Whether you are nearing retirement age, or you have already retired, it is extremely important that you understand all the pensioner financial assistance options that are available to you. These financial assistance programs are designed to help those people who have reached retirement age, live comfortably during their retirement years. These programs either provide valuable income support to seniors, or help to offset some of the senior’s daily living expenses. Below is a closer look at some of the main pensioner financial assistance options available to seniors.
Nearly every worker in Australia has a superannuation account set up to provide much needed income during retirement. Employers are required to put a percentage of each employee’s wages into a superannuation account. In addition, Australians can also add to this account throughout their working career. Once a senior reaches retirement age, they can have access to their superannuation account, either through a one-time lump sum payment, regular payments over the duration of their retirement, or a combination of both. While everyone can decide the best way to access their superannuation funds, it is important to remember that these funds must last throughout your retirement.
The current age a resident of Australia must be to collect Age Pension funds is 65-years old, but this age limit is going to slowing increase over the next several years to 67-years old by 2023. Once you reach this age, you may be eligible for Age Pension payments through the Centrelink office if you meet the income and assets test. The current maximum payment for Age Pension is $842.80 for single seniors and $635.30 per person for married couples. Payments are made on a fortnightly basis.
If you qualify for Age Pension, you may also qualify for Pension Supplement payments. These payments are paid quarterly in March, June, September, and December. The purpose of this supplemental payment is to help offset some of the pensioner’s normal expenses, such as phone, energy, motor vehicle, and rates. The annual payment is currently set at a maximum of $876.20 for single seniors and $664.40 per person for married couples.
Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
If you are old enough to receive Age Pension payments, but do not qualify for these payments or from any payments from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, then you may be eligible for this Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. You must still meet income and residential requirement, but if you qualify, it can save you a substantial amount of money on our prescription medicine.
If you have reached retirement age, but have decided to continue working on a part-time basis, you may be eligible for a Work Bonus. This special bonus is designed to encourage seniors to continue working after they reach their retirement age rather the collecting Age Pension payments.
Pensioner Concession Card
If you are receiving Age Pension payments, then you automatically qualify for a Pensioner Concession Card. This card can be used at various locations around Australia and offers concessions for various health services. In addition, it give seniors access to discounted rates for various goods and services, including lower water and property rates, reduced energy bills, lower rates for public transportation, and a discount at some retail stores.
The majority of these programs are offered directly through the Centrelink office. It is vital that as soon as your reach your retirement age, you contact your local Centrelink office. They will help you complete an application and let you know what benefits you qualify for based on your specific information. You should also plan to attend a Financial Information Service (FIS) Seminar, which provide valuable information about planning for your retirement, or you can speak to a FIS offers for more specific retirement questions.