Age Pension Eligibility

Australian Age Pension Eligibility Requirements

Information verified correct on March 31st, 2015

To qualify for the Age Pension, there are age and residence requirements that you must satisfy.

Getting older usually brings with it plenty of life changes. For many Australians, one of the major lifestyle changes which comes with becoming a senior is that you may need to apply for and live off of the pension.

The Age Pension is a scheme which pays out a steady income to eligible Australians, or in the case of those with a larger amount of money, a supplement to help them cope with the costs of living. All the monies that are paid out under this scheme come from different types of tax collections and are the sole responsibility of the Australian government. As with most government payments, it has eligibility requirements and a process which must be followed in order to start receiving payments.

If you are in need of finance, please check our guide to loans for pensioners and seniors

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Eligibility requirements for Age Pension

Below are the eligibility requirements that anyone seeking the Age Pension needs to satisfy.

Age requirements for the Age Pension

The age requirements for the Age Pension differ depending on whether you’re a female or male and when you were born and will increase on 1 July 2017 to a qualifying age of 65 and a half years. After this, the age will increase by six months every two years until it reaches 67 by 1 July 2023. To find out the age requirements for the Age Pension read the table below.

Born Years of age - Women Years of age - Men
1 Jul 1947 - 31 Dec 1948 64.5 65
1 Jan 1949 - 30 Jun 1952 65 65
1 Jul 1952 - 31 Dec 1953 65.5 65.5
1 Jan 1954 - 30 Jun 1955 66 66
1 Jan 1954 - 30 Jun 1955 66 66
1 Jul 1955 - 31 Dec 1956 66.5 66.5
After 1 Jan 1957 67 67

*Table taken from the Department of Human Services

Residence requirements

In addition to the age requirements, you also have to meet residence requirements in order to be eligible for payments for the age pension, which currently are;

  • Citizenship. If you are an Australian citizen and have been residing in Australia then you can be eligible for the age pension. New Zealand citizens may also be eligible for age pension in Australia as long as they were in Australia on the date 26th February 2001, or were living in the country for at least one year in the two years before this qualifying date. People who have been living in Australia under a permanent residence visa may also be eligible for age pension.
  • 10 year residence requirements. This requirement has to be met by any person who wants to receive an age pension. The 10 year qualifying residence requirement states that you have to be living in the country continuously for a period of 10 years. If you have lived in Australia on and off, then the total of all such periods of residence must be equal to or more than 10 years. Within these smaller periods, there should be at least one period where you have lived in Australia continuously for five years.

Income test requirements

There's also an income test the Government will carry out to assess whether or not you're eligible for the Age Pension. The income test will apply to the following payments and family situations:

  • Age Pension
  • Wife Pension
  • Widow B Pension
  • Bereavement Allowance
  • Carer Payment
  • Disability Support Pension

You will be exempt from the income test if you are permanently blind and receive Age Pension or Disability Support Pension and you also do not receive rent assistance.

There are different income cut-off points that apply depending on whether you are single, married, disabled, if you have any dependents, etc.

If you earn enough income your payment is reduced to $0. Take a look at the table below to see what the cut-off point is for your family situation. If you earn below the amount set for your situation you may be eligible for the pension.

Please be aware your payment eligibility will depend on your specific circumstances and this table should just be used as a guide.

Your family situation Maximum you can earn per fortnight
Single $1,810.20
Couple (combined) $2,769.60
Illness separated (couple combined) $3,584.40
Transitional rate pensioners - Single $1,907.25
Transitional rate pensioners - Couple (combined) $3,100.50
Transitional rate pensioners - Illness separated (couple combined) $3,778.50

Figures as of 6th February 2014

If your income is below these limits, then the amount of pension you are eligible to receive will also depend on your income. Check the Human Services website to see up to date information on what you are eligible for.

