There are a number of changes that are about to take place, or have already, that you should be aware of if you receive the Age Pension or are approaching retirement.
From 1 July 2017, there will be changes to the eligible age for the Age Pension. If you were born on or after 1 July 1952, you will need to be aged 65 and six months to be eligible. The age to be eligible will continue to go up by six months every two years until 1 July 2023 when the eligibility age will be 67.
If you currently receive an income support payment you should expect to receive a letter from the Department of Human Services two months before you reach eligibility age, inviting you to transfer to the Age Pension.
If you do not currently receive any payments from the Department, you will be able to submit your claim for the Age Pension up to three months before reaching the eligible age.
Commonwealth Seniors Health Card and Energy Supplement
If you hold a Seniors Health Card you may have noticed recent changes in relation to the Energy Supplement.
The Energy Supplement is paid quarterly. Those who claimed the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card after 19 September 2016 would have received their final payment for the quarter 20 December 2016 to 19 March 2017.
Those who were receiving an income support payment (such as the Age Pension) on 19 September 2016 may still receive the Energy Supplement if they claim the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card less than six weeks after their pension is cancelled.
Despite the changes being automatic without needing action from recipients, the Department wrote to people who were impacted.
Recipients will still keep their Commonwealth Seniors Health Card as long as they remain eligible.
The new rules around who can receive the Energy Supplement came into effect 20 March 2017 and may affect those who receive Family Tax Benefit (FTB) or who hold a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. The Energy Supplement will continue for income support payments and pensions.
If you are unsure of the potential impacts on your income support from these changes, you can access information and examples about this change on the Department’s website at: humanservices.gov.au/energysupplement or give us a call to discuss your situation.
Article originally published at Money and Life