Centrelink payments and entitlements

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1 Centrelink payments and entitlements There are many different Centrelink payments and entitlements available and we have outlined the criteria for the most common allowances, pensions and benefit cards. Centrelink benefits Age Pension Age pension is available to those individuals who do not have sufficient funds to provide for themselves when they retire. Age pension age For males, this age is 65. For females, the following table applies: Date of birth Age pension 1/7/ /12/ /1/ /6/ /7/ /12/ /1/ /6/ /7/ /12/ /1/1949 and later 65 Age Pension will be subject to both the Centrelink income and assets tests. Newstart Allowance This allowance can assist you financially whilst you are out of work or temporarily injured. To qualify for Newstart allowance all of the following criteria must be met, you have to be: Temporarily incapacitated actively seeking work or unemployed; Willing to enter into an Activity Agreement, which outlines job search requirements and includes referring you to job search agencies or specialists for help, and may contain a list of activities you agree to complete to increase your chances of employment; Over 21 but under Age Pension age; and An Australian resident and be living in Australia for the period of payment. Although individuals between the age of can meet their obligation of seeking full time work, by working voluntarily. They will not have to participate in the work for the dole scheme compared to those Page 1 of 6

2 individuals who are younger. Voluntary work is defined as work that benefits the community and which you don t profit from financially. Newstart Allowance is subject to both the Centrelink income and assets tests. Parenting Payment This allowance is paid to only one individual, who looks after a child. To qualify you must satisfy all the following conditions: You are an Australian resident who is in Australia on the date you claim, or have been an Australian resident but lived in Australia for at least two years at a time, or have been a refugee or held certain temporary visas, or have become a sole parent during your current period as an Australian resident; and Must have a qualifying child aged under 6 if you are partnered, aged under 8 if you are single, or aged under 16 if you have been in receipt of Parenting Payment prior to 1 July The Parenting Payment is subject to both the Centrelink income and assets tests. Carer Allowance This fortnightly allowance is available to an individual who cares for a person aged 16 years or over who is disabled or has a severe medical condition that requires added attention. There is also a Carer allowance also applies for individuals who look after adults with conditions impairing their ability of living independently. This allowance is paid in addition to other payments such as Age Pension. To qualify you must satisfy both of the below conditions: you are looking after a person aged 16 years or over who has a disability, medical condition and requires care and attention on a daily basis; and you provide the care for that person in either your home or the home of that person. Carer Allowance payments are not subject to the Centrelink assets or income tests. Entitlements may also include: Bulk-billed General Practitioner appointments; and Other payments from Centrelink such as Telephone Allowance, Utilities Allowance, and the Seniors Concession Allowance. Disability Support Pension Disability Support Pension (DSP) can be of assistance if you have a disability that prohibits you from working for more than 15 hours per week at award wages. To be eligible for the DSP you must satisfy all the conditions of either 1 or 2. Page 2 of 6

3 1. You must: Be over 16 but less than age pension age; Have physical, intellectual, or psychiatric impairment of at least 20 points; Not be able to work for a minimum of two years; and Not be able to undertake educational or vocational training which would assist you in being equipped to work within the next two years. 2. You must be: At least 16 but less then age pension age; and Permanently blind. For requirements regarding residency, please refer back to Aged Pension requirements, as they are the same for DSP. To qualify for DSP both your assets and income levels will need to be checked, although if you live with your parent, their assets and income levels will not be taken into consideration. You may also be able to qualify for pharmaceutical allowance. If you are able to work at least 15 hours, you will not be eligible for DSP but may qualify for Newstart Allowance (see above). Social Security entitlements Pharmaceutical Allowance This allowance can assist you to purchase the prescription medications you require, and is included as a non taxable payment included in your payment. The medicines available are outlined in the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme (PBS). You are able to apply to receive your allowance in advance if needed and you only have to pay for a maximum of 56 prescription medications a year. You may qualify for the Pharmaceutical Allowance if you are currently receiving: A Centrelink pension; Youth Allowance, Widow Allowance, Newstart Allowance or ABSTUDY, Partner Allowance during a period of temporary illness; Parenting Payment (Single), Mature Age Allowance, Sickness Allowance, Carer Payment (adult/child), Bereavement Allowance; or Widow Allowance, Newstart Allowance, Parenting Payment (Partnered), Partner Allowance, Austudy, ABSTUDY Payment or Special Benefit and you are at least 60 and have received income support payments continuously for at least nine months. Page 3 of 6

