Financial

This section has been added to carry seniors financial advice. Treat all advice with caution, but that said, we all need some guidance in this area, and we hope this section will provide such.

Aveo and a Breakthrough in Aged Accomodation – September 2016

AVEO RAISES THE BAR ON RETIREMENT LIVING IN BELLA VISTA
Breaking the mould of traditional retirement living, Aveo Group has today announced it has received the green light for an integrated vertical living retirement community in the desirable Sydney suburb of Bella Vista.
Purposefully designed to meet the needs of modern retirees seeking inner-city style living options, Aveo Bella Vista will open its doors in late 2017 with the first release of 64 one, two and three bedroom Independent Living apartments to suit every lifestyle.
Located on the corner of Old Windsor Road and Norbrik Drive, the development will also boast extensive public green spaces including a lake, boardwalk and lush gardens alongside dining and retail options to enhance the lives of both retirees and neighbouring residents.
Aveo CEO, Mr Geoff Grady, said Aveo Bella Vista would provide premium apartment living with a broad range of care options to meet the evolving demands of Australia’s ageing population.
“Increasingly, Australian seniors are seeking low-maintenance and stress-free living options that offer a sense of connectedness to the broader community and are within close proximity to nearby dining and shopping precincts,” Mr Grady said.
“We are dedicated to offering senior Australians the very best in retirement living and that means innovating beyond the traditional village model to offer lifestyle services never before seen in the sector.
“Not only will Aveo Bella Vista residents be able to enjoy architecturally designed apartments and luxury finishes, but they’ll also benefit from the added comfort and security that comes from living with likeminded residents and having access to 24/7 care, including full-spectrum aged care and allied health services, as and when they need it.
“We want to ensure residents have access to the services, facilities and type of accommodation that will meet their individual needs, enabling them to age in place without the need to ever move again.”
For more information about Aveo Retirement Living, visit www.aveo.com.au

A Centrelink form for every occasion January 2016

Centrelink customers are required to notify Centrelink of any significant changes in their financial position or personal circumstances. Centrelink issue forms to allow you to submit all of the required information in one lot. Each form includes a list of the required supporting documentation.
You can search the list of Centrelink forms by title for the correct form to notify your new position at http://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/forms/centrelink-forms.
Some hints about finding the Blind Pension form and which form to use when you change partners are at http://wp.me/p2gAsT-10b
Remember it is your responsibility to keep Centrelink informed of any significant changes in your financial positon and your domestic partners. Centrelink follow up debts from overpayment of Pensions resulting from customers not bothering to notify significant changes.

Christine Hopper
Director
Financial Care Services Pty Ltd
Telephone +61 3 9808 0338
www.financialcareservices.com.au
christine@financialcareservices.com.au

If you suddenly became incapacitated could your Attorney discover your financial position?  December 2015
A wise senior appoints an Enduring Power of Attorney who could manage her financial and Centrelink matters when she become mentally incapacitated. But would her Attorney have easy access to her financial records.
Many couples have shared the responsibilities of life. For example, one spouse has become an expert cook and the other has managed their finances. These arrangements can work well whilst both partners are healthy. But as soon as one partner withdraws from active duty, the healthy survivor and/or Attorney must pick up the other partner’s former duties. Cooking for one classes are offered to seniors when the expert cook leaves the household partnership.
Alas managing household finances is a more private and personal challenge. The challenge is much harder if the finance manager partner keeps their joint finances on a password protected spreadsheet or other computer package.
Hint  Ensure that your spouse and Attorney, know how to access your financial records. Yes, that means recording your login and any passwords for your computer files in a secure place, maybe with the Power of Attorney document.

Email Christine christine@financialcareservices.com.au   or get her excellent newsletters by clicking here

Powers of Attorney  – November 2015

Another excellent article from Christine. All the pro’s and con’s of giving someone your power of attorney, in case you become incapacitated and someone trustworthy will need to look after your affairs.

Who would manage your money if you were incapacitated?.

