What is the pension age in Australia and when can you retire?

How your age can affect your income when you retire.
A happy couple at a cafe, enjoying retirement.Getty

When you’re planning for retirement, one of the most important things to consider is what payments you can get at different ages. This is particularly the case for the pension, because most people rely on it when they retire. The pension age in Australia is 67 for anyone born on or after 1 January 1957. This is when you can get the Age Pension, as long as you meet the other eligibility requirements.

But you can retire earlier if you have other sources of income, including superannuation. In fact, you can typically access super after you turn 60 if you’re retiring or transitioning to retirement.

You can also access super even if you’re still working once you turn 65 (or if you meet early access requirements).

So, if you’re planning for retirement, here’s what to know about the age pension age and other options in Australia.

The pension age in Australia affects when you can get the Age Pension but you can access superannuation earlier.

What is the Age Pension in Australia?

The Age Pension is a government payment you can get once you reach the age of 67. You also need to meet residence rules, an income test and an asset test, which is managed by Services Australia.

How much is the Age Pension in Australia?

If you meet all the requirements, the maximum Age Pension payment you’ll receive is $1,682.80 per fortnight for a couple and $1,116.30 per fortnight for an individual.

You may also be eligible for other payments, such as a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card or Rent Assistance.

What are the eligibility requirements to get the Age Pension in Australia?

There are four main Age Pension eligibility requirements:

1. Age

You can apply for the Age Pension in Australia at the age of 67 or later.

2. Residence rules

You typically need to be an Australian resident who is living in Australia.

You also need to physically be in Australia on the day you apply for the Age Pension. So keep your travel and pension plans separate while you’re applying.

3. The asset test

Services Australia considers the value of all your assets (including any overseas) to determine if you’re eligible for the Age Pension.

Property is particularly important for the asset test, with different limits if you own your home.

From 20 March 2024, the limits for a full pension are:

Your situationHomeownerNon-homeowner
A couple, combined$1,012,500$1,254,500
A couple, separated due to illness, combined$1,196,000$1,438,000
A couple, one partner eligible, combined$1,012,500$1,254.500

4. The income test

Services Australia considers all your sources of income to work out if you’re eligible for the Age Pension and how much your payment will be. If you have a partner, their income is also considered.

As a basic guide, the amount you can earn each fortnight without Age Pension payments being affected is $360 combined for a couple and $204 for an individual.

You can earn more than that in a fortnight, too. But your Age Pension payment is reduced by 50 cents for every dollar over the amount outlined by Centrelink.

You can still work and get the Age Pension if you meet the requirements.

How the Work Bonus can affect your Age Pension payments

In September 2023, the Australian government introduced a permanent Work Bonus option for pensioners over the Age Pension age and eligible veterans. In basic terms, it gives you a way to earn money from a job without it affecting your Age Pension payment.

“If these pensioners choose to take up work or work more their earnings will have less of an impact on their pension.”

Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth (media statement, 25 September 2023)

The Work Bonus applies to most employed and self-employed work you actively participate in. But not income from investments, trusts or family companies. If you have questions, contact the Services Australia Aged Care Line on 1800 227 475.

How much money can I have in the bank and get the full pension?

If you have no other assets, technically you could have up to $674,000 as a single homeowner (up to $916,000 as a non-homeowner) or up to $1,012,500 as a couple living in your own home (up to $1,254,500 as non-homeowners).

But the asset test also considers your superannuation balance, other investments and property like your car, jewellery, furniture and appliances. So a simple way to find out how the money in your bank accounts will affect the Age Pension is by applying for it when you’re eligible.

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