Asset requirements

There are limits to the amount of assets you can own when receiving the Age Pension. Like the income tests mentioned above, the limit of assets you can own depends on your status, including if you're single, a couple, a couple separated by illness, or a couple where only one partner is eligible for the pension.

In fact, for every $1000 your asset is worth over the limit, your pension will be reduced by $1.50 per fortnight. Assets include cash, gifts, real estate, businesses, farms, vehicles, life insurance policies and more.

Limits are updated each year in January, March and September, so be sure to visit the Department of Human Services for current information.

The following tables outline the asset test limits for allowances, full pensions and past pensions. This table should only be used as a guide and for up to date asset test limits you should visit the Human Services website.

For allowances and full pensions the asset tests are the following:

Family situation Limit for Homeowners Limit for non-homeowners
Single $196,750 $339,250
Couple (combined) $279,000 $421,500
Illness separated (couple combined) $279,000 $421,500
One partner eligible (combined assets) $279,000 $421,500

*Figures as of 6th February 2014

For part pensions your assets must be less than the following:

Family situation For homeowners For non-homeowners
Single $784,250 $890,750
Couple (combined) $1,110,500 $1,253,000
Illness separated (couple combined) $1,382,000 $1,524,500
One partner eligible $1,110,500 $1,253,000

*Figures as of 6th February 2014

If you are a transitional homeowner your assets will need to be less than the following:

Family situation For homeowners For non-homeowners
Single $663,750 $806,250
Couple (combined) $1,032,500 $1,175,000
Illness separated (couple combined) $1,213,000 $1,355,500
One partner eligible (combined assets) $1,032,500 $1,175,000

*Figures as of 6th February 2014

How to apply for the Age Pension

If you’re eligible for the Age Pension, you can apply; however, the rate at which you will be paid the pension will be determined by the assets that you own as well as the income that you are earning. Hence, the results of your income and assets test are vital to the rate of Age Pension you will receive.

  • Income test for age pension in Australia. If you are a single person and your income from all sources is equal to or less than $156 every fortnight, then you will be eligible to receive the full age pension from the government. However, if your income exceeds this limit, you will not get the full rate of age pension but can receive part pension. The minimum income requirements for a couple are lower than for single people. Hence, if you are living as a couple, you should be earning a combined income of less than $276 every fortnight in order to receive full rate of age pension.
  • Assets test for age pension in Australia. Apart from the income test, the asset test will also determine the rate at which your age pension will be paid. If you are a single person and you own a home in Australia, then your total asset value should be lower than $196,750 in order to qualify for the full rate of payment of age pension. If you do not own a home, your asset value should be lower than $339,250. This amount differs for a couple and also depends on whether you own a home or not.

Can I get the Age Pension while living overseas?

Australia is an expensive country, so it's easy to see why many Australians reaching pension age or already receiving a pension may consider countries with cheaper living costs such as Thailand or Bali.

If you've already been receiving the Age Pension for greater than two years while in Australia you can move overseas and receive the pension. The amount you'll receive depends on how long you'll stay overseas and how long you lived in Australia since being 16.

Living overseas for greater than 26 weeks will see your pension reduced to an amount in proportion to the number of years you were an Australian resident once over the age of 16. If you've lived in Australia for greater than 25 years you'll receive the full amount.

If you've lived in Australia for less than 25 years you'll receive an amount in proportion to the years as a resident.

If you've come back to Australia and have started receiving the Age Pension in the last two years you won't be able to receive the Age Pension overseas. In these cases you must live in Australia for at least two years since your last arrival for residence.

Remember too that countries like Austria, New Zealand, Canada, Chile, Greece, Italy and the USA have social security agreements which will in some cases continue your payments, so be sure to check on the Department of Human Services for more information regarding this.

Did you know?

Remember, those who are blind and have reached the minimum age for age pension, may not be required to fulfil any asset or income requirements in order to get the Age Pension.

Age Pension benefits at a glance

Recipients of the Age Pension receive different amounts depending on whether or not they’re single, a couple or a couple separated due to illness.