Over 50 and Looking for Work? –  October 2015
Click on the link for a most useful article from Sue Ellson on such matters.  Over 50 and Looking For Work

You can also contact Sue via her website at have a look at Sue’s website  at  http://www.sueellson.com

Age Care and Intimacy – Sept – 2015

Here is a thoughtful article from Richard Meaden of Advisersure.

Aged care must make space for intimacy and sexual expression

Contact Richard
Age Pensions increases 20 September 2015 – Sept – 2015
The Commonwealth granted Centrelink Disability Support and Age Pension increased on 20 September 2015.  DVA Pensions and Income Support Supplement also increased from 20 September 2015.
The full rates of income support Pension benefits increased by 0.8%. The Age Pension related daily care fees for Commonwealth regulated aged care were increased to reflect the Age Pension increases of 20 September 2015.
Disability Pensions and Age Pensions increases 20 September 2015 for Single Pensioners.
The new maximum total payment for a Single Pensioner is $867.00 per fortnight, an additional $6.80 per fortnight.
The maximum payment for a Single Pensioner includes the full rate of Pension of $788.40 per fortnight.
Pension Supplements totalling $78.60 per fortnight are paid to Single Centrelink clients who receive at least one dollar of Pension per fortnight.
Income and Asset Test cut-off levels after Pension Increases 20 September 2015
A Single Age Pensioner would need to have an income over $1,736 per fortnight, $45,100 per year, before the Income Test cut-out her final one dollar per fortnight of Age Pension and all of the Supplements.
If your only Income were the deemed rate on your financial assets then you would need more than $1,410,000 of financial assets to generate an Income at Centrelink of $45,100 per year.  But if a single senior had assets of $730,500 in addition to her home then the Asset Test would exclude her from any Age Pension.
A Single non-homeowner with assets of $879,400 could get one dollar per fortnight of Age Pension plus all of the Supplements provided that she was not excluded by the Income Test.
Remember that the Pension you receive is the lower amount after checking against the Income Test and The Assets Test.
Read more about the DVA War Widow Payments and Centrelink Couples Pension rates and cut-off levels at http://wp.me/p2gAsT-WR
Christine Hopper Director Financial Care Services Pty Ltd
AFSL 299570 Telephone +61 3 9808 0338
www.financialcareservices.com.au

 

Seniors Financial Income for DSP and Age Pension Income Test – Sept – 2015

The amount of DSP, Service or Age Pension that you could be paid by the Commonwealth is subject to an Income Test and an Assets Test. DVA and Centrelink Income Tests use the deemed financial income from your financial assets rather than your actual earnings from financial assets.
As at August 2015, the annual rate of deemed financial income for a Single Pensioner is calculated as 1.75% of the first $48,600 of her financial assets plus 3.25% of any financial assets in excess of $48,600.
The annual rate of deemed income for a Couple at Centrelink, as at August 2015, is calculated as 1.75% of the first $80,600 of their total combined amount of financial assets plus 3.25% of any financial assets in excess of $80,600.
Read more about the Deemed Financial Income Calculation
Before you could calculate your deemed financial income you need to identify your ‘financial assets’.
At DVA and Centrelink ‘financial assets’ includes
• All bank accounts, loans, deposits of money and stock exchange listed investments
• Gold bullion and other precious metals
• Overseas financial assets
• Life insurance policies which could be surrendered for a lump sum
• Excess gift amounts; and
• Most superannuation fund accounts
Special conditions determine the assessable income amounts for long term annuity contracts and some superannuation allocated pension income stream accounts.
Did you notice that there is no provision to offset your personal debts against your financial assets?
Read more about Centrelink financial assets
Help is available. Financial Care Services offers a special $99 Short Consultation just to illustrate how much Age Pension you would receive based on your personal data. Contact Christine via her website www.financialcareservices.com.au

Seniors Financial services on line magazine. Aug 2015

Well worth a look. Christine’s latest seniors financial services on line magazine.
http://www.financialcareservices.com.au/newsletters/vol-5-ed-7/

Tax Help Programme

The Australian Taxation Office offers free help to eligible people in getting their tax returns done. They have an extensive volunteer advisor system See here for details : https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/lodging-your-tax-return/tax-help-program/

Changes to Means Test  July 2015

Subject to the existing Income Test deeming rules (1.25% for the first $48,000 of Assets; 3.25assets test% thereafter), the proposed increase in the Assets Test thresholds from 1st January 2017 will enable approximately 50,000 part pensioners to qualify for the full pension.

