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Centrelink payments and entitlements and work bonus

1 April 2016

While there are many different Centrelink payments and entitlements available, in this flyer we have outlined the criteria for the most common allowances, pensions and benefit cards.

Centrelink benefits

Age pension:

The age pension is available to eligible individuals who have attained age pension age. Currently this is 65 years for both males and females.

From 1 July 2017, the age pension age increases incrementally for both males and females until it reaches age 67 on 1 July 2023. This is illustrated according to the following table.

Date of birth between Age eligible for age pension
1 July 1952 and 31 December 1953 65½
1 January 1954 and 30 June 1955 66
1 July 1955 and 31 December 1956 66½
From 1 January 1957 67


The age pension is subject to both the Centrelink income and assets tests.

Newstart allowance:

This allowance can assist you financially whilst you are out of work.

Qualifying criteria

To qualify for Newstart allowance all of the following criteria must be met:

  • be unemployed or regarded as unemployed
  • unless exempted, participate in or be willing to participate in approved activities and/or job search.
  • enter into, comply with or vary an existing Employment Pathway Plan to fulfil the activity test.
  • be over age 22 but under age pension age, and
  • be an Australian resident and be living in Australia for the period of payment.

Although individuals between the age of 55 and 64 can meet their obligation of seeking full time work by working voluntarily, they will not have to participate in the ‘work for the dole scheme’ compared to those individuals who are younger. Voluntary work is defined as work that benefits the community and which you don’t profit from financially.

Newstart allowance is subject to both the Centrelink income and assets tests.

Parenting Payment:

This allowance is paid to the main carer of a child. Only one parent or guardian can receive the payment.

You may be eligible to receive Parenting Payment if you:

  • are single and care for at least one child aged less than eight,
  • have a partner and care for at least one child aged less than six.

The Parenting Payment is subject to both income and assets tests, so the amount you may receive depends on your situation.

Residency requirements also apply. To qualify, you generally need to be an Australian resident and in Australia on the day on which you lodge your claim. You must be:

  • an Australian citizen, or
  • the holder of a permanent-resident visa

Carer Allowance

This fortnightly allowance is available to an individual who cares for a person who is disabled or has a severe medical condition that requires added attention.

Qualifying criteria

To qualify you must satisfy both of the conditions below:

  • You are looking after a child under 16 or a person aged 16 years or over who has a disability, medical condition and requires care and attention on a daily basis.
  • You provide the care for that person in either your home or the home of that person.

Carer Allowance is not subject to the Centrelink assets or income tests and is not taxable.

Disability Support Pension

Disability Support Pension (DSP) can be of assistance if you have a disability that prohibits you from working.

Qualifying criteria

  • you are over 16 years but less than age pension age
  • you are an Australian resident and in Australia when you claim
  • you are permanently blind, or
  • you have been assessed as having a physical, intellectual, or psychiatric impairment.

To assess your eligibility, a report from your doctor or specialist about your disability, injury or illness will be required. You may also need to have a job capacity assessment.

If you live with your parent(s), their assets and income levels will not be taken into consideration. You may also be able to qualify for pharmaceutical allowance.

Centrelink entitlements

Pharmaceutical Allowance

This allowance can assist you to purchase the prescription medications you require, and is included as a non-taxable payment. The medicines available are outlined in the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

Qualifying criteria

You may qualify for the Pharmaceutical Allowance if you are currently receiving:

  • Youth Allowance, Widow Allowance, Newstart Allowance or ABSTUDY, Partner Allowance during a period of temporary illness
  • Parenting Payment (Single), Mature Age Allowance, Sickness Allowance, Carer Payment (adult/child), Bereavement Allowance, or
  • Widow Allowance, Newstart Allowance, Parenting Payment (Partnered), Partner Allowance, Austudy, ABSTUDY Payment or Special Benefit and you are at least 60 years of age and have received income support payments continuously for at least nine months.

Health Care Card (HCC)

If you are eligible for Centrelink payments, you may also be eligible for a health care card, which provides you with discounted medication, health care, public transport and energy and water bills. Be aware that the benefits can vary from state to state and some of these extra concessions are also available to dependants.

Although the HCC is linked to Centrelink allowances, payments or benefits which may be subject to the Centrelink assets or income test, the HCC itself isn’t subject to the tests.

Qualifying criteria

To qualify you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must currently be in receipt of a qualifying social security benefit.
  • You must be a resident of, and live in, Australia.
  • You must be in receipt of certain social security supplementary payments (such as the fortnightly maximum rate of Family Tax Benefit Part A by instalment, Carer Allowance (child), or Mobility Allowance but not qualify for a Pensioner Concession Card).

Pensioner Concession Card

The Pensioner Concession Card (PCC) provides you and your dependants with the following benefits:

  • An increase in benefits for out-of-pocket, out-of-hospital medical expenses above a certain threshold through the Medicare Safety Net.
  • Cheaper PBS-listed prescription medicines.
  • Help with certain hearing services which include hearing tests and hearing aids.

Entitlements may also include:

  • bulk-billed General Practitioner appointments
  • other payments from Centrelink such as Telephone Allowance, Utilities Allowance, and the Seniors Concession Allowance.

Qualifying criteria

To qualify you must:

  • be a resident of, and live in, Australia
  • be receiving Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, Parenting Payment (Single) and Carer Payment or Sickness Allowance, Widows Allowance, Bereavement Allowance, Newstart Allowance and Youth Allowance, or
  • be at least 60 years of age.

You don’t have to be receiving a full pension to qualify for a PCC, but you have to be continuously receiving at least one of the particular social security payments for a minimum of nine months.

Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC)

The CSHC is targeted at self-funded retirees of age pension age who do not qualify for an age pension because of their asset and/or income assessment.

To qualify, you must:

  • be at least age pension age
  • be an Australian resident, or be in Australia to retain card, and/or
  • have an annual adjustable taxable income of less than $52,273 (single) and $83,636 (couple combined).

Adjusted taxable income (ATI) – DefinitionFrom 1 January 2015, the ATI for your tax year will be the sum of your:

  • taxable income
  • employer provided benefits (in excess of $2,000)
  • target foreign income
  • net rental property loss
  • income that is voluntarily salary sacrificed to superannuation (and personal deductible contributions)
  • net financial investment loss
  • deemed income from account-based pensions post 1 January 2015.

Benefits of the CSHC

The CSHC provides holders with access to discounted pharmaceuticals through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. In addition, CSHC holders might also benefit from other concessions such as medical bulk billing, household transport, education and entertainment facilities.

Rent assistance

If you have limited means and pay rent to a private landlord for accommodation, you may qualify for rent assistance. Rent assistance is paid in addition to pensions, allowances, benefits or Family Payment that you may receive.


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Office: 1300 364 650

Mobile: 0424 61 60 60

Office Address: 8 / 350 Collins Street

Melbourne VIC 3000

Mailing Address: PO Box 1003

Macleod VIC 3085