Accessing entitlements in retirement
It’s worth taking the time to understand what entitlements are available, how to find out if you’re eligible for them, and when and how you can access them.
Key learnings covered in this topic
- Entitlements available to you in retirement
- How to access these entitlements
- Financial advice available to you
1. The Age Pension
Your income in retirement may be varied and the government Age Pension may be one additional source of income. Paid fortnightly, the pension is designed to support the basic living standards of older Australians who meet age and residency requirements. It’s indexed to ensure it keeps pace with Australian price and wage increases and includes the Pension Supplement, Energy Supplement and Rent Assistance.
How to apply
You can apply for the Age Pension directly through Centrelink. We have also partnered with Retirement Essentials who can help you apply for the Age Pension. You can use their tools and find out your eligibility for the pension and then use their easy-to-follow guide on how to apply.
2. Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC)
Considered the gold standard of concession cards, the CSHC is for retirees who don’t qualify for the Age Pension and is designed to give (low income and self-funded) retirees access to cheaper health care and a range of discounts, if the holder has reached Age Pension age. As an estimate, these savings can add up to around $2,000 to $3,000 per year.1
In addition to health care savings, other discounts include electricity and gas bills, property and water rates, public transport fares and recreational activities.
How to apply
Unlike the Age Pension, only the income test is relevant for eligibility for the CSHC. As at 20 September 2023, the income thresholds are $95,400 for singles and $152,640 for couples.2
- Apply for (claim) the CSHC through Services Australia.
3. Seniors card (state issued)
These are issued by Australian state and territory governments to provide seniors savings on everyday living costs, from retail shops and trades, to travel, financial advice and professional services. Remember, some business won’t offer you a more competitive price upfront, so always ask.
How to apply
Click on your relevant state or territory to apply:
|VIC Seniors Card||NSW Seniors Card||ACT Seniors Card||QLD Seniors Card||WA Seniors Card||TAS Seniors Card||SA Seniors Card||NT Seniors Card|
Accessing your super benefits
While access to your super is a key benefit when you retire and reach your preservation age, it’s worthwhile taking the time to understand the rules around accessing and contributing to your super before you do.
There are benefits that can help you maximise your income in retirement, but timing is crucial to ensure the maximum benefit is received. These include:
- If you have a spouse who is under Age Pension age, you could utilise the ‘bring-forward provisions’ to contribute up to $330,000 to their account as a spouse contribution to improve Age Pension eligibility.
- Moving your super into a pension account (excluding a transition to retirement pension) which has tax-free investment earnings
- Paying down a mortgage on your primary residence to reduce the value of your assessable assets and boost your rate of Age Pension. For example, paying $50,000 off your debt could increase your pension by $3,900 per year.3
- Selling a property and contributing up to $300,000 of proceeds to your super under ‘Downsizing Contributions’ rules.
We can help you with retirement advice
Understanding your entitlements and their benefits can be tricky, but we’re here to support you. As part of your membership, you have access to super-related financial advice over the phone.* Or for more comprehensive advice which can help you maximise your Age Pension entitlements you can book in to see one of our experienced financial planners for a competitive fee.^Book a call-back today.
1 Commonwealth Seniors Health Card - Eligibility & Benefits (retirementessentials.com.au)
2 Income test for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card - Commonwealth Seniors Health Card - Services Australia
3 How to maximise your Age Pension (superguide.com.au)
^Advice is provided by one of our financial planners who are Authorised Representatives of Industry Funds Services Limited (IFS). IFS is responsible for any advice given to you by its Authorised Representatives. Industry Fund Services Limited ABN 54 007 016 195 AFSL 232514.