4 Health Care Card (HCC) If you are eligible for Centrelink payments, you may also be eligible for a health care card, which provides you with discounted medication, health care, public transport and energy and water bills. Be aware that the benefits can vary from state to state and some of these extra concessions are also available to dependents. Although the HCC is linked to Centrelink allowances, payments or benefits which may be subject to the Centrelink assets or income test, the HCC itself isn t subject to the tests. To qualify you must meet the following criteria: Currently receiving a qualifying social security benefit; Be a resident of and live in Australia; and Be receiving certain social security supplementary payments (such as the fortnightly maximum rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A by installment, Carer Allowance (child), or Mobility Allowance but not qualify for a Pensioner Concession Card). Pensioner Concession Card The Pensioner Concession Card (PCC) provides you and your dependants with the following benefits: An increase in benefits for out of pocket, out-of-hospital medical expenses above a certain threshold through the Medicare Safety Net; Cheaper PBS-listed prescription medicines; and Help with certain hearing services which include hearing tests and hearing aids. Entitlements may also include: Bulk-billed General Practitioner appointments; and Other payments from Centrelink such as Telephone Allowance, Utilities Allowance, and the Seniors Concession Allowance. To qualify you must: Be a resident of and live in Australia; Be receiving Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, Parenting Payment (Single) and Carer Payment or Mature Age Allowance; or Be at least 60. You don t have to be receiving a full pension to qualify for a PCC, but you have to be continuously receiving at least one of certain social security payments for a minimum of nine months, or have an average income (over eight weeks) which is less than the HCC income test limit. Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) The CSHC is targeted at self-funded retirees of age pension age who do not qualify for an Age Pension because of their asset &/or income assessment. To qualify a person must meet the following: Not receiving income support from Centrelink or DVA Page 4 of 6

5 Be at least age pension age Be an Australian resident or be in Australia to retain card Have an annual adjustable taxable income of less then $50,000 (single) and $80,000 (couple combined). Adjusted Taxable Income (ATI) Definition From 1 July 2009, the ATI for a person s tax year will be the sum of their: Taxable income Employer provided benefits (reportable fringe benefits) Target foreign income Net rental property loss Income that is voluntarily salary sacrificed to superannuation (new addition to definition) Net financial investment loss (new addition to definition) Benefits of the CSHC The CSHC provides holders with access to discounted pharmaceuticals through the Pharmaceuticals Benefits Scheme, the Seniors Concession Allowance, and the Telephone Allowance. In addition, CSHC holders might also benefit from other concessions such as medical bulk billing, household transport, education, and entertainment facilities. Rent assistance If you have limited means and pay rent to a private landlord for accommodation, you may qualify for rent assistance. Rent assistance is paid as an addition to pensions, allowances, benefits or Family Payment that you may receive. You may be able to qualify for rent assistance if you pay more than a certain amount for: Rent (other than for public housing); Fees paid for a caravan site or similar, which you occupy as your principal home; Service and maintenance fees in a retirement village; Fees paid to moor a vessel you occupy as your principal home; or Lodging (two thirds of the amount you pay for board and lodging). To qualify you must also meet at least one of the following criteria, you are: A pensioner with no dependent children; Receiving an allowance or benefit, have no children and are: 25 or older, or Married, or Under 25 and living indefinitely apart from your parents or guardians; A family receiving additional Family Tax Benefit to help you with the cost of raising your children. Page 5 of 6

6 Department of Veteran s Affairs (DVA) concession cards Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Card (Orange Card) The Orange card will entitle you to purchase your prescribed medications at a reduced cost. Once you ve received up to the annual net level, you will not pay for further prescribed medication for the rest of that year. The Orange Card also qualifies you for a fortnightly Pharmaceutical Allowance, to assist with lowering the costs of prescription medications. Repatriation Health Card (White Card) The White Card will allow you to access health care and associated services for war or service-related conditions. If you are an Australian forces veteran, it will enable you to receive treatment for malignant cancer, post traumatic stress disorder and pulmonary tuberculosis; this is regardless of whether or not these conditions are related directly to your war service. Repatriation Health Card (Gold Card) The Gold Card allows you to gain access to health care and related services for all health care needs and all conditions, whether or not they are related to your war service. You can receive a comprehensive range of hospital, pharmaceutical, medical, dental and allied health services, plus travel assistance to and from the nearest health care facilities. Pensioner Concession Card To be entitled to the Pensioner Concession Card you will have to receive means tested DVA income support. The benefits under this card are the same as the Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card. General Advice Warning In preparing any advice in this site Andrew Corke Financial Services Pty Ltd ABN trading as Corke Wealth Management has not taken into account any particular person s objectives, financial situation or needs. Investors should, before acting on this information, consider the appropriateness of this information with regard to their personal objectives, financial situation or needs. We recommend investors obtain financial advice specific to their situation before making any financial investment or insurance decision. Page 6 of 6

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