The Age Pension currently supports almost two thirds of Australians over the age of 65, and in the future even more will rely on it.

Learn whether you can receive the Age Pension, how it works, and other pensioner benefits you might be able to receive.

For many Australians, the Age Pension is an important part of a broader retirement plan helping them to retire on their own terms. It can help to pay for living expenses, and supplement other retirement income streams.

 

What is the Age Pension? 

 

The Age Pension is a regular fortnightly payment from the Australian Government. It supports the retirement plan for millions of Australians.

 

It’s paid to Australians who are eligible based on their age, residency, and financial profile.  From 1 July 2023, you’ll need to be 67 to be eligible for the Age Pension if you’re born on or after 1 January 1957. 

 

There are other types of retirement income streams you can set up with your super savings to support your Age Pension payments. These might include an account-based pension, or an annuity.  

 

Super income streams can be useful to diversify your retirement income. However, the amount of super savings you have can impact how much Age Pension you receive.

 

It's also worth noting that you may be able to access your super through a pension stream before you're eligible for the Age Pension.

Age Pension eligibility

 

Your eligibility for the Age Pension will be decided by three key factors. The government will assess your situation against these factors to determine whether you can receive the Age Pension, and how much you can get. 

 

These three factors are:

 

Date of birth
Age Pension eligibility age
Date of birth

From 1 January 1957

Age Pension eligibility age

67

Date of birth

1 July 1955 – 31 December 1956

Age Pension eligibility age

66.5

Date of birth

1 January 1954 – 30 June 1955

Age Pension eligibility age

66

Date of birth

1 July 1952 – 31 December 1953

Age Pension eligibility age

65.5

Date of birth

Before 1 July 1952

Age Pension eligibility age

65

Tip: The age you can access your super and the age you’ll be eligible for the Age Pension won’t necessarily be the same. Generally, you can access your super savings first.

To be eligible for the Age Pension, you’ll need to be an Australian resident, and in Australia on the day the claim is lodged. You'll also typically need to have lived in Australia for at least 10 years. For at least five of these years, there should’ve been no break in your residence.

If you’re eligible based on your age and residency, your income and assets will then determine how much you can receive in Age Pension payments, if any. You can read more about the income and asset tests below.

Check your Age Pension eligibility

The Retirement Essentials free Age Pension Eligibility Calculator can help you work out if you’re eligible for the Age Pension (or the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card), and how much you could receive.   

 

Retirement Essentials are experts in helping people apply for and retain the Age Pension. We’ve teamed up with them to help ease the process for you. You can start by using their free Age Pension Eligibility Calculator.

 

As a CFS member, you can also receive a 10% discount on selected Retirement Essentials services. These include lodging and managing your Age Pension or Commonwealth Seniors Health Card application. 

Can only one member of a couple claim the Age Pension? 

 

If you’re in a couple, you’ll be assessed as a couple. This applies whether you’re married, separated, or living with a de facto partner.  

 

If you’re eligible for the Age Pension as a couple, one person will receive half of the “couple (combined) rate”. The amount you receive is based on Services Australia’s assessment of your combined income and assets.  

 

Given this payment structure, it’s important to let Services Australia know when, and if, there are any changes to your relationship.

What is the Age Pension rate? How is it calculated? 

 

Your individual Age Pension rate is worked out based on the “income test” and ”assets test”. If you’re in a couple, your combined income and assets will determine your rate.  

 

There’s a different maximum Age Pension rate for individuals and couples. The table below shows the current maximum rates in Australia per fortnight. 

 

Status
Fortnightly*
Annually*
Status
Single
Fortnightly*
Single

$1,096.70

Annually*
Single

$28,514.20

Status
Couple (each)
Fortnightly*
Couple (each)

$826.70

Annually*
Couple (each)

$21,494.20

Status
Couple (combined)
Fortnightly*
Couple (combined)

$1,653.40 

Annually*
Couple (combined)

$42,988.40 

* Includes basic rate plus maximum pension and energy supplements. 

What’s the difference between an income test and an assets test? 

 

Services Australia will assess both your income and your assets before you can start receiving the Age Pension. There’s a certain amount of income you can earn, and assets you can hold, and still receive the maximum Age Pension. However, once you start to pass a certain threshold this amount will be gradually reduced. If your income exceeds the “cut off” point, you won’t be eligible for the Age Pension. 

 

The income test looks at all your income sources. These include: 

  • Employment income: the income you receive from businesses you own and the income you earn from employment.  
  • Investment income: this includes your super savings and the income you’ve accumulated from financial assets like shares. 

If the combined income from all your sources exceeds the “cut off point”, you won’t be able to get the Age Pension. See the table below for the fortnightly cut-off points.  

