August 3, 2023 | 5 min read
Summary: We look at what the current Age Pension rates are, how much extra income you could earn without losing benefits, and how often it’s paid.
When you retire, you may be able to access government benefits like the Age Pension. This essentially provides you with back-up income if you don’t have enough retirement savings in your super or other investments.
The kind of pension and benefits you’re entitled to generally depends on your age, assets and income.
In this article, we look at what the current Age Pension rates are, how much extra income you could earn without losing these benefits, and how often it’s paid.
Generally, to be eligible for the Age Pension, you must be 67 or older—depending on when you were born—be an Australian resident and have lived in Australia for at least 10 years as well as meet the income and assets tests.
We explain these in more detail below.
Until 1 July this year, the maximum amount you could move from super into tax-free retirement super income streams, such as Account-Based-Pensions and Annuities, was $1.7 million (called the ‘transfer balance cap’). Because of indexation, that has now been increased to $1.9 million.
If you had a tax-free retirement pension before 1 July 2023, your cap may only be partially increased and the ATO will calculate your personal transfer balance cap. If you think you may be impacted, speak with the ATO or your accountant. You can also check your personal transfer balance cap via your myGov account.
From 1 July 2023, the qualifying age for Age Pension is 67. This applies to those born on or after 1 January 1957. If you were born prior to this date, you have already reached your age pension age as it was less than 67.
To qualify for the Age Pension, you must be an Australian resident (that is, living in Australia on a permanent basis) and have lived in the country for at least 10 years.
You must also have lived in Australia for at least 5 years consecutively, and you’ll need to be in the country on the day you apply for the pension.
If you’re not an Australian resident, there are some circumstances in which you could be eligible for the Age Pension.
Special rules apply to residences in countries with which Australia has an International Social Security Agreement. Residence in these countries may count towards the minimum 10-year residence requirement.
Age Pension rates for a single person
|Maximum base rate||$971.50|
|Maximum pension supplement||$78.40|
|Total (per fortnight)||$1,064|
|Total (per year)^||$27,664|
Age Pension rates for a couple (living together)
|Amount (each)||Amount (combined)|
|Maximum base rate||$732.30||$1,464.60|
|Maximum pension supplement||$59.10||$118.20|
|Total (per fortnight)||$802.00||$1,604.00|
|Total (per year)^||$20,852||$41,704|
Source: Services Australia. Applicable 20 March 2023 to 19 September 2023
^Annual amounts are approximate
Yes, the Government is enabling people on the Age Pension to earn extra income without losing their pension benefits.
To receive the full Age Pension as a single pensioner, you can earn up to $204 per fortnight. A couple can earn up to $360 per fortnight, combined, before it affects pension payments.
To receive the part Age Pension as a single pensioner, you can earn up to $2,332 (up to $3,568 for couples) per fortnight.
On top of your income, the Work Bonus allows you to earn up to an additional $300 per fortnight before your pension payments are affected.
Any portion of the $300 that is not used, accumulates into a Work Bonus Income Bank which you can use in the future. The maximum amount you can accumulate in your Work Bonus Income Bank is $7,800. Once you exceed this, you won’t be able to receive anymore.
Note: from 1 December 2022 until 31 December 2023, the Work Bonus balance increased by $4,000 to $11,800. It will then revert back to $7,800 from 1 January 2024.
Your Work Bonus balance begins accumulating from the day you become eligible for Age Pension payments, even if you’re not working.
Julie is receiving the pension and works as a casual nurse, earning $350 a fortnight. She has no income other than the pension.
Based on the $204 income limit, she has exceeded this amount by $146 per fortnight. However, the remaining $146 will go under the Work Bonus of $300. As she’s not exceeding the limit, Julie will still receive the maximum pension rate.
The Age Pension rates will potentially change on 20 September 2023.
Increases are likely but not certain because the Australian Bureau of Statistics evaluates these increases based a variety of different factors.
The payments are made fortnightly for most people with some exceptions.
If you’re having issues managing your money, or are at risk of becoming homeless, you can apply to receive your payments weekly.
If you’re eligible for the Age Pension and approaching retirement age, you don’t necessarily have to spend all your super before you’re eligible for pension payments.
If you’d like some help assessing your eligibility for benefits, and strategies to improve your retirement savings, a financial expert may help set you on the right track.
Their job is to help you with every aspect of your financial life, while keeping you on track to achieve your goals. Start the conversation to see how a financial expert can help you.
As one of the largest pension providers in Australia,* we know that growing and keeping your money safe is important. When it comes to support, we go the extra mile—providing general pension advice at no additional cost.
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This article has been prepared by NULIS Nominees (Australia) Limited ABN 80 008 515 633 AFSL 236465 (NULIS) as trustee of the MLC Super Fund ABN 70 732 426 024. NULIS is part of the Insignia Financial group of companies comprising Insignia Financial Ltd ABN 49 100 103 722 and its related bodies corporate (‘Insignia Financial Group’). The information in this article is current as at November 2023 and may be subject to change. This information may constitute general advice. The information in this article is general in nature and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions based on this information. It is recommended that you consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Target Market Determination (TMD) before you make any decisions about your superannuation. You can obtain the latest copy of the PDS (or other disclosure documents) and TMD by calling us on 132 652 or by searching for the applicable product at mlc.com.au. You should not rely on this article to determine your personal tax obligations. Please consult a registered tax agent for this purpose. Opinions constitute our judgement at the time of issue. The case study examples (if any) provided in this article have been included for illustrative purposes only and should not be relied upon for decision making. Subject to terms implied by law and which cannot be excluded, neither NULIS nor any member of the Insignia Financial Group accept responsibility for any loss or liability incurred by you in respect of any error, omission or misrepresentation in the information in this communication.