Are you receiving all your government benefits?

Written by: Kurt Haller | Certified Financial Planner, Hallerwealth | January 31, 2019

Many retirees look for ways to make their money last longer. A potential added top up from the government may be just what’s needed for the years ahead. Getting a better understanding of entitlements is the first step toward maximising your benefits. 

There are many government benefits you might be entitled to but may not be aware of. Our qualified team can help you to successfully navigate the system to see if you’re eligible and help you make the most of them. Here are some of the benefits: 

• Concession cards: Save on everyday costs like medicine and public transport if you’re eligible.
• Income and assets tests: We can explore different ways to improve asset test outcomes.
• Health support: Additional benefits may be available with certain types of disability.
• Changes to laws: Be advised on how legislation changes may impact your current situation.
• Bereavement: Support after a partner’s passing may be available to you.
• Age pension: Access to the age pension may be available once you reach pension age.
• Application assistance: Our team can help ensure you get your application right and avoid costly errors.
• Mobility: Allowances may be available depending on your circumstances.
• Asset holdings: Help plan your asset holdings to maximise benefits.
• Carer assistance: Caring for a loved one may entitle you to financial support.

As at January 2019, the maximum rate for the Age Pension is $834.40 for a single person per fortnight. If you are a couple, the rate is $629 each per fortnight. These amounts exclude the pension and clean energy supplements, which you may receive as an additional payment to the base pension. For singles the maximum combined supplement rate is $81.90 a fortnight. For couples it is $61.70 each a fortnight. And always remember that your age pension may be affected when your circumstances change. Your eligibility for the Age Pension is worked out by taking into account how much income you get (the income test) and how much your assets are worth (the assets test). The test that results in the lower pension rate will be the one applied.

Assets test
To work out how much pension you may receive, the value of your assets is taken into account. If you have any assets overseas, their value will be converted into the equivalent Australian dollar amount. Your home, if you live in it, is not counted as an asset. If your assets exceed a certain threshold, your pension payment will be reduced. 

Income test
Income includes money from employment; pensions/annuities; money deemed to be earned from investments; and money that you salary sacrifice. It also includes money from outside Australia. If your income is above a certain limit, your pension payment will be reduced.

Even if you don’t qualify for the Age Pension, you may still be able to get a concession card. For retirees, there are two types of concession cards that provide a range of benefits, including help
with the cost of medicines.

• Commonwealth Seniors Health Card: Helps with the cost of prescription medicines and other health services if you are of pension age but do not qualify for the Age Pension.

• Pensioner Concession Card: Entitles pensioners to reduced cost prescription medicines, healthcare concessions and other concessions offered by state and territory governments and local councils.

If you’re ready to take action and access all of your entitlements, we could get started by:

• Identifying and explaining the benefits you may be entitled to

• Helping you apply for the right benefits, concessions and other payments

• Providing advice and expert strategies to help you claim the maximum amount

I’ve helped my clients pack more into their retirement by maximising their government entitlements. And I’d like to help you too. Find out how you could achieve financial freedom in retirement and speak to Hallerwealth today. 


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