The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. Theinformation contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to relevant legislation/policy. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia.
Qualification (1.1.Q.10) criteria
To qualify for Age, a claimant must meet the criteria listed in the following table, or the alternative criteria for women that are explained later in this topic. If more detail about a criterion is required, the second column indicates where you will find this.
|Have reached pension age||This topic|
|AND meet ONE of the following:|
|have 10 years qualifying Australian residence, OR||This topic|
|have a QRE for Age, OR||This topic|
|have been receiving WA, or PA immediately before reaching pension age, OR||126.96.36.199 Summary of Portability under International Social Security Agreements|
If the payments were received because of an international agreement, Age is also paid under the provisions of the agreement.
|have reached pension age before 20 March 1997, and were receiving WA or PA immediately before 20 March 1997, OR||This topic|
|be a woman who:||SSAct section 43(1A)(c) Both partners must be Australian residents at time of partner's death|
|be a woman who:|
SSAct section 43(1B)
For pension age see SSAct section 23(5A) to (5D)
Act reference: SSAct section 23(1) Dictionary, section 23(5A) to (5D) Pension age, section 7(5) A person has 10 years qualifying Australian residence if …, section 43(1A)(c) both the woman and her partner were …, section 43(1B) A woman is qualified for an Age
Pension age for women born before 1 July 1952
Before 1 July 2013, men qualified for Age at 65 years and women qualified for Age at different ages to men, depending on their date of birth. From 1 July 1995, the minimum age for women to qualify for Age began to increase by 6 months every 2 years. The qualifying age for women is set out in section 23(5B) (for women born before 1 July 1935) and the table in section 23(5C) (for women born from 1 July 1935 to 31 December 1948). The table below shows pension age by date of birth and the effective date of the change.
|Date||Affects women born (both dates inclusive)||Pension age|
|Before 01/07/1935||60 years|
|01/07/1995||From 01/07/1935 to 31/12/1936||60 years and 6 months|
|01/07/1997||From 01/01/1937 to 30/06/1938||61 years|
|01/07/1999||From 01/07/1938 to 31/12/1939||61 years and 6 months|
|01/07/2001||From 01/01/1940 to 30/06/1941||62 years|
|01/07/2003||From 01/07/1941 to 31/12/1942||62 years and 6 months|
|01/07/2005||From 01/01/1943 to 30/06/1944||63 years|
|01/07/2007||From 01/07/1944 to 31/12/1945||63 years and 6 months|
|01/07/2009||From 01/01/1946 to 30/06/1947||64 years|
|01/07/2011||From 01/07/1947 to 31/12/1948||64 years and 6 months|
|01/07/2013||From 01/01/1949 to 30/06/1952||65 years|
Example: For a woman born on 31 December 1939, the earliest date from which she could qualify for age pension would be 1 July 2001. This is her date of birth plus 61.5 years.
Act reference: SSAct section 23(5B) A woman born before 1 July 1935 reaches pension age when she turns 60, section 23(5C) A woman born within the period specified in column 2 of …, section 23(5D) A woman born during the period specified in column 2 of …
Pension age for men born before 1 July 1952
Men born before 1 July 1952 qualify for Age at 65.
Act reference: SSAct section 23(5A) A man born during the period specified in column 2 of …
Pension age for both men & women born on or after 1 July 1952
Since 1 July 2017, the minimum age for both men and women to qualify for Age has begun to further increase. For men and women born on or after 1 July 1952 the pension age will progressively increase by 6 months every 2 years until it reaches 67 on 1 July 2023. The table below shows pension age by date of birth and the effective date of the change.
|Date||Affects men & women born (both dates inclusive)||Pension age|
|01/07/2017||01/07/1952 to 31/12/1953||65 years and 6 months|
|01/07/2019||01/01/1954 to 30/06/1955||66 years|
|01/07/2021||01/07/1955 to 31/12/1956||66 years and 6 months|
|01/07/2023||On or after 01/01/1957||67 years|
Example: For a person born on 31 October 1953, the earliest date from which they could qualify for age pension would be 1 May 2019. This is their date of birth plus 65.5 years.
Act reference: SSAct section 23(5A) A man born during the period specified in column 2 of …, section 23(5D) A woman born during the period specified in column 2 of …
Pension age where there is no corresponding day in 6 months
Where a person claiming Age is born on a day for which there is no corresponding day in the month 6 months later, they will reach pension age on the first day of the following month. This occurs for people born on:
- 31 March - 6 months attained on 1 October
- 31 May - 6 months attained on 1 December
- 29 August - 6 months attained on 29 February in leap years and 1 March in other years
- 30 and 31 August - 6 months attained on 1 March
- 31 October - 6 months attained on 1 May, and
- 31 December - 6 months attained on 1 July.
