With the cost of living increasing, having a little extra cash in your pocket can help out in these trying times.
Due to indexation, the Age Pension, Veteran Payment, Disability Support Pension and Carer Payment were increased on 20 September, 2023.
What’s new with your Age Pension?
The maximum rate of the single Age Pension has now risen by $32.70 per fortnight (taking it from $1,064 to $1,096.70), and for couples, by $49.40 per fortnight (taking combined payments from $1,604 to $1,653.40).
The Daily Care Fee has also been affected, as it is indexed to 85 percent of the single Age Pension. For in-home aged care, this means that the daily rates will start at $11.22 per day for a Level One Home Care Package, and scale up to $12.53 per day for Level Four.
Income limits for eligibility for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card are also increasing by $5,400 to $95,400 per annum for singles, and by $8,640 to $152,640 for couples combined – and with deeming rates frozen for two years, more self-funded retirees could now be eligible for concessions, such as the Pensioner Concession card, which enables discounts on utilities and charges.
Further changes in means testing also now permits a home-owning single to have up to $667,500 before losing their part pension, and home-owning couples can have up to $1.003 million. The family home is not included in means testing.
Work without reducing your pension:
Interim changes to the Work Bonus (1 December 2022 – 31 December 2023) means that pensioners over the pension age of 67 still have a further two months to earn an additional $300 a fortnight from working, without causing a reduction in their pension. This temporary Work Bonus credit increase, expiring on December 31, allows pensioners to have up to $11,800 in their income bank. From January 1, 2024 it resets to the usual limit of $7,800.
Whether you are able to work part-time in the community, or from home, the first $300 of fortnightly income from work will not be counted under the pension income test and now single pensioners over Age Pension age, with no other private income, could earn up to $490 a fortnight from work, and still receive the maximum rate of pension. Each payment has different rules, and further details can be found online: www.servicesaustralia.gov.au.
You can also check online to see if you have any ‘Working Credits’ available that might offset a reduction in your payment from casual work. You can access Working Credits through your Centrelink account via www.my.gov.au.
Whilst money is important, especially if you haven’t got much, it’s also good to stay active, be involved and remain engaged socially too – but be sure to gauge your abilities, and always speak to your primary health care provider before starting any new regime.
Source(s): Services Australia, National Seniors, Australian Government Ministry for Government Services, the Department of Social Services.