Your Age Pension rate depends on factors such as your income, assets and living arrangements.
What is the Age Pension rate?
When it comes to the Age Pension rate, it’s not a case of one size fits all. If you are eligible to receive a payment, your payment rate will be determined by your level of income and assets. Eligibility for the Age Pension depends on a number of factors. You qualify after meeting the eligibility requirements surrounding age, Australian residency rules and both the income and assets test — we’ll discuss more on these factors later.
If you are eligible to receive the full pension, the rates below apply:
Age Pension rates for a single person
|Maximum base rate||$900.80||$18.60|
|Maximum Pension Supplement||$72.70||$1.50|
|Total (per fortnight)||$987.60||$20.10|
Age Pension rates for a couple (living together)
|Amount (each)||Increase (each)||Amount (combined)||Increase (combined)|
|Maximum base rate||$679.00||$14.00||$1,358.00||$28.00|
|Maximum Pension Supplement||$54.80||$1.10||$109.60||$2.20|
|Total (per fortnight)||$744.30||$15.10||$1,488.60||$30.2|
Source: Services Australia. Applicable 20 March 2022 to 19 September 2022
How do I qualify for the Age Pension?
The most obvious factor is age. Your eligibility age depends on your date of birth.
The current Age Pension age is 66 years and 6 months, and increases to 67 years from 1 July 2023.
|Date of birth||Age Pension age||Date that Age Pension age changes|
|Born between 1 January 1954 and 30 June 1955||66 years||1 July 2019|
|Born between 1 July 1955 and 31 December 1956||66 years and 6 months||1 July 2021|
|Born from 1 January 1957 onwards||67 years||1 July 2023|
Source: Services Australia
You must be an Australian resident to qualify for the Age Pension. To satisfy the residency requirement, you need to have lived in Australia for a total of at least ten years. Of those ten years, you must have lived in Australia for five consecutive years. Meaning, you didn’t come and go at all during a five year period.
In certain scenarios, the ten-year residency requirement does not apply. You are exempt from meeting this requirement if you are:
- A refugee or family of a refugee.
- You are the widow of an Australian resident, and have been an Australian resident yourself for the past two years.
- You were receiving an Australian Widow’s Pension immediately before reaching your pension eligibility age.
- You lived or worked in a country that Australia has an international social security agreement with.
Your income must be below a certain amount for you to be eligible for the Age Pension. A single person can earn up to $190 per fortnight before their pension payment will be reduced by 50 cents for every dollar above this amount. A couple can earn up to $336 per fortnight before their payments are reduced.
Your income earning potential is capped at $2165.20 per fortnight for a single, or $3,313.60 per fortnight for a couple. This is the amount of income you can earn at which your Age Pension will be cut off.
Pension cut off points per fortnight:
|Your situation||Pension will be cut off if you earn more than this per fortnight|
|Couple living together||$3,313.60 combined|
|Couple living apart due to health||$4,286.40 combined|
|Transitional rate pensioner – single||$2,250.00|
|Transitional rate pensioners – couple living together||$3,659.50 combined|
|Transitional rate pensioners – couple living apart due to illness||$4,456.00 combined|
Source: Services Australia, July 2022
The income test includes various types of income, including but not limited to, returns on investments, income from your super fund, rent from investment properties, employment income and even deemed income — which is the amount of income that Services Australia determines you earn from simply owning certain assets, even if you’re not actually earning the amount they assume.
If you are earning employment income, the Work Bonus makes it possible for you to earn above the income limit without impacting your rate of pension. You can earn up to $300 per fortnight, or accumulate up to $7,800 in your Work Bonus balance to use to offset any employment income made during the year.
The value of your property and possessions will be assessed by Services Australia when assessing your Age Pension eligibility. The tables below show the asset value limit requirement for full or part-pension payments. Your Age Pension will reduce by $3 per fortnight for every $1,000 of assets you own above the asset limit for the full pension. Your payment cuts off completely if your assets exceed the limit for a part pension. Your family home is not counted toward the value of your assets which provides an opportunity to reduce the value of your assessable assets if required.
