to her home then the Asset Test would exclude her from any Age Pension.

A Single non-homeowner with assets of $891,700 could get one dollar per fortnight of Age Pension plus all of the Supplements provided that she was not excluded by the Income Test.

Remember that the Pension you receive is the lower amount after checking against the Income Test and the Assets Test.

Carer Payment reflects Pension Increase September 2016

Carer Payment provides financial support to people who are unable to work in substantial paid employment because they provide full-time daily care to someone with a severe disability or medical condition, or to someone who is frail aged.
The amount of Carer Payment depends on the income and assets of both the carer and the person receiving care. Read more about Adult Carer benefits

The maximum rate of Carer Payment is equivalent to the full Age Pension rate. Therefore Single people receiving the maximum rate of Carer Payment would have their fortnightly Carer Payment increased to $877.10 per fortnight including the Pension Supplements. Remember that if you qualify for Carer Payment, you automatically receive a Pensioner Concession Card.

Disability Support Pension and Age Pension increase September 2016 for Pensioner Couples

Each member of a couple at Centrelink, could get a maximum Pension of $601.50 per fortnight plus Pension Supplements of $59.70 per fortnight. Each member of a couple living together could receive a maximum payment of $661.20 per fortnight, that is, $2.50 per fortnight more.

Remember that a ‘couple at Centrelink’ is any two adults who share domestic arrangements and present socially as a couple. Changes in ‘personal circumstances’ such as becoming a member of a ‘couple at Centrelink’, take effect from the day that a partner moves in until the day that one partner moves out.
The lower rate for members of a couple living together is intended to reflect the shared use of some facilities and services.

The Couples Income Test reduces each person’s pension by 25 cents for each extra dollar of Income of the couple.  After the Pension Increases 20 September 2016, an Age Pensioner couple living together could have a joint Income of $2,694 per fortnight, $70,000 per annum, and not be cut-off by the Income Test from entitlement to that last one dollar per fortnight each of Age Pension and the Pension Supplement.

For a Couple with financial assets of $2,191,000, the deemed financial income would be $70,000 per year.  But the Assets Test would exclude a couple from receiving any Age Pension if they had financial assets of $2.191 million.

A homeowner couple living together could have $1,097,000 of assets in addition to their home before the Asset Test excluded them from that last one dollar per fortnight each of Age Pension and the Pension Supplement.

A non-homeowner couple living together could have $1,248,000 of assets and get that last one dollar per fortnight each of Age Pension and the Pension Supplement provided that the Income Test had not excluded them from any Age Pension.

Disability Pensions and Age Pensions increase September 2016 for Pensioner Couples separated by illness

Centrelink allow for each member of a ‘couple separated by illness’ to receive the Single person rate of Pension but reduced according to the Income Test and Asset Test for the couple. Thus each member of a couple separated by illness who have very few other resources, could receive the new maximum rate of $877.10 per fortnight each, including the Single rate of the Supplements.

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.

Christine could also assist you with collating your personal data, estimating how much Pension or Carer Payment 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.

DVA War Widow Pension increases 20 September 2016

The amount of the DVA Pensions paid as compensation to War Widows increased on 20 September 2016 to $891.30 per fortnight including Supplements. This ‘compensation’ is not subject to any financial means testing.

The means tested Income Support Supplement, ISS, is paid to War Widow and DVA Disability Pensioners who have limited financial resources. The maximum rate of ISS increased to $263.10 per fortnight including Supplements.

Veterans with ‘qualifying service’ can claim the Service Pension from DVA. The Service Pension is paid at the same rates and subject to the same financial means testing as the Age Pension. Read more about veterans pensions and compensation at DVA Pensions and Benefits

Financial Care Services offers Short Consultations to help you check your financial position against the Centrelink financial means tests for a DVA Service Pension or an Age Pension, DSP or a Carer Payment.

To prepare for your Age Pension Short Consultation email now for the Financial Care Services Age Pension Data form. You will also receive the Financial Care Services Financial Services Guide including the Financial Care Services Privacy Policy.

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 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.

To book an appointment for confidential, independent and professional advice about Commonwealth regulated residential aged care, Centrelink, lifestyle or financial issues please contact Christine Hopper 03 9808 0338 or email your enquiry.

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

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