The current and proposed Assets Test thresholds are as follows: assets

The other main proposal, which will effectively reverse changes to the taper rate introduced in 2007, increases the current taper rate from $1.50 per $1,000 to $3 per $1,000 over the lower assets test threshold in each class.  This means that the amount of assets a pensioner can own in addition to their family home and still receive a part pension will be reduced.

The Government will ensure that anyone who is affected by the scaling back of the maximum asset threshold will be guaranteed eligibility for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.

At this stage the Government has not provided grandfathering for the actual assets test so pensioners with assets above the new upper thresholds will lose their part pensions and become self funded.

Although the new taper rate will affect some pensioners more than others, those affected by the changes will be pensioners with assets around the new Upper Assets Test thresholds.

The changes will also widen the Income Test zone especially for couples who are homeowners.  Currently couple homeowners with financial assets between $263,938  and $303,000 currently have their age pension determined by the Income Test.  Under the proposed rules this gap will widen to between $274,985 and $401,500.

These changes may also impact on those pensioners that receive grandfathered income streams as the movement away from the Assets Test to the Income Test could potentially lower their entitlements.

If you are concerned about the proposed changes you are welcome to contact Richard Meaden of Advisersure Financial Consultants to discuss your options.
Contact Richard by email

 


Family Home and the Assets Test                            May 10th 2015

It is easy to see why people have been calling for the inclusion of the family home in the pension assets test – why should someone who lives in a $2 million home be able to receive the full pension? But the government appears to have backed down from such a measure and is now talking changes to the asset test taper. Such changes are likely to affect part-pensioners and “downsizers”.

This is how the asset test works: currently a person or couple lose $1.50 per fortnight of age pension for every $1,000 of assets they have over the asset test limit. The proposal is to increase the threshold and increase the ‘taper rate’ so that for every $1,000 of assets over the new threshold $3.00 of age pension will be lost. This will effectively reduce the number of people receiving some pension, and for others will mean that the pension is lost entirely.

People who downsize their home to move into a retirement community or aged care facility often pay less than the value of their home. Under this change downsizers may be better off paying an amount that is equal to or greater than the value of their current home. In a retirement community this may be a lot simpler, in fact in some retirement communities you can negotiate with the operator to pay a higher amount going in to pay a lower amount as an exit fee. For people moving into aged care it is not so simple. The aged care reforms that were introduced on 1 July last year mean that residents cannot pay more than the facility’s market price. Adding to the complexity, downsizers who move to an Over 55’s community rather than a retirement village may find that it is more affordable due to the ability to access rent assistance and the fact that exit fees often don’t apply.

Let’s look at an example.

Shirley is a part pensioner who is considering moving from her family home to a retirement village. Her home is worth $650,000 and the unit in the retirement village is $400,000. Shirley has $100,000 in the bank, $150,000 in term deposits and $10,000 worth of personal effects including her car. Shirley currently receives $773pfn of age pension. The proposed change to the asset test threshold would increase Shirley’s current entitlement to $830pfn.

If Shirley moves to a retirement village, paying $400,000, the extra $250,000 in assets will reduce her pension to only $80pfn. Put simply, she loses $750pfn of pension. The effect is less, a reduction of $180pfn, if she pays $400,000 to an aged care facility.

If Shirley purchased a unit in an Over 55’s community for the same amount, her pension would still be $80pfn but she could receive rent assistance of up to $128pfn to help her meet the ongoing fees. This is because in an over 55’s community you own the home but rent the land.

Conversely, if Shirley chose a more expensive retirement unit or aged care facility, let’s say she pays $700,000, her pension would increase to $860pfn. If she purchased a unit in an over 55’s community her pension would be $860pfn and she could receive up to $128pfn of rent assistance.

