What you need to know about Centrelink

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With constant changes to the rules and thresholds, could you be missing out on Centrelink benefits that you are entitled to?


There are a number of entitlements available through Centrelink, depending on your individual circumstances and each of them has different criteria and benefits. Age Pension is often considered, however, there are other concessions that can be overlooked.


Below is a summary of some of the entitlements that you may be eligible for depending on your circumstances.




The Age Pension – provides a fortnightly payment to support you in your retirement years once you have reached the Age Pension age. In order to receive the Age Pension, you will be assessed on the Income and Asset tests.


2022/23 Pension Rates

Single – $25,677.60 p.a. ($987.60 per fortnight)

Couple – Combined: $38,708.80 p.a. ($744.40 each per fortnight)


Asset Test

This will vary depending on whether you are a homeowner or not. The following is based on being a homeowner:

Full Age Pension Pension Cut Out
  *Eligible for full Age Pension if assets held are under these figures. *Age Pension will cease when your assets have reached this limit.
Single $280,000 $609,250
Couple $419,000 $915,500
Reduction Rate Pension reduced by $78 p.a. per $1,000 of assets over full pension thresholds.


Income Test

Full Age Pension Pension Cut Out
  *Eligible for full Age Pension if annual income is under these figures. *Age Pension will cease when your income exceeds these figures.
Single $4,940.00 p.a. $56,295.20 p.a.
Couple $8,736.00 p.a. $86,153.60 p.a.
Reduction Rate Pension is reduced by $0.50 (singles) and $0.25 (each member of a couple) per $1.00 of income over full pension thresholds.



Under the income test, financial assets such as bank accounts, managed investments and shares are deemed to earn a certain rate of income, regardless of the income actually earned.

Status Deeming Threshold Max. financial assets for Full Age Pension Rate below threshold Rate above threshold
Single $56,400 $269,689 (homeowners and non-homeowners) 0.25% 2.25%
Couple $93,600 $419,000 (homeowners)

$471,467 (non-homeowners)


The table above notes the different deeming rates on assets, for a single on the first $56,400 of assets is deemed at 0.25% and anything above is deemed at 2.25%. A couple have a combined threshold of $93,600 where this amount is deemed at a rate of 0.25% and anything over at 2.25%.



If you are not entitled to the Age Pension you may be entitled to a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. There are a number of benefits that you may receive, such as:

You may also get the Economic Support Payment. If you are eligible.




Your state or territory government and local council may lower any of these expenses:

  • Electricity and gas bills;
  • Property and water rates;
  • Health care costs, including ambulance, dental and eye care;
  • Public transport fare.


To qualify for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be of Age Pension age;
  • Meet residence rules;
  • Not be getting a payment from Centrelink or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs;
  • Provide your Tax File Number or be exempt from doing so;
  • Meet identification requirements;
  • Meet the income test.


To meet the Income Test, from 20 September 2021, you must earn no more than the following:

  • $57,761 per year for a single; or
  • $92,416 combined per year for couples.




The Low-Income Health Care Card is another concession card that is often a forgotten entitlement. If you are not eligible for any Centrelink payments you may be eligible for the Low-Income Health Care Card if you meet the income test, as you do not need to pass an asset test. This card is subject to a 12-monthly renewal.


Income Test

You are assessed on your gross income, before tax income you earned in the 8 weeks before you submit your claim. Your income must be below the amounts stated in the table for you to be eligible to receive the Low Income Health Care Card.


Income test when claiming and renewing a card

Status Weekly income Income in an 8-week period
Single, no children $656.00 $5,248.00
Couple combined, no children $1,127.00 $9,016.00
Single, one dependent child $1,127.00 $9,016.00
Couple combined, one child $1,161.00 $9,288.00
For each extra child, add $34.00 $272.00


What type of income is assessed?

Examples of income assessed are:

  • Employment income, such as wages, salary and self-employment income;
  • JobKeeper Payments received from your employer;
  • Employer provided fringe benefits;
  • Rental income;
  • Reportable super contributions, salary sacrifice;
  • Centrelink pensions, benefits and some supplementary payments;
  • Paid Parental Leave payments;
  • Department of Veterans’ Affairs payments.


Also assessed:

  • Deemed income from financial investments, such as bank accounts, managed investments and shares;
  • Deemed income from account-based income streams;
  • Income from income stream products, such as super pensions and defined benefit income streams;
  • Foreign income;
  • Private trusts and companies;
  • Compensation payments, including periodical and lump sum;
  • Lump sum payments such as redundancy, leave, or termination payments.


Should you be deemed eligible for a Low-Income Health Care Card, you will find yourself eligible for multiple concessions on your everyday livings costs, including:

  • Cheaper medicine under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS);
  • Concessions offered by private companies;
  • Energy and electricity bills;
  • State and Territory Government and local council concessions, such as:
    • Car registration costs;
    • Water rates;
    • Health care costs including ambulance, dental and eye care;
    • Public transport costs;
    • Stamp Duty costs.


Applying for Centrelink benefits can be daunting, but the benefits can see you end up with more in your pocket. If you are unsure about your eligibility, speak with your Financial Adviser or visit Services Australia.


Caitlyn Kent (DipFP, BCom(Acc)) Associate Adviser of Alman Partners Pty Ltd.


Note: This material is provided for information only. No account has been taken of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person or entity. Accordingly, to the extent that this material may constitute general financial product advice, investors should, before acting on the advice, consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to the investor’s objectives, financial situation and needs. This is not an offer or recommendation to buy or sell securities or other financial products, nor a solicitation for deposits or other business, whether directly or indirectly.