Assets limit for the full pension
Assets limit for a part-pension
|Couple separated due to illness||$1,077,500||$1,302,000|
Source: Services Australia, July 2022
Receiving a part pension
When your income and assets are being assessed as part of the means testing, it will be determined if you are eligible for a full pension or a part pension. If your assets and income are above the limit for the full pension, but below the cut off points, you may be eligible to receive the Age Pension at a reduced rate. This rate is determined by applying the results of the test — from the assets test and income test — that determines the lowest rate of pension. In other words, if the assets test determines your pension rate should be reduced by $30 per fortnight, and the income test determines it should be reduced by $50 per fortnight, these two figures are not added together, but the higher of the two is used as the reduction.
What happens if my spouse is not eligible for the age pension, but I am?
If you have met all of the eligibility criteria for the Age Pension, but your partner has not, the amount of pension you would get is based on the couples rate. Because only one of you is eligible, you would only get half of the combined rate, which is $665. Any reductions from means testing would then be applied. This scenario can come about when one person has reached Age Pension age, but their spouse is younger.
Will my Age Pension rate go up?
The Age Pension amount is assessed twice a year and is usually increased in March and September in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI). However in September 2020 the cost of living had actually reduced so the pension amount was not increased for the first time since 1997.
How often is the Age Pension paid?
The payments are made fortnightly for most people with exceptions being made for extraordinary circumstances. If you are having issues managing your money, or are at risk of becoming homeless, you can apply to receive your payments weekly.
Can I get my pension payment early?
You can get one to three Pension Advance Payments in any six-month period. The table below shows the amounts available if you are receiving the full Age Pension. The advance payment will need to be calculated based on your rate of pension if you receive a part pension.
Over the six-month period, you can choose to receive one payment of the highest amount, two smaller payments, or three payments of the lowest amount. These amounts are updated twice a year with the Age Pension amount.
The advance payment will come out of your future Age Pension entitlement.
|Your situation||Lowest amount||Highest amount|
|You’re part of a couple||$339.50||$1,018.50|
Source: Services Australia
Age Pension supplements
If you’re receiving the Age Pension, you’ll automatically be paid a Pension Supplement. You’ll receive the maximum rate if you’re eligible to receive the full pension rate. However, if you’re only eligible to receive a part pension, your Pension Supplement will be reduced proportionally until it reaches the minimum amount.
|If you are||Your minimum supplement per fortnight is:||Your maximum supplement per fortnight is:|
|in a couple||$29.50 each or $59.00 combined||$54.80 each or $109.60 combined|
|in a couple, separated due to illness, respite or prison||$39.10 each||$72.70 each|
Source: Services Australia
On top of the Pension Supplement, you may be eligible for the Energy Supplement. However, this is not available for all Age Pensioners. If you have a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) that was issued after 20 September 2016, you are not eligible for the Energy Supplement.
Receiving a full or part pension doesn’t impact the Energy Supplement amount. The amount depends only on whether you are single or coupled. The rate is $21.20 for a couple or $14.10 for a single pensioner.
Can I get Rent Assistance?
If you’re receiving the Age Pension, you may be entitled to Rent Assistance. The table below outlines the minimum amount of rent you must be paying per fortnight to be entitled to Rent Assistance. For every dollar you pay above this amount, you will receive 75 cents up to the maximum payment amount.
|If you’re||To get the maximum payment, your fortnightly rent is at least||The maximum fortnightly payment is|
Source: Department of Human Services
Transitional Age Pension rates
When changes to the income test were introduced in 2009, some pensioners would have been adversely impacted by having their pension amount reduced. The changes were brought in to be beneficial, so any pensioner who would have been better off under the old rules will continue to receive a transitional pension until they are better off being assessed under the new system. The maximum transitional rate for a single pensioner is $824.00 per fortnight and $664.70 for couples.
If you’re being paid a transitional rate of pension, you aren’t eligible for the Pension Supplement, but you can potentially be eligible for the Energy Supplement if you received a CSHC prior to 20 September 2016.
If you are eligible for the Age Pension, there are many factors that influence your rate of payment, including your living arrangements, value of assets, level of income and when you started receiving the pension. You may also be eligible for various supplements such as the Pension Supplement, Energy Supplement and Rent Assistance.
The information in this article is general in nature.