Disability Support and Age Pension Increases September 2017

Disability Support and Age Pension Increases September 2017

By Christine Hopper

The Commonwealth has granted Centrelink Disability Support and Age Pension increases September 2017. DVA Pension and Income Support Supplement also increase from 20 September 2017.

The full rates of income support Pension benefits increased by 0.7%. The Pension related daily care fees for Commonwealth regulated aged care were increased to reflect the Pension increases of 20 September 2017.

Disability Pensions and Age Pensions increases September 2017 for Single Pensioners.

The new maximum total payment for a Single Pensioner is $894.40 per fortnight. That is, an additional $6.10 per fortnight.
The maximum payment for a Single Pensioner includes the full rate of Pension of $814.00 per fortnight.
Pension Supplements are paid to Single Centrelink clients who receive at least one dollar of Pension per fortnight. The Pension Supplements now total $80.40 per fortnight for a single pensioner.

Income and Asset Test cut-off levels after Pension Increases September 2017 for single pensioners

A Single Age Pensioner would need to have an income over $1,794 per fortnight,$46,600 per year, before the Income Test cut-out her final one dollar per fortnight of Age Pension. With other income of $46,600 per year, a single pensioner gets all of the Supplements plus one dollar per fortnight of Pension.

If your only Income were the deemed rate on your financial assets then you would need more than $1,457,000 of financial assets to generate an Income at Centrelink of $46,600 per year.

But if a single senior had assets of $525,000 in addition to her home then the Asset Test would exclude her from any Age Pension.

A Single non-homeowner with assets of $727,750 could get one dollar per fortnight of Age Pension provided that she was not excluded by the Income Test. If she is entitled to one dollar per fortnight of Age Pension than she would receive the Pension Supplements as well.

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

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 ‘personal financial factual information only consultations’ to help you check your financial position against the means tests for an Age Pension. Start by contacting Christine to arrange a short $99 consultation for Short ‘personal financial factual information’ only.

Carer Payment reflects Pension Increases September 2017

Carer Payment provides financial support to people who are unable to work in substantial paid employment because they provide full-time daily care. Your care recipient must be someone with a severe disability or medical condition, or 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 $894.40 per fortnight. This maximum Carer Payment rate includes the Pension Supplements.
Remember that if you qualify for Carer Payment, you automatically receive a Pensioner Concession Card.

Disability Support Pension and Age Pension increases September 2017 for Pensioner Couples

Each member of a couple living together could receive a maximum payment of $674.20 per fortnight.  That means $4.60 per fortnight more for each member of a Pensioner couple from 20 September 2017. Each member of a couple at Centrelink, could get a maximum Pension of $613.60 per fortnight. The Pension Supplements increased to $60.60 per fortnight for each member of a pensioner couple.

Remember that a ‘couple at Centrelink’ is any two adults who share domestic arrangements and present socially as a couple. Becoming a member of a ‘couple at Centrelink’ is a change in your ‘personal circumstances’.  These changes impact your Pension 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. You cannot be a single person at Centrelink just because you and your domestic partner have separate finances.

Income and Asset Test cut-off levels after Pension Increases September 2017 for pensioner couples

The Couples Income Test reduces each person’s pension by 25 cents for each extra dollar of Income of the couple.

After the Pension increase on 20 September 2017, an Age Pensioner couple living together could have a joint Income of $2,750 per fortnight, and still be Pensioners. An income over $71,500 per annum, has them cut-off by the Income Test from entitlement to that last one dollar per fortnight each of Age Pension. They would lose the Pension Supplement and the Pensioner Concession Card when their income exceeds $2,750 per fortnight.

For a Couple with financial assets of $2,238,000 the deemed financial income would be $71,500 per year. But the Assets Test would exclude a couple from receiving any Age Pension if they had financial assets of $2 million.

A homeowner couple living together could have $788,900 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 $991,900 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 increases September 2017 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 $894.40 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 ‘personal financial factual information only consultations’ 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 to check your position.  Short ‘personal financial factual information’ only consultations’ are limited to 45 minutes in person or by telephone and/or email. Please ask for a special ‘personal financial factual information only consultation’ when you book your appointment.

Short ‘personal financial factual information’ only consultations’ are limited to estimating your potential Pension amount and do not allow for any element of ‘financial advice’. Financial Care Services charges professional hourly rate fees for all consultations that include financial advice and/or discussions about your financial position.

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 September 2017

The amount of the DVA Pensions paid as compensation to War Widows increased on 20 September 2017 to $909.10 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 $268.50 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 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.

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 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.

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