It’s that time of the year when you may notice a change in your rate of pension.
On 20 March and 20 September every year, Services Australia does two things that can impact how much pension you get each fortnight.
If you have any market-linked investments, like shares or managed funds, Services Australia re-values those investments based on changes to the market. This could lead to an increase or decrease in your fortnightly payment.
Account based pensions are re-valued at different times of the year, so if you have any of these you may see changes to your payments at other times throughout the year.
The other major change that happens is the indexing of pension rates.
Twice a year, the rate is indexed against three standards, including the Consumer Price Index. Whichever indicates the largest increase is used to set the rate for the next six months. On 20 September 2021, the maximum rate of Age Pension, Carer Payment and Disability Support Pension increased by $14.80 a fortnight for singles (to $967.50) and $22.40 a fortnight for couples combined (to $1,458.60).
This also means the income and assets cut-off points, which is the amount you can earn or own before you lose eligibility for a pension altogether, has also increased.
You won’t be eligible for a pension under the income test if your assessable income is over $54,990 per annum for single people, or $84,167 per annum combined for couples. The cut-off points can be higher if you get income from employment (including self-employment) and can access the $300 per fortnight Work Bonus.
You won’t be eligible for a pension under the assets test if you’re a homeowner and your assessable assets are over $593,000 for single people, or $891,500 combined for couples. You can have more assessable assets if you don’t own the home you’re living in.
You can find the new limits on our website, www.servicesaustralia.gov.au. Just search ‘Income test’ and ‘Assets test’ from the homepage.
That’s all for this month. Until next time.
If you have a question of a general nature for Services Australia general manager Hank Jongen, simply email email@example.com with Hank in the subject line.