5.1.8.10 Common pension rates

Applicable pensions

This topic shows the maximum adult rates for the following pensions:

  • age pension
  • DSP (aged 21 years or over, or under 21 with a dependent child)
  • carer payment
  • wife pension
  • widow B pension
  • special needs pension
  • bereavement allowance, and
  • parenting payment (single).

Note: For DSP rates for people aged under 21 without children see 5.1.5.10.

Rates

The table below shows the rates for the first 7 pension types in the list above in dollars per fortnight (pf) applying in the period from 20 September 2019 to 19 March 2020 inclusive.

Recipient status Maximum payment rate ($ pf) Maximum transitional pension rate ($ pf)

(residing in Australia or temporarily absent from Australia for a continuous period not exceeding 6 weeks (in most cases))
(MBR + pension supplement + ES)

(not residing in Australia or absent from Australia for a continuous period exceeding 6 weeks ( in most cases))
(MBR + pension supplement basic amount only)

(residing in Australia or temporarily absent from Australia for a continuous period not exceeding 6 weeks (in most cases)) (includes ES) (not residing in Australia or absent from Australia for a continuous period exceeding 6 weeks (in most cases))(excludes ES)
Single 933.40 874.30 780.10 702.60
Partnered (each) 703.50 660.70 629.40 587.30
Partnered - illness separated couple (1.1.I.04), respite care couple (1.1.R.240), or partner imprisoned (1.1.P.85) 933.40 874.30 780.10 702.60

The following table shows the rates for PPS in dollars per fortnight applying in the period from 20 September 2019 to 19 March 2020 inclusive (see also 5.2.4.50).

MBR + adult pension supplement basic amount (for recipients below age pension age) + maximum ES
($ pf)
MBR + adult pension supplement (for recipients of age pension age) + maximum ES
($ pf)
792.70 839.80

Act reference: SSAct section 1064-A1 Method of calculating rate, Schedule 1A clause 146 and Schedule 1A clause 147 Transitional provisions for rates of certain social security pensions on and after 20 September 2009

Indexation

Details on the indexation of the pensions listed above can be found in 5.1.8.50.

Timing of payments

As from 1 July 1999, payments are made fortnightly in arrears. Before that date payments were made on the pension payday if the pensioner was eligible and the pension was payable on that day.

Supplementary payments

As a result of the 20 September 2009 introduction of a pension supplement most pensioners are no longer paid PhA, TAL or UA. Pensioners may receive a PCC, RA and RAA if eligible. People in receipt of DSP who are aged under 21 and do not have dependent children, do not receive pension supplement and may continue to receive PhA, TAL or UA after 20 September 2009.

From 20 March 2013 the ES (1.2.12.20) was included in the maximum payment rate payable to the above pensioners.

Partnered person treated as a single person

SSAct section 24 enables a partnered person to be deemed NOT to be a member of a couple (1.1.M.120) for all purposes of the Act. The application of this provision is at the discretion of a delegate, and is explained in the referenced topic.

Example: A person with a partner who is serving a NARWP (1.1.N.70) may be deemed NOT to be a member of a couple. That means the person may be treated as a single person.

Act reference: SSAct section 24 Person may be treated as not being a member of a couple (subsection 4(2))

Policy reference: SS Guide 2.2.5.50 Discretion to Treat a Person as Not Being a Member of a Couple for a Special Reason

Partnered, one under age of consent

If a pensioner is living in a member of a couple relationship with a person of the same sex or a different sex and one or both partners are under the age of consent in the state in which they live, they are not classified as partnered. However, the rate payable is not to exceed the rate payable if they were partnered. This means the rate is the partnered rate, except for WidB and BVA, which are paid at the single rate. The income and assets tests apply to all pensioners in this situation as though they were a couple.

Act reference: SSAct section 4(1)-'member of a couple', section 1064(2) Subsection (1) does not apply …, section 1065(3) Where a person who is permanently blind …, section 1066(3) If a person has a relationship …, section 1066A(5) If a person has a relationship …, section 1066B(4) Where a person who is permanently blind …, section 1068A(3) If a person has a relationship …

Partnered (illness separated, respite care, partner in prison)

A pensioner who is a member of illness separated couple, respite care couple, or has a partner in prison, is paid at the single rate (including supplementary payments) but the income and assets tests apply as to a couple. The exception is PP, where the rate is the 'single with child' benefit rate and the person does not qualify for pension add-ons.

Where both partners reside in supported accommodation such as a shared unit in a hostel (1.1.H.90), illness separated provisions apply.

Explanation: Hostel fees are calculated as a percentage of the single pension rate.

The illness-separated rate cannot be paid to a couple who are co-habiting under familial care arrangements. However, where one partner is in familial care and the other resides elsewhere, illness separated provisions apply subject to the satisfactory evidence being provided that care is required.

Act reference: SSAct section 1068B-C2 Maximum basic rate - benefit PP (partnered)

Policy reference: SS Guide 2.2.5.60 Determining an Illness Separated Couple

Pensioners paid overseas

Pensioners who are overseas for more than 26 weeks, or indefinitely, are paid from CIS in Hobart. They are generally paid by direct deposit but can also be paid by cheque every 4 weeks. Each 4-weekly payment represents 2 fortnightly entitlement periods' worth of payment.

Pension supplement and certain allowances may be payable to pensioners who are overseas. For qualification criteria and the period for which these may be payable see 7.1.2.20 Application of portability rules (portability table).

Pensioners overseas who are paid under agreements are generally paid a proportional rate, depending on their working-life residence (AWLR) (1.1.A.340) in Australia (residence between 16 and age-pension age, up to a maximum of 35 years - excluding Greece and New Zealand where the calculation is as specified in the respective agreements).

Many pensioners overseas who are paid autonomously (i.e. not under an agreement) are also paid a proportional rate after they have been overseas continuously for 26 weeks. This is generally worked out the same way as for agreements.

Note: It is important to note that someone with no AWLR at all (e.g. first arrived in Australia after age pension age) will receive a NIL rate of pension, even though they remain qualified.

People paid under agreements who have dependent children, may be paid additional child amounts component as part of their pension. See 10.1.9.50.

Agreement pensioners in Australia are paid a direct-deduction rate. Foreign pension from the agreement country is directly deducted (dollar for dollar) from the normal maximum rate; then the income-and-asset test (excluding the foreign pension already used as a direct deduction) is applied to the remainder.

Act reference: SSAct Part 4.2 Overseas portability

SS(IntAgree)Act Part 3 Calculation of international agreement portability rates

Policy reference: SS Guide 7.2.2.10 Calculating Proportional Portability for Non-Agreement Pensions, 7.1 Conditions for payment outside Australia, 7.2 Arrangements for payment outside Australia, 7.2.2.40 Australian working life residence, 10.1.9.50 Payments for children of pensioners overseas, 10.1.9.60 Inside Australia Rate for Agreement Payments

Last reviewed: 20 September 2019