Changes to the Age Pension assets test – Jan 2017

Changes to the Age Pension Assets Test from 1 January 2017

If you are over 65 or close to 65 years of age, it is important that you know about changes the Government has introduced to the pension assets test which will come into effect 1 January 2017 and which may affect your eligibility for the Age Pension. If this doesn't affect you as yet, you may wish to share with family or friends who it may. 

What is the Age Pension assets test?

The Age Pension assets test is a means test, which helps Centrelink determine your eligibility for the age pension and other social security payments, and generally applies to assets that you hold outside the family home.

What are the changes to the Age Pension assets test that will apply from 1 January 2017?

• The lower threshold is increasing. Those with greater assets could see a significant reduction in, or loss of, their age pension entitlement and those with lesser assets could see an increase to their entitlement.

• The rate at which your Age Pension reduces if your assets exceed the lower threshold is increasing from $1.50 to $3 per fortnight for every $1,000 over the threshold – this has the effect of reducing the cut-off limit where an Age Pension is no longer payable.

The table below provides a summary of the current and new Age Pension asset test thresholds. Please note that the lower thresholds have increased and the cut-off thresholds where you are not entitled to an Age Pension have been lowered.

assets-test-jan-17

 

 

 

 

 

 

What happens if I lose entitlement to the Age Pension?

If your Age Pension is no longer payable as a result of the changes to the assets test on 1 January 2017, you will automatically be eligible for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHCC). You will not be subject to the income test which usually applies to the CSHCC. The card gives you access to cheaper prescriptions via the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, bulk-billing rates for doctor’s appointments, and an increase in benefits for medical expenses above a certain threshold via the Medicare Safety Net.

Every state and territory have their own list of concessions available and often private businesses offer discounts or concessions to Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders.

We’re here to help

Contact us on 02 6056 1929 or admin@vividadvisers.com.au if you have any questions about how these changes affect your age pension entitlements.

~ Bronwyn

 

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