If you are in receipt of an age pension from Centrelink, or a service pension from the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), every year in March and September your pension is adjusted to be in line with the highest of the following indicators: Consumer Price Index (CPI), the Average Weekly Total Earnings (AWTE) rates, and any pensioner and beneficiary living cost index increases.
At the same time both departments automatically update the value of the listed shares and units in managed funds held by pensioners to reflect the current market value. So – depending on the movement in the market your pension may increase, or decrease, as a result of these regular departmental reviews.
It’s very important to make sure that the information being held by Centrelink and the DVA is always correct, and my suggestion is to never delay a review of this information.
Coincidentally; spring is here! And lucky for us it’s the season famous for cleaning up your home, and now, your finances.
Over the course of 12 months a lot can change. You may have sold, added, or altered your investments, or you may have even received some bonus shares!
All of these changes can have an effect on your entitlement – especially during March and September.
For example: if you have sold some of your shares for the purpose of going on a holiday and you have not notified Centrelink or the DVA, your pension may be deemed as ‘incorrect’ and you could in fact be receiving less than your correct amount.
Of course – the opposite can also happen. If you have received bonus shares and have not notified the appropriate department, you may have been overpaid.
Remember, both departments will raise an overpayment if you have been paid in excess of your entitlement, but they may not necessarily back pay any pension you could be owed as a result of an underpayment (if you fail to notify within the prescribed 14-day period).
If you are uncertain about what you should be doing, or what is the first step in this process, then please contact your financial planner so that we may assist you in updating all the necessary information to ensure you are receiving your correct pension entitlement.
Time to chuck on the plastic gloves and grab a broom! Your Age Pension depends on it.
PETER KELLY | RETIREMENT SPECIALIST
The information provided in this page is general in nature and does not constitute personal financial advice. The information has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information you should consider the appropriateness of the information with regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. You should seek independent advice from your financial adviser before making any decisions.
AUSTRALIAN MORTGAGE AND FINANCIAL ADVISERS (AMAFA)
Phone: 07 3378 2056
Fax: 07 3378 2069