Money and your
Your retirement income needs to see you all the way to the end
of your life. The first step in your retirement planning starts
here: read our tips and find out what government benefits might
apply to you.
While there is no official retirement age in Australia, normally
you must be at least 55 years old to access your super, and
different government benefits apply from different ages.
The laws about benefits change regularly, so make sure you keep
Currently both men and women can receive the Age Pension from
65.5 and about 70% of Australians rely on a part or full Age
Visit the Department of Human Services' Older Australians webpage to find
out if you are eligible for payments for your retirement or call 13
Work out when you would be entitled to the Age Pension and
and pension age calculator
Benefits for Age Pensioners
- Centrepay - a free direct bill paying
service available as a regular deduction from your Centrelink
- Pensioner Concession Card -
gives you access to cheaper utility and medical bills, including
discounts on eligible prescriptions, and discounts on public
transport in some states.
- Payments for carers - if you
care for someone with severe disability, a medical condition or who
is frail aged.
- Work Bonus - if you're still working, this
payment could help you earn more without reducing your
Pension aged veterans
You may be eligible for certain benefits and pensions if you're
an ex-service member and of pension age. For example, veterans can
receive the Service Pension five years earlier
than the Age Pension. Some benefits are income and assets tested.
To find out more, call the Department of Veterans'
Affairs on 133 254 (regional callers: 1800 555 254).
Generally, if you are over 60 and work less than 20 hours per
week, you can get a Seniors Card, which offers discounts to a range
of commercial businesses and some public services. Each state and territory has its own
While it can be difficult for pensioners to get a loan from a
bank, the Department of Human Services offers some
- Pension Loans Scheme - If you are
not on the full pension due to your income or assets (but not
both), you can use your real estate as security for a loan. This
scheme is for people who receive part pension or no pension who
need money to live on.
- Advance payment - You can receive your
social security payment in advance if you need some help to cover
Government benefits for health expenses
These government benefits can help you save on your health
expenses when you're older.
- Commonwealth Seniors Health Card: Once you've
reached pension age and even if you're a self-funded retiree, you
might be eligible for the Commonwealth Seniors
Health Card, which gives you access to cheaper prescriptions
and possibly bulk-billed GP consultations.
- Medicare Safety Net: If you and your family
see many doctors and specialists during the year, the Medicare Safety Net will reduce
your out-of-pocket expenses once you've spent a certain
- Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) Safety Net
card: The government has created a 'safety net' threshold
to help families with the cost of medicines. Once you spend up to
the threshold, medicines will be less expensive or free for the
rest of the calendar year. Apply for your Medicare PBS Safety Net card at your
- Early detection programs and free
immunisations: You can get free vaccinations against
influenza and pneumococcal disease; free screenings for bowel
cancer; free breast screenings and Pap smears for women; and free
prostate cancer tests if you qualify. Find out about cancer screenings or ask your doctor
for more information.
- Annual health assessment: Once you turn 75 (or
55 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders), you can get a free
annual health assessment from your doctor (if they don't bulk bill,
you may have to pay the gap).
- Home medication review: If you live at home
and take more than five medications a day, this free review can
help you to use your medicines more effectively and avoid unwanted
effects. Talk to your GP or pharmacist if you're interested.
Finally, check if you are paying too much for health
insurance. If it's been a while since you checked your
benefits, you could save money by reassessing whether your current
plan matches your needs. Compare registered private health funds on
the Private Health Insurance
Money management in
If you have reached Age Pension age, you may be eligible for
additional income tax offsets, which means you can earn more
without paying tax.
These offsets are based on age, income and eligibility for
government pensions, and allow you to earn more income. Find out
more about the Australian Tax Office: Senior
Australians tax offsets on 13 28 61.
Saving your money is a good way to grow your retirement income.
There are some basic low-cost bank accounts specifically designed
for pensioners and seniors. Check with your bank for more
information. The Australian Banking Association
has more information on affordable banking.
Scams and bad-value
Defrauding of older Australians
ACCC data shows that older Australians suffer from higher losses
when scammed (compared to other age demographics), with investment
schemes among the most common types of scams affecting people aged
over 55. Beware of becoming the victim of a scam: find out how to
avoid investment scams.
The ACCC's Scamwatch website also has advice for seniors about ways you can
protect yourself from some common scams.
Early access to super
Beware of offers to access your super early. It is illegal to
access your super before age 55 (at the earliest) except in very
special circumstances. See superannuation scams for more
Family pressures about
While it can be helpful to get the opinions of your family and
friends on financial matters, you need to think carefully about
giving away any power over your investments.
Sometimes older people find themselves being pressured by family
or friends to hand over control of their money or property. This is
If this is happening to you or someone you know, you can
legal advice from a community legal centre or Legal Aid office
in your state or territory.
Learn as much as you can about your financial
situation while you're in your 50s to make the most of your
retirement money. You might find it useful to visit a financial
Last updated: 20 Dec 2018