This is in line with section 2G of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901.
Delegates should ensure that claimants applying for Age present verifiable evidence of their date of birth.
Policy reference: SS Guide 2.2.2 Verifying personal details
It may also be possible for the claimant to qualify for Age under the terms of an international agreement (1.1.A.120). The international agreements are found in the SS(IntAgree)Act. The requirement to be an Australian resident does NOT apply to claimants relying on international agreements.
Act reference: SSAct section 7 Australian residence definitions, section 43(1) Qualification for Age, section 7(2) An Australian resident is a person who …
Policy reference: SS Guide Part 7 Portability & comparable foreign payment (CFP), Part 10 Australian Social Security Agreements
Ten years qualifying residence
Ten years qualifying residence is satisfied if the claimant has:
- been an Australian resident continuously for at least 10 years at any point in the past, OR
- been an Australian resident for 2 or more periods that in total exceed 10 years, AND
- at least one of those periods is of 5 years duration or more.
Act reference: SSAct section 7 Australian residence definitions, section 43(1)(a) Qualification for Age
Qualifying residence exemption
A person has a QRE for Age if they reside in Australia AND is either a refugee or a former refugee.
Act reference: SSAct section 7 Australian residence definitions, section 43(1)(b) Qualification for Age
A claimant must make a proper claim before Age can be granted.
A person receiving DSP, CP, PP, WA or PA MAY BE transferred to Age without the need for a claim.
Note: WA and PA were closed to new recipients from 1 July 2018 and 20 September 2003 respectively. They both ceased completely on 1 January 2022.
Act reference: SS(Admin)Act section 11 General rule, section 12 Deemed claim in certain cases, section 16 How to make a claim
Policy reference: SS Guide 8.1.1 Claim Lodgement Provisions, 8.2.1 Transfers
Possible entitlement to PBS
From 1 July 2014, the PBS was closed to further registrations. Existing registered members may still be eligible to claim a pension bonus payment. The claim for a pension bonus must be lodged together with the claim for Age.
A claimant cannot receive a payment under the PBS if they receive an income support payment, including Age, after reaching age pension age.
Act reference: SSAct section 43 Qualification for Age, section 92A Simplified outline, section 92H(8) Date of qualification for the Age
Policy reference: SS Guide 188.8.131.52 Qualification for PBS, 184.108.40.206 Registration for PBS, 220.127.116.11 PBS work test, 18.104.22.168 Claiming the PBS bonus
Alternative qualification for some women
A woman who doesn't meet the general qualifications can qualify for Age under subsection 43(1A) of the SSAct. The woman can qualify under these provisions, if:
- she has reached pension age, AND
- her partner has died, AND
- both the woman and her partner were Australian residents when her partner died, AND
- the woman was an Australian resident for a continuous period of at least 104 weeks immediately before the day she lodged the claim for Age.
A woman who qualifies for Age under these provisions remains qualified if she re-partners. That is, the woman is NOT required to remain a widow to retain qualification for Age.
If the woman cannot qualify under this provision, she MAY qualify for WA.
Policy reference: SS Guide 22.214.171.124 Qualification for WA
People who provide constant care for an adult and/or child with a disability may wish to claim or continue to receive CP instead of Age. This would give them access to bereavement payments if the person they are caring for dies and that person was single or had a non-income support partner. Applicants should be advised of the possible advantages and disadvantages of being on CP rather than Age or other payments.
Policy reference: SS Guide 126.96.36.199 Qualification for CP
Members of a couple (1.1.M.120)
If a couple is living together and the partner requires income support, they should be invited to claim an income support payment if they have not already done so.
Explanation: This is to avoid possible incorrect payments.
Example: If the partner does not wish to apply, do they have other means of financial support that may not have been disclosed?
Comparable foreign payment (1.1.C.230)
A person claiming Age while they or their partner would be entitled to a CFP, may be required to take reasonable action to obtain the foreign payment. If they fail to take reasonable action to obtain the CFP within the specified period, their claim can be rejected.
Act reference: SS(Admin)Act section 66 Notice to obtain foreign payment, section 40 Rejection of claim for failure to obtain foreign payment
Policy reference: SS Guide 7.3.3 CFP notices & reasonable action requirements