The payment rates are as follows:

Status Maximum basic rate per fortnight
Single $733.70
Couple $553.10 each or $1,106.20 combined
Couple separated by illness $733.70 each

Transaction accounts and the Age Pension

One of the ways to receive your Age Pension is directly to your bank account. This will involve the Department of Human Services paying your pension into what’s usually your transaction account. From here you can access your pension to pay for groceries, medical expenses and any other expenses you may have.

How to compare transaction accounts

If you don’t yet have a transaction account and would like one to receive your Age Pension, or if you have one already and want to ensure it’ll provide you with the features you need when receiving the Age Pension, consider the following points:

What interest rate does it earn?

Most transaction accounts will earn little interest, but some have higher interest earning capabilities. Decide whether or not you want your transaction account to earn interest or you might also want to consider opening a savings account.

What are the monthly fees you’ll pay?

Some transaction accounts will charge a monthly fee which they’ll waive if enough money is deposited into the account each month. For most accounts, this threshold is $2,000, but be sure to check with any accounts you’re interested in. There are also accounts with no monthly fees whatsoever, regardless of the amount which is deposited into it.

How can I access my money?

Most transaction accounts can allow access through the internet and over the telephone, but some transaction accounts are offered by online providers, meaning they might not have large branch networks. If you like to do your banking in person, this might be an important consideration. If you regularly withdraw money from the ATM, you might want to ensure that the institution you have an account with has a number of ATMs near your home, so you can avoid fees.

You can compare a selection of transaction accounts below.

Transaction account comparison

Rates last updated March 31st, 2015
Maximum Variable Rate p.a. Standard Variable Rate p.a. Bonus Interest p.a. Fees Min Bal / Min Deposit
ING DIRECT Orange Everyday Account
A transaction account with no monthly fees, plus 2% cashback offer available.
0.00% 0.00% 0.00% $0 $0 / $0 Open More
HSBC Day to Day Transaction Account
Enjoy no monthly account keeping fees and a Visa debit card to access your money.
0.00% 0.00% 0.00% $0 $0 / $0 Open More
ANZ Access Advantage
Enjoy unlimited transactions using ANZ ATMs and ANZ phone & internet banking.
0.00% 0.00% 0.00% $5 $0 / $0 Open More
Bankwest Qantas Transaction Account
Earn Qantas Points for your daily balance and eligible purchases, plus access to Australia's largest bank ATM network.
0.01% 0.01% $6 $0 / $0 Open More
NAB Classic Banking
No monthly account fees plus get an NAB Visa Debit card with payWave at no extra cost.
0.01% 0.01% 0.00% $0 $0 / $0 Open More
ME Bank EveryDay Transaction Account
5% cashback offer available for the first six months if you open an account 1 May 2015.
0.00% 0.00% $0 $0 / $0 Open More
Westpac Choice
Access funds through a Debit MasterCard and enjoy 24/7 online and mobile banking.
0.00% 0.00% $5 $0 / $0 Open More
BankSA Complete Freedom Account
Free unlimited transactions, plus linked Visa debit card.
0.00% 0.00% 0.00% $5 $1 / $1 Open More
St.George Complete Freedom Account
Flexible bank account with Visa Debit card and SMS and email alert system.
0.00% 0.00% 0.00% $5 $0 / $1 Open More
St.George SENSE
A transaction account and savings account in one.
2.20% 2.20% 0.00% $5 $0 / $0 Open More
BankSA Express Freedom Account
A low fee transaction account with Visa debit card.
0.00% 0.00% 0.00% $3 $0 / $1 Open More
Bank of Melbourne Complete Freedom Transaction Bank Account
Free unlimited everyday transactions at Bank of Melbourne branches and Westpac Group ATMs.
0.00% 0.00% $5 $0 / $1 Open More
Bank of Melbourne Express Freedom Transaction Bank Account
Free unlimited everyday banking transactions, and the flexibility of a Visa Debit Card.
0.00% 0.00% $3 $0 / $1 Open More
BankSA Sense Everyday Account
A combined savings and transaction account with debit card and interest earning.
2.85% 2.85% $5 $1 / $1 Open More

Pension loans

Regular mainstream loans aren’t necessarily available to pensioners. This is because lenders are concerned that a pensioner’s advanced age and increased likelihood of sickness and inability to work may mean they are unable to repay their debts.

