Getting The Age Pension for Farmers

Steve GreatrexBlog2 Comments

Retirement Planning

Aged Pension Planning

    Getting The Age Pension for Farmers

One of our retired clients has been farming for the last 20 years. The asset value of their farm has meant that they have been ineligible for the Age Pension. However there is an exemption to the assets test called the Extended Land Use Test. The government has, for a long time, excluded from the assets test the family farm’s home and the 2 hectares around it. From 1 January 2007, the government also allowed farmers who had worked the farm for a 20 year period to be an additional exemption. It was clear that our client was eligible under this test. The problem was getting Centrelink to the table!

Our clients completed the requisite application forms. Never having been part of the Centrelink system, it was a major trial – for example one of their birth certificates was so old, it required special attention. We get our clients to complete a Centrelink form that allows us to get the correspondence that they are getting, and also to speak to Centrelink on their behalf. When the first assessment came through, it was clear that they weren’t getting assessed correctly.

They were only getting a partial payment, when they were eligible for the full payment.

So I rang Centrelink. My mistake was to ring the main information line. I raised the issue eventually, the issue was acknowledged. But then I was told the initial decision maker would have to change the assessment. After several weeks we saw that there had been a small change in the assessment. At this point I rang our go to expert on Centrelink, Mark Teale of Centrepoint. His advice – ring the local FIS (Financial Information Service) officer. Which I did. She rang me back shortly thereafter. She agreed with what I was saying. However she was not authorised to make the change (by the way these FIS officers are always good to deal with).

After leaving several messages over the following week, she called me. We now understood that the original assessor had only reduced the value of the property by $500,000, and not to a zero assessment. This was wrong. That person was about to go on holidays and appeared to be sitting on the decision. Her advice – your client may have to see their local member.

Our client went to their local Centrelink office the next day (they live in a rural location in another State). Their next planned visit was to their local Federal member. After explaining everything to the same Centrelink officer they had been speaking to earlier (not the original assessor), the Centrelink counter officer decided to apply the test correctly. Voila! Our client got the Age Pension, and also got the increase backdated to the original payment. Our client’s and we were elated.

We are sure there are many people who may have given up earlier. There may be farmers out there who are not aware of this exemption and not getting money they are entitled to. But this is the value of getting an adviser to assist you.

If you do have a serious issue with Centrelink, or a technical query, consider making a time to talk to an FIS officer. And make sure your adviser is helping you with Centrelink. They should be. And thanks to Mark!

2 Comments on “Getting The Age Pension for Farmers”

  1. I am also a pensioner and my understanding in principle of what I’ve worked all my life savings and asset builds were tax long time ago.

    Means test is another heavy tax and has no bearing for my benefit at all level playing field, except for a double dipping approach to what we save and builds in long after years, hail, rain a nd shine.

    Comes retiring, to subject me for a means test is a gross insult finding that this test will erode my savings, or, if not lost losing my asset, my entitlements, destroying my feelings, my dignity as a free of what you can do best.
    That means test can easily reduce us to a halt clandestinely design for a total disadvantage on our behalf.
    Wheres is the financial freedom, when you are in controlled situations dictated by means test. I think this is worst than communism if you digest the old rulings and where us our right to live freely?
    If I’ll be ask to suggest how?
    I’d say, give pensioner “an incentives instead” of punishing them with old destructive means test that is in dire needs to be reform to suit for better benefit both pensioner and government.
    You see, most pensioner have a dead asset and to make it worth having i’ll turn around and use it for any worthwhile business ideas.

    To do that i’ll downgrade my situation buy a cheaper place to live and the earnings or profit will be used for any businesd ideas to add income on my pension so I can be contented and happy for what I do in life.
    I expect government will support my plans for various reasons.
    During tax time allow me to use my pension entitlements :as a threshold and tax like everyone.”
    Down the track, the tax collected from my efforts can help builds more fund, that includes GST too as an added bonus.
    Economy flowing when I can employ with the hope to reduce unemployment and if successful another tax payer joining as consumer letting the economy evolving.
    This will also encourage young Australian to save rather become a laid back as what we see and labelled currently.
    Old system breeds nothing except disgust and Australian forcibly will live without a hope, as incentives are no where to be found.
    What we are today if, no or nothing has been done, tomorrow we are still the same, while other countries are flourishing with success.
    See our excessive military and foreign aids?
    That can be reduce logically enough to solve pensioners demise.
    Government must open their minds and learn to accept ideas such as this.
    What I wish to happen, if not listening can only continue in controlled hopes and the aim of better governance will never happen or improve.
    Thank for reading my views- cheers

  2. Absolutely agree with you, I have worked since I was 18. For 20 years have owned and worked hard on my farm and supplemented my income by continuing nursing. I am over retirement age but afraid I will not qualify by the Centrelink rules for a retirement pension. 18 months ago, after resigning from a high stress nursing position, I was unable to access Newstart/Job seeker or whatever it is currently called. I have accepted another stress nursing position for the income I need to survive. I don’t want to sell my property so I seem to be doomed to keep on working. Paid tax for 50 years… is this fair governance!….

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