We often get asked what are the differences of both the Age Pension and the Disability Support Benefit for those Age Pension age.
Five questions to ask your clients:
1. Are you working?
The work bonus is available for the Age Pension, where you can earn $300 pfn (up to $7,800 pa) before your pension is affected. For those that are income tested, this could add up to $150 pfn in pension.
However, for Disability Support Pensioners, you may also receive a Mobility Allowance of $139.10 pfn for meeting work criteria.
You will also continue to receive the Incentive Allowance of $62 pfn (without dependents provided you do not receive rent assistance).
2. Are you renting?
The rent assistance is higher for those on the Disability Support Pension for a single. This $139.60 pfn regardless of the rent you pay. Compared to an Age Pensioner, who would get 75 cents for every dollar of rent, up to the maximum.
3.Are you studying?
You get access to the Pension Education Supplement ($62.40pfn) and Education Entry Payment ($208 pa) if you study and receive the Disability Support Pension.
You may also receive a Mobility Allowance and you travel to study, while on the Disability Support Pension. For particular study and work arrangements, this is up to $139.10pfn plus and extra 12 weeks payment.
4. Are you completing the ongoing medical requirements?
Being on a Disability Support Pension may mean you have ongoing medical review requirements. This is not required for the Age Pension.
5. Do you travel overseas for extended periods?
The Age Pension allows for recipients to travel for 6 weeks before the pension amount is reviewed compared to 28 days for the Disability Support Pension.
Carer Allowance for a partner can continue regardless of either pension, the Age Pension or Disability Support Pension.
The Disability Support Pension is tax free, but not after the recipient is Age Pension age. It becomes taxable like the Age Pension.
In conclusion, in most cases that do not involve specific benefits around work, study, rent and travel, we see there is no real benefit for either for the recipient. However, the Age Pension may be simpler to administer without review requirements.