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Preservation Age Versus Age Pension

To gain access to your superannuation either as a lump sum payment or a pension payment you need to have met what is known as a 'condition of release'.  Some of these include:

  1. Retirement after preservation age (refer below)
  2. Termination of employment after age 60
  3. Attaining age 65
  4. Permanent disability
  5. Terminal medical illness
  6. Upon death

In the 2015 budget announcement, the Federal government proposed changes to raise the pension age to 70 by 1 July 2035.This has created concern for Australia's middle age workers. However, the key concept that every Australian needs to be aware of is that 'preservation age' is different from 'age pension age'.

Your age pension age is the age that you first become eligible to claim the age pension.
The current qualification age for the age pension is 65 years, increasing to 67 years by 1 July 2023.

Date of Birth

Pension Age

Before 1 July 1952

65

1 July 1952 – 31 December 1953

65 years and 6 months

1 January 1954 to 30 June 1955

66 years

1 July 1955 – 31 December 1956

66 years and 6 months

After 1 January 1957

67 years

Your preservation age is the age at which you can retire and access your preserved superannuation benefits which currently ranges from 55-60 years depending on your date of birth.

Date of Birth

Pension Age

Before 1 July 1960

55

1 July 1960 – 30 June 1961

56

1 July 1961 – 30 June 1962

57

1 July 1962 – 30 June 1963

58

1 July 1963 – 30 June 1964

59

After 1 July 1964

60

To access superannuation once you reach your preservation age you must also retire from the workforce. Those individuals who have reached preservation age, but have not yet retired, may still be able to assess their superannuation through establishing a Transition to Retirement (TTR) pension. Individuals turning 55 this year will need to wait until they are 56 now before being eligible to commence a TTR.

Currently the proposed legislation to increase the Age Pension age has not been passed through the Senate and appears unlikely to at this stage. Those in their 50's and 60's should take the opportunity of the generous tax rules and incentives around super and increase their retirement savings. Some strategies this age group should consider is looking into salary sacrificing into super while they are still working, review their insurance policy and needs as they may now be over insured as well as reviewing their asset allocations within their investment portfolio considering the extended date for retirement. In the next newsletter we will review the benefits of commencing a TTR.


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