A lot of thought and planning goes into Retirement as we age and get closer to the magical number, however we normally find that very little thought or consideration is given to potential Centrelink entitlements.
Most people think of Centrelink as they near Age Pension Age, currently at 65, however sometimes by that time it can leave very little room for potential planning opportunities. Say you have a property that you may wish to transfer to your children, then this needs to be done well before 5 years prior to claiming an Age Pension. Otherwise you will find that it continues to be assessed under the ‘Asset’ test and treated under the current gifting rules where you are only able to gift ‘$10,000 per annum’ and no more than $30,000 over a 5 year period. What most people don’t realise is that Centrelink will want details of any assets that you may have gifted in the last 5 years prior to claiming.
Some other potential planning opportunities to boost your eligibility for a Centrelink entitlement can be purchasing an annuity or funeral bond.
Remember, you only need to be in receipt of $1 of Age Pension to then receive the ‘Pensioner Concession’ card which then entitles you to discounts on car registration, rates, drivers licence, electricity, phone and the prescribed benefit system.
And if you are not eligible to receive a part Age Pension payment and classed as being a ‘self-funded’ retiree then you may still be eligible to receive a Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card which will provide you with access to the prescribed benefit system. This can be a huge benefit, particularly if you are on regular medication.
Whilst the rules may continue to change it is always important to discuss your options with an adviser to understand what you may be entitled to when it comes to Centrelink. And make sure that you start planning early, particularly if you have a large asset that you wish your children to receive. Otherwise you could see your ability for any Centrelink benefit diminished or non-existent in retirement.
We at Cooper Wealth Management are here to assist and make sure that you consider all your planning opportunities both pre and post retirement!