There are still ways for pensioners to obtain loans for different purposes. These can include small loans of under $1200 through the No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS), low documentation loans and other options and are explained in more depth in our pensioner loans guide.

The Age pension is one resource older Australians can make use of when they retire. Finding out if you’re eligible for the pension is the first step to financially securing the beginning of your later years, so ensure you find out if you’re able to make use of the pension.

 

Do you have a question about eligibility for the aged pension?

If you have a specific question about your eligibility for the Aged Pension you will need to speak with the Australian Government Department of Human Services.

Here are some useful links:

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1,268 Responses to Australian Age Pension Eligibility Requirements

  1. Default Gravatar
    Joseph | March 30, 2015

    Holding an Australian Permanent Resident status,we moved from Hong Kong to Sydney NSW in June 1987 and I was working with a consultant firm as a professional engineer for a while then working with Fairfield City Council till mid March 1990. We acquired our Citizenship on 19 Oct 1989. We moved from Sydney NSW to Hong Kong on 28 March 1990. Anyway we moved back to Melbourne Vic. on 8 April 1998 and are living in Melbourne till now . Nevertheless from 8 April 1998 we go overseas every year for holiday for a period from 11 days to 2 weeks from the year of 2000 to 2005 then 8 weeks in 2006 and 10 weeks in 2007 and 10 weeks in 2008 then we go overseas for about 5 to 6 months every year from 2009 till March 2015 because my wife have Hayfever. I was born on 7 Jan 1947 and my wife was born on 20 Nov 1948. Pleased if you would advise whether we would be accepted for the Age Pension.

    Regards

    Joseph

    • Staff
      Shirley | March 31, 2015

      Hi Joseph,

      Thanks for your question.

      To be eligible for the Age Pension you need to have been an Australian resident for a continuous period of at least 10 years, or for a number of periods that total more than 10 years. During this period Centrelink will also assess:
      “- the nature of your accommodation, and
      - the nature and extent of your family relationships in Australia, and
      - the nature and extent of your employment, business or financial ties with Australia, and
      - the frequency and duration of your travel outside Australia, and
      - any other matter they think is relevant.”

      Be mindful that there are also income and asset tests as well.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  2. Default Gravatar
    Anne | March 30, 2015

    Is it necessary to be a naturalised Australian citizen to receive the aged pension?

    • Staff
      Shirley | March 30, 2015

      Hi Anne,

      Thanks for your question.

      You don’t have to be an naturalised Australian citizen, you can also be:
      - a permanent visa holder, or
      - a protected Special Category Visa (SCV) holder

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  3. Default Gravatar
    Vic | March 28, 2015

    I have been living in Australia since 1968. I have registered for an age pension in 2012 when I turned 65 but did not start to get my pension until April 2014.
    Do the 2 years I have to be receiving my pension before moving overseas start in 2012 or 2014?
    Thank you,
    Vic

    • Staff
      Shirley | March 30, 2015

      Hi Vic,

      Thanks for your question.

      On the Centrelink website it states that, “If you have returned to live in Australia within the last 2 years and you have started receiving Age Pension during this period then you will not be paid for any departures until the 2 year waiting period has passed.”

      So if you arrived in Australia in 2012 and you started receiving the pension in this period, the date starts from 2012. However, it would be best to confirm this with Centrelink directly.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  4. Default Gravatar
    dennis | March 27, 2015

    My income is permanent part time($517PER WEEK)
    I am prmantly reisdent 40years
    No assets.
    I retire next year 17-3-2016,
    If i go till october 2016 to get my long service will it affect my pension ?

