Ways to help maximise your age pension
Q: I’ll be 66 this year, am not working and have $310,000 in an allocated pension drawing $2600 a month. My partner is 60 and has $140,000 in super. She has a small casual job and we have $200,000 in a term deposit and $50,000 in a smaller investment, which is accessible any time. We own our home and anticipate receiving approximately $150,000 from an inheritance in the next few years. How will this affect my pension? Will I be eligible? My other concern is that my income stream seems to be going backwards and, on top of that, I’m drawing on it. It’s not earning enough to cover what I draw?
A: To be eligible for the Age Pension you will need to attain age 67. At that time your Allocated Pension, term deposit and smaller investment would be assessed for asset test purposes, together with the fire sale value of your contents, motor vehicle(s) and money in the bank. Your partner’s superannuation would not be assessed until she is Age Pension age. Based on the figures you have provided, you would be entitled to some Age Pension income support.
When the inheritance is received, your assessable assets would increase, thereby decreasing your Age Pension income support. Given the age difference between you and your partner, there are strategies available to help maximise your Age Pension income support. I would recommend you meet with a professional financial adviser.
Q: I recently sold my home. I have no monetary interest in my accommodation as I am sharing. I have been to Centrelink previously as I was not certain I was dealing with a “Financial Officer” although that was who I had the appointment with. You mentioned in the newspaper a few weeks ago to liaise with a “Financial Information Services Officer” How can I be certain I am dealing with such person and not just “Centrelink”?
A: Appointments with Financial Information Services Officers need to be booked (by phoning and making the appointment as a rule). They should be clearly identified when you meet with them and, if in doubt, ask. That being said, depending on the query you have, a Customer Service person at Services Australia (Centrelink) is often able to sort out any issues that you have. In assuming you were updating your information following the sale of your home, I would have thought that a Customer Service officer would have been able to assist. Finally, if you do not have the Centrelink portal on your MyGov site, I would recommend that you arrange this – it is one of the quickest and easiest ways to update your information.
EMAIL YOUR QUESTIONS TO SUNDAYMONEY MAN@NEWS.COM.AU
Brenton is a director and an authorised representative of Goldsborough Financial Services Limited. His advice should be considered as an opinion. Readers should consider engaging their own personal financial adviser. Questions and answers may have been edited for length.