Downsizer’s have more choices around the price they pay and when they move. People needing aged care are limited by the market price arrangements and the ability to access the care they need. Placing such a disincentive on downsizers and people who need care does not serve senior Australians or the young people  who miss out on the opportunity to buy a home.  Contact Richard by email

Refundable Accommodation Deposits & Daily Accommodation Payments
( From Richard Meaden – Advisersure Financial Consultants)  – April 2015
Click here for some good advice on such if you are contemplating moving out of your home in to a retirement community. Contact Richard by email.

Centrelink Deeming Rate reduction 20 March 2015
The Income Test for Centrelink and DVA means tested pensions and the income component of the aged care means tested amount include a ‘deemed’ amount of investment income rather than the actual rate of investment income earned on financial assets.
The rate of interest that Centrelink and DVA, deem pensioners to be earning on their financial assets was reduced by 0.25% per annum effective 20 March 2015.
As from 20 March 2015, a single person is deemed to earn 1.75% per annum on the first $48,000 of her financial assets and 3.25% per annum on any additional financial assets. A ‘couple at Centrelink’ are deemed to earn 1.75% on the first $79,600 of their joint financial assets and 3.25% per annum on any excess financial assets of the couple.
Remember at Centrelink and DVA, ‘financial assets’ includes loans to family members, ‘excess gifts’ in the last five years, bullion, and new allocated pension accounts in addition to bank deposits, listed equities and other financial investments.
Does the lower deeming rate mean a higher Age Pension entitlement? Only Age Pensioners who are impacted by the Income Test but not the Asset Test could expect an increased Age Pension payment following the reduction in the deeming rates. Age Pensioners with large financial assets are finding that the Asset Test hits harder than the Income Test currently.

Disability and Age Pension Increases March 2015
Centrelink Disability Pensions and Age Pensions increased effective 20 March 2015. The new maximum total payment for a Single Pensioner is $860.20 per fortnight, an additional $5.90 per fortnight. Each member of a couple could get a maximum of $648.40 per fortnight, that is, $4.40 per fortnight more.
The maximum payment for a Single Pensioner includes the full rate of Pension of $782.20 per fortnight. Pension Supplements totalling $78.00 per fortnight are paid to Single Centrelink clients who receive at least one dollar of Pension per fortnight.
Each member of a couple at Centrelink, could get a maximum Pension of $589.60 per fortnight plus Pension Supplements of $58.80 per fortnight. Remember that a ‘couple at Centrelink’ is any two adults who share domestic arrangements and present socially as a couple. Changes in ‘personal circumstances’ such as becoming a member of a ‘couple at Centrelink’ take effect from the day that a partner moves in until the day that one partner moves out.
Read more about the how much Income and Assets you can have before you lose the last dollar per fortnight of pension at http://wp.me/p2gAsT-Qk
These posts are provided by Christine Hopper of Financial Care Services as general information only. Centrelink or DVA will determine your actual Pension entitlement based on your circumstances as recorded at Centrelink or DVA
Centrelink Homeowner exemption for principal residence on one land Title –  March 2015
The DVA and Centrelink homeowner exemption applies only to your principal residence and the first two hectares of land covered by a single Title that your home is on.
If your home sits on the land covered by one land Title and your garden, tennis court or hobby farm is covered by another land Title then the land covered by the additional Titles is not normally exempt.
You cannot have more than one principal residence at any time. You cannot count both the ‘town house’ and the beach house as your principal residence. ‘Couples at Centrelink’ are only allowed one principal residence for the couple not one per person.
At Centrelink your assets includes real estate on additional land titles apart from the first two hectares of the allotment that your home stands on. Any more land that you own is to be included in your assets for DVA or Centrelink means testing.
Special homeowner exemption rules apply to some long term farmers and aged care entrants.