    • Staff
      Shirley | March 30, 2015

      Hi Dennis,

      Thanks for your question.

      If your long service leave takes your income or assets pass the threshold levels, it may affect your pension.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  5. Default Gravatar
    shenstone | March 27, 2015

    I am 91 years ,single ,own home valued $ 600000 where I live, own investment house out for rental,about gross $ 13000 p.a .Cash and Share investments about $ 820000, Total taxable income about $ 350000 p.a. Entitled to part pension ? Thanks. John.

    • Staff
      Shirley | March 30, 2015

      Hi John,

      Thanks for your question.

      As a single, your payment reduces to $0 once your fortnightly income reaches this amount: $1,880.40.

      In terms of assets, you can have up to $922,000 excluding the value of your main residence.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  6. Default Gravatar
    Iris | March 27, 2015

    Hi,
    Can you please explain more in the term “•be an Australian resident for a total of at least 10 years, with at least five of these years in one period”?
    What is the defination of ‘five of these years in one period’? If I go overseas 2-3 months every year, can this been counted as ‘continuelly stay in 5 years’?
    thanks
    Iris

    • Staff
      Shirley | March 30, 2015

      Hi Iris,

      Thanks for your question.

      These types of situations are assessed on a case by case basis. As a general rule of thumb, being away for periods of up to 6 weeks is considered to be fine.

      If you would like to discuss your eligibility or options, please get in touch with Centrelink directly.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  7. Default Gravatar
    Jyoti | March 26, 2015

    Hello,
    I am 73 years old and I have just move to Australia with my son and his family. We are all on a 457 visa for the time being. I just wanted to know if after getting the permanent residency by next year, will I be eligible for age pension or do I have to wait for citizenship?

    Thank you

    • Staff
      Shirley | March 27, 2015

      Hi Jyoti,

      Thanks for your question.

      Centrelink defines a resident as “An Australian resident is a person who is living in Australia and is either:
      - an Australian citizen
      - a permanent visa holder, or
      - a protected Special Category Visa (SCV) holder”

      Unfortunately 457 Visa doesn’t fall under this, you may need to wait until permanent residency.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  8. Default Gravatar
    Reg | March 25, 2015

    I am of pension age. I separated from my wife in 1996 but did not obtain a divorce. Am I entitled to a single person’s age pension or do I have to get divorced?

    • Staff
      Shirley | March 26, 2015

      Hi Reg,

      Thanks for your question.

      On the Centrelink website it states that, “You are a member of a couple if you are living together, or usually live together, and are:
      - married
      - in a registered relationship – opposite sex or same sex
      - in a defacto relationship – opposite sex or same sex.”

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  9. Default Gravatar
    dennis | March 25, 2015

    Does a long service leave payment affect my pension
    when i retire.

    • Staff
      Shirley | March 25, 2015

      Hi Dennis,

      Thanks for your question.

      The age pension is based on an income, assets and residency test. If you long service leave affects any of those, it could affect your eligibility.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  10. Default Gravatar
    ElvirA | March 25, 2015

    I have lived in Australia from 1972 to 2005. Travelled overseas a few times on holidays and due to family matters twice in 1998 and 2000. I left Sydney for Argentina in 2005 and have been living here since then. Australia has no agreement with Argentina and due to illness I cannot return to claim my pension. The question is: Is there any other way that I can have access to my aussie pension ?. I´ll will appreciate you answer.
    Thank you for taking time to read my letter.
    Elvira

    • Staff
      Shirley | March 25, 2015

      Hi Elvira,

      Thanks for your question.

      Unfortunately one of the requirements for the Australian Age Pension is that you’re physically in Australia on the day that you lodge your claim.

      If you would like to discuss your eligibility or options, please get in touch with Centrelink directly.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

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