Income test thresholds from 20 September 2023
Full Age Pension cut off
Part Age Pension cut off

Single 

Full Age Pension cut off

$204 per fortnight

Part Age Pension cut off

$2,397.40 per fortnight 

Previous threshold 

Full Age Pension cut off

$204 per fortnight 

Part Age Pension cut off

$2,332 per fortnight 

Couple (combined)

Full Age Pension cut off

$360 per fortnight

Part Age Pension cut off

$3,666.80 per fortnight

Previous threshold 

Full Age Pension cut off

$360 per fortnight 

Part Age Pension cut off

$3,568 per fortnight 

Tip: The Work Bonus may help you receive more income from working, without reducing your pension. The government has also increased the maximum Work Bonus balance to $11,800 from 1 December 2022 to 31 December 2023.

 

You can learn more about the work bonus here.

 

To get the full Age Pension, your fortnightly income needs to be less than $204. If you’re in a couple, your combined fortnightly income needs to be under $360. Your pension will reduce by 50 cents for every dollar you earn over this threshold.

The assets test looks at most property and items you, and your partner, own. The value is typically worked out as though you were selling your assets at their market value. Note that the value of your family home is excluded from the test. The asset types can include: 

  • Real estate 
  • Financial investments 
  • Other income streams 
  • Motor vehicles 
  • Household items 
  • Business assets 

Services Australia also predicts how much you will earn over the next 12 months from things like super and investments. The percentage they use is called a “deeming rate”. This estimate also affects the payment rates of your Age Pension under the income test (see above).  

 

To miss out on qualifying for the Age Pension under the asset test, you need to be a homeowner and have more than $667,500 (single) or $1,003,000 (couple combined) in assets outside of your family home. 

How to apply for or access your Age Pension

 

You can apply for the Age Pension through Services Australia here.

 

If you’re a CFS member, and you’ve already set up your Age Pension, you can access your details by following these steps.

When will the Age Pension stop in Australia?

 

The government’s most recent retirement income review suggests the Age Pension will remain affordable for the government well into the future.

 

Despite this, some Australians worry the Age Pension won’t exist by the time they retire. At present, there are no indications this is going to be the case.

 

The Retirement Income Review published in 2020 showed Australia’s retirement income system is currently effective, stable, and sustainable.

 

Worth noting, Australia’s ageing population means that an increasing proportion of voters will be pensioners in the future. This means that as a policy, reducing or stopping the age pension is likely to become more unpopular in time.

Will my Age Pension be affected if I work part-time? 

 

This depends on how much you’re earning from part-time work. You could work and still receive the Age Pension, but once you exceed a certain threshold your payments will be reduced.  

 

If you’re currently receiving the Age Pension, you can earn up to $300 each fortnight without impacting your entitlements. If you earn more than $300, your income test may be affected, and your payment could be reduced.  

Do I get rent assistance while receiving the Age Pension?  

 

You may be eligible to receive rent assistance while receiving the Age Pension, a Carer payment, or Disability Support pension if you’re renting the home you live in.  

Will my Age Pension be impacted if I live overseas?

 

You might be able to receive the Age Pension for the entire time you’re living outside of Australia. However, this will depend on your personal situation. 

 

Your first step should be to tell Services Australia that you’re travelling overseas, so they’re aware of your plans.

 

There are some conditions that may affect Age Pension payments, such as the length of time you’re going to be away or receiving a social security payment in another country.

 

See the Services Australia website for more information. 

What else should I know?

 

The Age Pension is a government benefit with fixed payments you can only receive based on your eligibility, but there are other pension products you can set up. For example, an account-based pension (or allocated pension) is a flexible and tax-effective way of creating an income stream from your super savings when you retire. 

 

The rules around the Age Pension can also be a bit tricky to navigate, so consider speaking to your financial adviser, or use our find an adviser service to locate one near you.

 

They’ll review your personal situation and help you find the solution which best suits your life-stage, financial goals, and risk preference. 

What’s next?

Account-based pensions

Account-based pensions

Learn how they work, how you can start one, and the benefits of setting one up.

 

Retirement Calculator

Retirement Calculator

Quickly and easily estimate how much super you may have in retirement and how much you may need.

Check your Age Pension eligibility

Check your Age Pension eligibility

Navigate the Age Pension process with ease with Retirement Essentials’ free Age Pension Eligibility Calculator.

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Disclaimer

Avanteos Investments Limited ABN 20 096 259 979, AFSL 245531 (AIL) is the trustee of the Colonial First State FirstChoice Superannuation Trust ABN 26 458 298 557 and issuer of FirstChoice range of super and pension products. Colonial First State Investments Limited ABN 98 002 348 352, AFSL 232468 (CFSIL) is the responsible entity and issuer of products made available under FirstChoice Investments and FirstChoice Wholesale Investments.

 

Information on this webpage is provided by AIL and CFSIL. It may include general advice but does not consider your individual objectives, financial situation, needs or tax circumstances. You can find the target market determinations (TMD) for our financial products at  https://www.cfs.com.au/tmd which include a description of who a financial product might suit. You should read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Financial Services Guide (FSG) carefully, assess whether the information is appropriate for you, and consider talking to a financial adviser before making an investment decision. You can get the PDS and FSG at www.cfs.com.au or by calling us on 13 13 36.