First things first – you must be eligible in order to apply for the Age Pension. You can check the age pension eligibility requirements on the Human Services website, but the short version is that you must:
- Be at least 65 years old
- Meet the income and asset tests
- Be living in Australia
There may be other payments you are also eligible for, so you should read or print off this online guide before you apply for the Age Pension.
How to apply for the Age Pension
If you’re already receiving government benefit payments from Centrelink
If you’re already receiving some kind of government benefit payment from Centrelink or the Department of Human Services, you usually won’t need to go through the Age Pension application process. Centrelink will write to you 9 weeks before you reach the Age Pension qualifying age (65 years or older) and explain your options for starting the Age Pension.
If you’re not already receiving benefits from Centrelink
If you’re not already in the Department of Human Services system, you will have to fill in an Age Pension application form.
Before you apply for the Age Pension, contact the Department of Human Services to register an intent to claim, because this will make everything simpler and easier for you in the claim process, and you will have to provide less information. You can register your intent to claim online via the website, or over the phone (call 132 300), or in person at your local Centrelink office.
If you want to visit a Centrelink office in person, you should print out and complete these two forms and bring them with you:
Centrelink staff will ask you some questions about your circumstances and finalise your Age Pension application form with you.
What paperwork you will need to apply for the pension
You will need to supply the following documents to Centrelink in order to apply for the pension:
- Original versions of the identity documents proving your identity. You will need three types: a birth certificate, visa, citizenship certificate; and an ID with a photo such as a driver’s licence or proof of age card; and a local state document such as your bank ATM card.
- Details of your income.
- Details of your partner’s income if you have a partner.
- Details of your assets (things you own).
- Details of your partner’s assets if you have a partner.
- Any other documents that Centrelink has asked you to bring.
You can submit most of these documents online or using the Express Plus mobile app, but Centrelink still needs to see the original versions of your identity documents in person.
There are other documents you might need to complete, depending on your circumstances, and some examples are listed below:
|If you are…||You need to fill out this form|
|Permanently blind||Request for ophthalmologist / optometrist report|
|Self-employed or involved in a business||Business details|
|Involved in a private company||Private company details|
|Involved in a private trust||Private trust details|
|Receiving compensation or damages||Compensation and damages|
|Needing another person to act on your behalf||Authorising a person or organisation to enquire or act on your behalf|
What happens after you apply for the Age Pension?
If your claim is successful, the Department of Human Services will let you know when your Age Pension payment will start and how much they will pay you per fortnight.
If your claim is not successful, the Department of Human Services will let you know the reasons why and you have the right to ask for an appeal or review of their decision. This is nothing to be scared of. Government benefit payments can occasionally be cut off by computer error or if you didn’t report your income correctly, but it is easy to make an “appeal or review claim” to get your payment restarted again.
What to do if your situation changes
You must let the Department of Human Services know if your situation changes at any time, as this may affect your eligibility for the Age Pension. You can inform the Department of Human Services of changes online using your myGov account, over the phone, or in person.
You need to tell the Department of Human Services if:
- You change your contact details
- You change bank accounts
- You become partnered or you separate from your partner
- Your arrangements for caring or children or other dependents changes
- Your work status changes
- You get a lump sum payment
- Your income and assets – or your partner’s income and assets – increase or decrease
- You start or finish studying
- You intend to leave Australia for a holiday or to live overseas permanently
Collecting and using your Age Pension
Gone are the days when you had to line up at your local Centrelink office to receive your pension in cash or cheque form. These days, you can get your money sent straight into your bank account, so you can use it for your daily transactions and living expenses more easily.
If you’re not happy with the bank account you have at the moment, you could look for a transaction account with an interest rate attached. Then you can earn interest on any money that you save each fortnight from your pension.