Purpose of Payment/Benefit
The Age Pension is designed to provide income support to older Australians who need it, while encouraging pensioners to maximise their overall incomes. The Age Pension is paid to people who meet age and residency requirements. Pension rates are indexed to ensure they keep pace with Australian price and wage increases.
Men born before 1 July 1952 are eligible at age 65.
From 1 July 2011, women born between 1 July 1947 and 31 December 1948 will qualify at 64 years and 6 months. For women born between 1 January 1949 and 30 June 1952, the qualifying age is 65 years.
For both men and women born on or after 1 July 1952 the pension age will progressively increase from 65 to 67, starting on 1 July 2017, reaching 67 in 2023. See the table below.
|Date of Birth||Qualifying age|
|1 July 1952 to 31 December 1953||65 years and 6 months|
|1 January 1954 to 30 June 1955||66 years|
|1 July 1955 to 31 December 1956||66 years and 6 months|
|1 January 1957||67 years|
To qualify for Age Pension you must be an Australian resident (that is, living in Australia on a permanent basis) and in Australia on the day the claim is lodged, and must also satisfy one of the following:
- be an Australian resident for a total of at least 10 years, with at least five of these years in one period; or
- have a qualifying residence exemption (refugees and people admitted to Australia under special humanitarian programs); or
- be a woman who is widowed in Australia when both she and her late partner were Australian residents, and who has 104 weeks residence immediately prior to claim; or
- be receiving Widow B Pension, Widow Allowance, Mature Age Allowance or Partner Allowance immediately before reaching pension age.
Special rules apply to residence in countries with which Australia has an International Social Security Agreement. Residence in these countries may count towards the minimum 10-year residence requirement.
Means Test Qualifications
The Age Pension is subject to an income test and an assets test. You will be paid under the test that produces the lower rate of payment. Age Pension entitlements are also subject to special rules for assessing compensation payments.
To recognise the contribution made by older Australians to the workplace, from 1 July 2011 the choice will be easier for those who want to enter or remain in the workforce. The Work Bonus will expand to allow age pensioners, especially those with seasonal or intermittent jobs, to keep more of their pension if they choose to work.
Eligible pensioners can earn up to $250 a fortnight without it being assessed as income under the pension income test. Any unused amount of the fortnightly $250 Work Bonus will accumulate in an 'Employment Income Concession Bank’, up to a maximum amount of $6,500.
Credit in the income bank can then be carried forward to future years and be used to offset employment income that would otherwise be assessable under the pension income test. An eligible pensioner couple can each accumulate $6,500 - a combined total of $13,000.
The Work Bonus supports older Australians to keep more of their pension if they choose to work, providing greater support for them to participate in all aspects of community life.
For more information go to the Work Bonus factsheet.
Base pensions are indexed twice a year, on 20 March and 20 September, to reflect changes in pensioners’ costs of living and wages. The pension is increased to reflect growth in the Consumer Price Index and the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index, whichever is higher. When wages grow more quickly than prices, the pension is increased to the wages benchmark. The wages benchmark sets the combined couple rate of pension at 41.76 per cent of Male Total Average Weekly Earnings. The single rate of pension is two-thirds of the couple rate.
For Age Pension rates refer to the Department of Human Services.
The vast majority of Age Pensions are paid by the Department of Human Services (DHS). Age pensioners who also receive a Disability Pension from the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) have the choice of having their Age Pension paid by either DVA or DHS.
For further information about the Age Pension, please contact Centrelink on 13 2300 or visit the Age Pension section of the DHS website or if you are a veteran go to the Department of Veterans' Affairs website.