Retirement Reverse Mortgage Debt      November 2014
A reverse mortgage could be appropriate In retirement when the home needs significant repairs or upgrades to allow the owners to stay home safely.  Beware of using reverse mortgage debt as the ‘solution’ to a pattern of spending more than your regular retirement income.
Banks offer ‘reverse mortgages’ to retirees who want to access the capital stored up in the value of their homes.  The banks realise that the retiree does not have the income to make regular repayments of capital or monthly interest.  Therefore reverse mortgages for retirees allow for the interest to accumulate until the home is sold.  When the home is sold the bank is repaid both the capital amount borrowed and all of the interest accumulated during the reverse mortgage loan period.
No bank wants its customers to have negative equity in their home.  The bank always wants the customer to get a payout when the home is eventually sold and the mortgage repaid.  Therefore to minimise the risk of the amount owing under the reverse mortgage exceeding the proceeds of selling the home, the banks usually lend only a small fraction of the value of the home when the reverse mortgage is granted.
The maximum percentage of the home value that could be lent as a reverse mortgage increases with the age of the borrower.  The maximum reverse mortgage loan might be 40% of the bank’s valuation of the home of very elderly single homeowner.  A younger retiree might be permitted to borrow a maximum of 15% of the bank’s valuation of her home so that thirty years later the accumulated loan amount is unlikely to exceed the updated value of her home.
Some banks only grant reverse mortgages to retirees who have attained age 65 years.  A few banks grant reverse mortgages to people who are only aged sixty years.
Most lenders require the owners to be living in the home when the reverse mortgage is granted.  The reverse mortgage is not required to be paid out until owners move out of the home.  Thus moving to a retirement village, lifestyle community living or aged care could trigger a requirement for the home to be sold and the reverse mortgage paid out.

Read more about reverse mortgages at http://wp.me/p2gAsT-M0

DVA Compensation Pension and Income Support Supplement Nov 2014
The Commonwealth pays DVA Compensation Pensions and the Income Support Supplement, ISS, to veterans who suffered health problems as a result of active service facing the enemy. The surviving spouses of veterans who died from war related causes are eligible for the DVA War Widow Pension. If the DVA Compensation Pension recipient has little other income or assets then the Income Support Supplement could be payable in addition to the DVA Disability Pension or the DVA War Widow Pension.
The DVA Compensation Pensions and any Income Support Supplement are treated as income for the purposes of the aged care means tested fees.
Read more about the DVA Compensation Pension Income Support Supplement at http://wp.me/p2gAsT-Lr

Email Christine  christine@financialcareservices.com.au

Centrelink Disability and Age Pension Increases September 2014  (24/09/14)
Centrelink Disability Pensions and Age Pensions increased effective 20 September 2014.  The new maximum total payment for a Single Pensioner is $854.30 per fortnight, an increase of $11.50 per fortnight.  Each member of a couple could get a maximum of $644.00 per fortnight, that is, $8.70 per fortnight more each.
The maximum payment for a Single Pensioner includes the full rate of Pension of $776.70 per fortnight.  Pension Supplements totalling $77.60 per fortnight are paid to Single Centrelink clients who receive at least one dollar of Pension per fortnight.
Each member of a couple at Centrelink, could get a maximum Pension of $585.50 per fortnight plus Pension Supplements of $58.50 per fortnight.

Rent assistance is available for Centrelink and DVA clients who live in rental accommodation because they do not own a home.  The maximum rate of Rent Assistance is $127.60 per fortnight for a Single person.
Veterans with ‘qualifying service’ can claim the Service Pension from DVA.  The Service Pension is paid at the same rates and subject to the same financial means testing as the Age Pension.
DVA War Widow Pensions also increased in September to $868.00 per fortnight including Supplements.  This ‘compensation’ is not subject to any financial means testing.  The means tested Income Support Supplement, ISS, is paid to War Widow and DVA Disability Pensioners who have limited financial resources.  The maximum rate of ISS increased to $256.00 per fortnight including Supplements.
More information together with the cut-off income and asset test levels for losing the last dollar of Pension and the Pensioner Concession Card at http://wp.me/p2gAsT-Jy

 

