One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to the pension eligibility age; it depends on your birth date. The current eligibility age is 66 years and 6 months for anyone born before 31 December 1956. However, this is progressively increasing every two years until 1 July 2023, where it will sit at 67 years for everyone.
Age Pension ages from 1 July 2019 are provided in the table below.
|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
Australia’s aging population and their increased longevity have reduced the Government’s capacity to support Australians in retirement. Basically, there are more retirees around than there used to be, who are now living longer, which means the Government has had to adjust the pension eligibility age to ensure they can continue to support retirees. The number of Australians over 65 is growing from 13% in 2019 to an estimated 25% by 2047.
The Age Pension age is the same for both men and women. In the past, women could receive the pension upon turning 60 in Australia. However, the female pension age was progressively increased from 1995 until it reached the male age in 2014.
This eligibility age increase significantly reduced the pressure on the Government to provide social security payments. The improved health and longevity of aging Australians made the change in pension age possible — without improved health and longer life expectancy, delaying retirement could have proved costly for the Government from a health care perspective.
In September 2018, Prime Minister Scott Morrison scrapped a policy that was announced by then-Treasurer Joe Hockey in the 2014 Federal Budget that proposed to increase the pension age to 70.
How do you work out when you are 66 “and six months”?
It’s straightforward to work out when you turn 66 or 67 years old — it’s simply on your 66th or 67th birthday. However, it can be trickier to work out exactly when six months after your birthday falls. That’s because not all months in the year have the same number of days. For example, if your birthday is 1st March, then six months later is simply 1st September. But if you were born on 31st March, six months later cannot be 31st September as that date does not exist.
If you’re born on any of the dates in the table below, you reach the 6-month mark on the first day of the following month.
|If you are born on||Then you reach the six-month mark on|
|31 March in any year||1 October in any year (because there is no 31 September date)|
|31 May in any year||1 December in any year (because a 31 November date doesn’t exist)|
|29 August in any year||29 February in a leap year and 1 March in any other years (because 29 February only happens in a leap year, once every four years)|
|30 and 31 August in any year||1 March in any year (because there are no 30 or 31st February dates in the calendar of any year)|
|31 October in any year||1 May in any year (because a 31 April date doesn’t exist)|
|31 December in any year||1 July in any year (because there is no 31 June date)|
People born between 1 July 1955 and 31 December 1955, on any of the dates outlined above need to use this “first day of the following month” rule to work out the exact date they reach their pension eligibility age of 66 years and 6 months.
Age Pension eligibility calculator
For a quick and simple way to be sure of your exact eligibility date, use this tool to calculate your pension age. All you need to do is enter your date of birth, and the calculator takes care of the rest.
This tool also calculates your preservation age. When you reach your preservation age, you can access your super if you meet a condition of release — such as retiring or turning 65 years of age. Like the Age Pension age, your preservation age depends on your date of birth.
Are the age requirements different for the Service Pension?
Yes, 60 years for both men and women is the eligibility age for the Service Pension.
While the Service Pension and Age Pension are two entirely different things, they cannot be received simultaneously; you can only receive one or the other.
A service pension is payable to eligible members of the Australian Defence Force (the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force) who:
- have had active military service,
- who satisfy residency requirements,
- and who pass both income and assets tests.
Under certain circumstances, this pension can also be paid to the partners of the eligible recipient.
The Department of Veterans’ Affairs pays a service pension, and the Age Pension is paid by Services Australia.
Age pension eligibility requirements
Reaching the eligibility age isn’t enough to qualify for the pension; additional eligibility requirements must also be met. In addition to age eligibility, you also need to meet residency requirements and pass both an income and assets test to qualify for the pension.
Age Pensioner eligibility for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, SAPTO and other benefits
If you qualify for the pension, the good news is that you’re also potentially eligible for a range of other benefits, including the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card and SAPTO.
Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
If the price of health care sometimes seems overwhelming, a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card can ease the burden of the cost by helping you to get cheaper health care. As a pensioner, you’ll be eligible for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, provided that:
- you don’t qualify for any other government payment from Services Australia or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
- you pass an income test that has different criteria than the Age Pension income test.
- you are an Australian resident, and you’re currently living in Australia.
Reducing your tax liability is often high on the financial priority list — SAPTO allows pensioners to do so. SAPTO is a tax offset available to eligible pensioners in Australia and can help reduce or even eliminate your tax liability by providing an offset of up to $2,230; It can reduce tax but does not generate you a tax refund.
If you’re a pensioner, you’ll be eligible for SAPTO by passing another income threshold test. If you pass, you may qualify for either a full or partial offset — every bit adds up!
On top of your pension, you may also be eligible for extra benefits to help with the costs of living. A Pension Supplement and Energy Supplement may help you with your pharmaceutical and utilities bills, while renters may be eligible for Rent Assistance.
There is no need to apply for these additional benefits. They are automatically applied if you are deemed eligible based on your Age Pension income and assets tests.
The information in this article is general in nature.