Typically, when a person reaches retirement age and stops working, at least on a full-time basis, they must take a close look at their financial situation. It is true that you may have to limit some of your spending now that you are on a fixed income. However, there are many programs available that provide financial assistance to seniors during their retirement years. These benefits and programs help to provide a steady stream of income to pensioners throughout their retirement. Other benefits help to offset some of the senior’s every day expenses to minimise their actual out-of-pocket expenses.
There are several ways in which seniors can receive regular income that will last throughout the duration of their retirement.
- Superannuation Account. Nearly every working Australian has a superannuation account that their employer has paid into during the duration of their employment. Workers are also able to pay into their super account as a means of setting money aside for their retirement. If you currently have multiple superannuation account, it is best to condense them into just one account. This will reduce the amount of yearly fees you need to pay and make it easier to manage. When deciding how to receive payments from you super account, you want to make sure you select a method that will allow these funds to last throughout the duration of you retirement.
- Age Pension. Age Pension payments are paid through the Centrelink office on a fortnightly basis. You must pass the income and assets test to qualify for these payments, as well as, meet age and residency requirements. Fortnightly payments are based on your income, but can be as much as $842.80 per single person or $635.30 per married person.
- Service Pension. If you served in the Australian military, you may be eligible for Service Pension and other benefits through the Department of Veteran Affairs. Oftentimes veterans can collect this pension five years earlier than Age Pension payment. It is important to contact the Department of Veteran Affairs to see what you qualify for after retirement.
Other programs are designed to help seniors offset some of the costs for maintaining their household. Most of these benefits have both income and residency requirements, and are obtained by completing an application with the Centrelink office.
- Rent Assistance. Rent assistance will help offset the overall costs of your rent on a fortnightly basis. You must meet income requirements and the amount of assistance you will receive depends on your income.
- Seniors Supplement. If you are receiving Age Pension, or of Age Pension age, you may qualify for these Seniors Supplement payments. These payments are made on the 20th of March, June, September, and December, and are designed to help offset the cost of rates, energy bills, motor vehicle payments, and phone costs for seniors.
- Pensioners Concessions Card. This special card will grant pensioners special discounts on many household expenses, such as lower medical expenses, cheaper utility bills, reduced prescription medicine, lower rates for public transport, and a discount at some local retailers.
Loans for Pensioners
- Advance Centrelink Payment. If you receive Age Pension payments and need some extra money to pay your bills, you may be eligible for an advance payment. This advance payment, works like a no-interest loan and will need to be repaid over the course of several months. Your repayments will be directly taken out of your upcoming Age Pension payments until the amount is paid in full.
- Pensioner Loan Scheme. If you are of Age Pension age, but did not qualify for Age Pension payments due to your income or assets, you may be eligible for a loan under the Pensioner Loan Scheme. These are low-interest loans that do require you to have real estate to use as collateral.
If you are close to retirement, or already retired, it is important that you contact the necessary organisations to get the support you deserve. These extra payments and benefits may be just what you need to remain financially stable during your retirement years. These payments can also help you stretch out the funds in your superannuation account, so they will be able to support you throughout your retirement.
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