On this page
- When is the next Age Pension increase?
- How the Age Pension works
- What happens if only one member of a couple is eligible?
- Age Pension supplements
- How often is the Age Pension paid?
- Can you get an advance payment of the Age Pension?
- Can you also get rent assistance?
- Transitional Age Pension rates
- Age Pension rates for non-residents
- For more information
The rates for a full Age Pension for Australian residents for the period 20 March 2020 to 19 September 2020 are listed below:
- Single: $944.30 per fortnight (approximately $24,554 per year)
- Couple (each): $711.80 per fortnight (approximately $18,507 per year)
- Couple (combined): $1,423.60 per fortnight (approximately $37,014 per year)
- Couples separated due to illness each receive the Single rate (see above), which combined is $1,888.80 (approximately $49,109 per year)
Note: Annual amounts are estimated by multiplying fortnight amounts by 26. The figures above include the pension and energy supplements.
The tables below provide more detail in terms of the latest increase and how the Age Pension is broken down.
|Maximum base rate||$860.60||$10.20|
|Maximum pension supplement||$69.60||$0.70|
|Total (per fortnight)||$944.30||$10.90|
Couple (living together)
|Amount each||Increase each||Amount combined||Increase combined|
|Maximum base rate||$648.70||$7.70||$1,297.40||$15.40|
|Maximum pension supplement||$52.50||$0.60||$105.00||$1.20|
|Total (per fortnight)||$711.80||$8.30||$1,423.60||$16.60|
Source: Department of Human Services. Applicable 20 March 2020 to 19 September 2020
Age Pension calculator
When is the next Age Pension increase?
The Age Pension rates will next change on 20 September 2020. Age Pension rates and the upper thresholds for the assets and income tests (ie for those who are eligible for a part Age Pension) are adjusted in March and September each year. The lower limits (ie for those for are eligible for the full Age Pension) change in July each year.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics evaluates these increases based on changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), Male Total Average Weekly Earnings, and the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index.
How the Age Pension works
To qualify for the Age Pension in Australia you must have reached Age Pension age (which depends on your date of birth), satisfy Australian residency rules, and pass both an income test and an assets test. Depending on your level of income and the assets you own, you may qualify for either a full or part Age Pension.
If you reach the threshold limits in both the assets and income tests, your Age Pension will be based on the lower amount. For example if you are eligible for $400 per fortnight according to the assets test, and $500 per fortnight through the income test, then the $400 per fortnight test will apply.
What happens if only one member of a couple is eligible?
This is a common question. If you’re in a living arrangement with your partner and only one of you is eligible for the Age Pension, do you receive the single rate or half of the combined couple rate?
The answer is half the combined couple rate and it’s best illustrated with an example.
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, but if you’re only eligible to receive a part pension (for example if your income or assets exceed the thresholds in the Age Pension income or assets tests), your pension supplement will be reduced proportionally until it reaches the minimum amount.
The minimum pension supplement amounts for single and couple part pensioners are provided in the table below.
|Situation||Minimum pension supplement|
|Couple living together||$27.90 each|
|Couple separated due to illness, respite or prison||$37.00 each|
Source: Department of Human Services
You can arrange to have the pension supplement paid quarterly rather than fortnightly if you prefer, to help you budget for regular quarterly bills like electricity.
Unlike the Age Pension supplement, the energy supplement is only available to certain Age Pensioners. If you’re receiving the Age Pension, you aren’t eligible for the energy supplement if you have a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) that was issued after 20 September 2016. If you received your CSHC before this date, you’re still eligible to receive the energy supplement.
If you’re eligible for the energy supplement, you’ll receive the same amount whether you’re on a full or part Age Pension. Payments differ only based on whether you’re single or part of a couple, as outlined in the table at the top of this article.
How often is the Age Pension paid?
The Age Pension is normally paid fortnightly, but you can apply to the Department of Human Services (via Centrelink) to receive weekly payments if you are:
- Homeless (or risk becoming homeless).
