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While there’s no set retirement age in Australia, people who anticipate being fully or partly dependent on the Age Pension for retirement income often count down the days until they are eligible to receive the pension.
Current Age Pension age
On 1 July 2023, the eligibility age increased from 66 years and 6 months to 67 years (for anyone born after 31 December 1956).
This means, for example, that if you were born on 31 December 1956 you could be eligible from 1 July 2023, but if you were born one day later, on 1 January 1957, you wouldn’t be eligible until 1 January 2024.
These ages apply to both men and women. Historically, women received the Age Pension on turning 60 in Australia. The eligibility age for women was progressively increased from the 1990s until it reached the male Age Pension age in 2013. Since then, pension age has been increasing in six-monthly increments for men and women until reaching 67 on 1 July 2023.
The good news is that pension age is set to remain at 67 for the foreseeable future.
Are the age requirements different for the service pension?
Yes, the qualifying age for the service pension is 60 years for both men and women.
It’s important to understand that the service pension is different from the Age Pension. 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. This pension can also be paid to their partners in certain circumstances.
A service pension is paid by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Age Pension is paid by Services Australia (via Centrelink). A person cannot receive both the service pension and the Age Pension at the same time.
Age Pension eligibility requirements
Age Pensioner eligibility for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, SAPTO and other benefits
If you qualify for the Age Pension, you’re also potentially eligible for a range of other benefits, including the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card and SAPTO.
Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
A Commonwealth Seniors Health Card can help you get cheaper health care. As an Age 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
- Pass another income test that has different criteria than the Age Pension income test
- Are an Australian resident and currently living in Australia.
SAPTO (Senior Australians and Pensioners Tax Offset) is a tax offset that’s available to eligible pensioners in Australia. It can reduce or even eliminate your tax liability, but it can’t be used to give you a tax refund.
You must also pass an income threshold test to determine whether you’re entitled to a full or partial offset.
If you receive the Age Pension you may also be eligible for a pension supplement and an energy supplement to help with your pharmaceutical and utilities bills, as well as rent assistance.
Your eligibility for the Age Pension is assessed by Services Australia via Centrelink. The information contained in this article is general in nature.