What benefits are senior citizens entitled to?

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Being of the age to qualify as a Senior citizen does not necessarily mean that you are no longer working and vibrant and active. For many, entering this phase of life is filled with exciting opportunities, new friends and freedom from strict schedules. Therefore, it is very important to take advantage of every entitlement available to you to support your ability to continue to live your best life.

Age Pension

Age pension is the first benefit most senior citizens look into. To qualify there are some simple questions you will need to answer and some financial information you will need to provide to the government. First, you have to determine at what age you are eligible for an age pension payment. If you were born between;

  • 1 July 1952 to 31 December 1953 you may collect at age 65.5
  • 1 January 1954 to 30 June 1055 you may collect at age 66
  • 1 July 1955 to 31 December 1956 you may collect at age 66.6
  • 1 January 1957 to present day you may collect at age 67

Once you identify how old you must be to collect an age pension, you then must be an Australian resident and have lived in Australia for 10 years.

Lastly, you must meet the income and assets test. These sources of income or value can come from within or outside of Australia.

Income Includes Monies Received from The Following Sources:

  1. Pensions
  2. Employment
  3. Annuities
  4. Stock holdings
  5. Investments

 Assets Will Include the Value of The Following:

  1. Business holdings
  2. Property values (excluding the value of your residence)
  3. Cars/Boats/Caravans/Personal aircraft

 Age Pension will be calculated and adjusted in accordance with your overall income and assets. However, the maximum a single person can receive per fortnight is $868.30 and for a couple it is $1,309.00.

Work Bonus

Today many senior citizens prefer to remain a part of the workforce, even if it is part-time. The work bonus program makes it possible for older citizens to remain active in their work communities, offering experience and expertise that is valuable to many employers.  The benefits provide that the first $300.00 earned in a fortnight does not count as employment income. Therefore, it is possible to earn as much as $600.00 a month without it affecting your income/asset test for Age Pension.

Concession Cards

Additional benefits are available through a variety of concession cards. Concession cards give discounts on medical needs, including prescription medicines and can assist you with energy costs.

There are three main cards available to senior citizens. The cards are available depending upon age, citizenship and the types of other benefits you may qualify for or already be receiving. These three cards are;

  1. Pensioner Concession Card – This card provides for a reduction in cost for medical bills, energy bills and public transportation.
  2. Seniors Card – This card offers discounts on public transportation and various other goods and services in the community. In New South Wales you can find out more information at https://www.seniorscard.nsw.gov.au/
  3. Commonwealth Seniors Card – This card gives eligible senior citizens discounts on medical care costs, including the cost of doctor’s appointments and prescriptions.

To obtain these cards you will need to provide additional and/or similar information to determine your eligibility for each card. The required information may include proof of your age, income and asset level, additional benefits you might be receiving from Veterans Affairs, residency requirements and tax information. Upon producing this information one or more of these discount cards may be available to you.

Pension Loan Scheme

Pension loan schemes are available to elderly citizens with equity ownership in their property holdings. To take advantage of using the equity in your home as additional income you will still have to meet the age and residency requirements and the income/asset means tests. This program allows those who qualify to take up to two weeks of their age pension and an additional 150% of their maximum age pension from the equity in their home. This option can prove to be more complicated and may have some additional financial considerations. As such, prior to opting to enter into borrowing from your home and/or property equity holdings, it is imperative you consult with a financial advisor and legal counsel.

Since people are living longer healthier lives, planning for and living your best retirement involves understanding all of your financial options and available benefits. When you take the time to investigate all of your senior citizen entitlements, you have an excellent chance of living a comfortable and enjoyable retirement.

In the event that you find yourself in need of assistance regarding Off the Plan Property purchases, please contact the law offices of Owen Hodge Lawyers. At Owen Hodge, we are always happy to assist clients in understanding the full ramifications of any and all of your legal needs. Please feel free to call us at your earliest convenience to schedule a consultation at 1800 780 770.

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