- Having trouble managing your money.
Can you get an advance payment of the Age Pension?
Yes. If you’ve been receiving the Age Pension for at least three months, you can apply to get one to three advance payments. If you’re approved, in any six-month period you’re entitled to receive the following amounts if you’re receiving a full pension:
|Living arrangement||Lowest amount|
(you can receive three of these payments)
(one can receive one payment of this amount)
If you’re receiving a part Age Pension, the amounts you can receive are adjusted proportionally.
Your future Age Pension entitlement will be adjusted for any advance payments you receive so you can repay any amount owing over time.
Can you also get rent assistance?
If you’re receiving the Age Pension, you may be entitled to rent assistance (including any fees you may be paying a retirement village, provided that the Australian government isn’t already paying a subsidy to the facility where you live).
There’s a minimum amount of rent you must be paying to receive assistance. These rates are adjusted in March and September each year based on the CPI. Current rates for Age Pensioners without any dependent children are outlined in the table below. If you pay more than these amounts, you’re entitled to 75 cents of rent assistance for every dollar you pay over the threshold, up to the maximum amount.
|Living arrangement||Minimum fortnightly rent to qualify for assistance||Maximum fortnightly rent assistance payment|
Source: Department of Human Services
Transitional Age Pension rates
Some Age Pensioners in Australia are on transitional pensions. Transitional pension rates are paid to people who would otherwise be getting a lower payment when changes to the income test were introduced in 2009.
- Single: $789.30 per fortnight (approximately $20,522 per year) – an increase of $9.20 per fortnight
- Couple (each): $636.80 per fortnight (approximately $16,557 per year) – an increase of $7.40 per fortnight
- Couple (combined): $1,273.60 per fortnight (approximately $33,114 per year) – an increase of $14.80 per fortnight
- Couples separated due to illness each receive the Single rate, which combined is $1,578.60 (approximately $41,044 per year) – an increase of $18.40 per fortnight
If you’re being paid a transitional rate of pension, you’re not eligible for the pension supplement, but you can potentially be eligible for the energy supplement (provided that if you have a CSHC, you received it prior to 20 September 2016).
The tables below provide more detail in terms of how the transitional Age Pension is broken down:
|Maximum transitional pension rate||$775.20||$9.20|
|Total (per fortnight)||$789.30||$9.20|
|Couple (living together)||Amount each||Increase||Amount combined||Increase|
|Maximum transitional pension rate||$626.20||$7.40||$1,252.40||$14.80|
|Total (per fortnight)||$636.80||$7.40||$1,273.60||$14.80|
Source: Department of Human Services
Age Pension rates for non-residents
If you’re living outside Australia and qualify to receive the Age Pension, the rates are as follows:
- Single: $711.00 per fortnight (approximately $18,486 per year) – an increase of $8.40 per fortnight
- Couple (each): $594.30 per fortnight (approximately $15,452 per year) – an increase of $7.00 per fortnight
- Couple (combined): $1,188.60 per fortnight (approximately $30,904 per year) – an increase of $14.00 per fortnight
- Couples separated due to illness each receive the Single rate (see above), which combined is $1,422.00 (approximately $36,972 per year) – an increase of $16.80 per fortnight
Note: Annual amounts are estimated by multiplying fortnight amounts by 26.
For more information
Learn more about the Age Pension in the following SuperGuide articles:
- Case studies: How is the Age Pension assessed?
- Deeming rates for the Age Pension income test
- Age Pension calculator: How much could you be eligible for?
- Age Pension income test rules (March 2020 to July 2020)
- Age Pension assets test rules (March 2020 to July 2020)
- How does your super affect the Age Pension?
- What are the Age Pension residency rules?
- Are you getting your slice of the Age Pension Work Bonus?
- How to maximise your Age Pension
- Am I eligible for the Australian Age Pension?
- Retirement age calculator: When can you access your super or the Age Pension?
- How do I apply for the Australian Age Pension?
The information contained in this article is general in nature.