Claiming Centrelink Blind Pension   18th September 2014
Claiming the Centrelink Blind Pension involves proving both that you are ‘blind’ and that you are an Australian resident eligible for Centrelink Income Support Benefits.
The advantage of claiming the Centrelink Blind Pension is that no financial means testing applies to the Centrelink Blind Pension.  The value of your assets and those of your partner, and the amount of your income, do not impact on the amount of the Centrelink Blind Pension payable.
Centrelink pensioners who are ‘blind’ are eligible for the full rate of DSP or Age Pension without any financial means testing.
But remember that if you are a member of a couple at Centrelink, your Centrelink Blind Pension is payable at the lower couple rate whilst you are living together.
An additional benefit of the Centrelink Blind Pension is the ‘free public transport pass’ available in some cities.
Read more about the practical steps at http://wp.me/p2gAsT-J2

Financial Information   25th August 2014
The Centrelink Financial Information Service provides information about Centrelink benefits to customers and potential customers.
The Centrelink Financial Information Service offers free seminars on topics of interest.  These seminars are usually in the early evenings at suburban and regional venues.  There is no charge to attend but you must book in advance to ensure that you get a seat at your preferred Centrelink Financial Information Service seminar.  Popular seminar series include: ‘Investing for retirement’, ‘Getting ready for retirement’ and ‘Living in retirement’.
Also the Centrelink Financial Information Service publishes general information booklets about planning for retirement.  These booklets are available at the Centrelink Financial Information Service seminars and, possibly, at your local Centrelink office.
The Centrelink Financial Information Service has a telephone enquiry service.  You can call the Centrelink Financial Information Service on 13 23 00.  You need to say, “Financial Information” when the machine asks what you are calling about.  A Centrelink Financial Information Service officer, a Centrelink employee, will listen to your question and explain how Centrelink would treat your position.
The Centrelink Financial Information Service provides information only.  The staff at the Centrelink Financial Information Service are not licensed to provide ‘financial advice’.
Thus the FIS officer could tell you how your Disability Support Pension would be impacted if you received a lump sum inheritance of $100,000 and saved it all in your bank account.  However the FIS officer is not permitted to give personal financial advice such as suggesting that you use part of your inheritance to pay off your debts and/or make a large non-concessional contribution to your superannuation account.  The Centrelink Financial Information Service might suggest that you obtain personal financial advice about investing at least part of your inheritance.
These ‘Financial’ posting are provided by Christine Hopper of Financial Care Services who is licensed to provide personal financial advice to individuals.
Read more about Financial Information Service and personal financial advice at http://wp.me/p2gAsT-Ia

 

Introducing residential aged care 15th August
Commonwealth regulated Residential aged care is available for people who need personal support and/or nursing care irrespective of their financial resources.
What to do when someone needs more personal support and/or nursing care than could be provided in her home.
Step 1 A current ACAS is essential
The Commonwealth via its Aged Care Assessment Service, is the ‘gatekeeper’ for who is allowed into potentially subsidised aged care.  You must have a current “ACAS” certificate as at the date you enter residential aged care either Respite or Permanent care.  If you are transferring from Respite to Permanent Residential Care then you must have an ACAS certificate valid for ‘permanent residential care’ on the day that your Permanent Residential Care starts.
Your ACAS certificate lists the medical conditions and physical and/or mental impairments that qualified you for your aged care.
Step 2 Find an aged care facility that caters for your needs as detailed on your ACAS certificate.
The aged care facility would check that your care needs as shown on your ACAS certificate, are not inconsistent with its service offerings.
Step 3 Agree the Accommodation Room Price and any Extra Service Fee before you enter residential aged care
The Accommodation Room Price and any Extra Service Fees are critical parts of the costs of living in residential aged care.  Each Commonwealth regulated Residential aged care facility must publish its Accommodation Room Prices together with a description of the accommodation.  The Accommodation Room Price might be “negotiable”.
Caution.  An Accommodation Room Price over $300,000 could result in cash flow challenges
Step 4 Obtain independent financial advice before signing the Resident Agreement
Before committing to a substantial Accommodation Room Price, get independent financial advice to understand the total level of costs of living in the chosen aged care facility.  Prompt payment of part of the Accommodation Room Price is financially smart for many residents who have significant bank balances.  To generate the cash flow needed for the aged care fees, the former home could be sold or retained as a rental property.
Step 5 Understand the payment terms for the Accommodation and the Daily Fees for ‘hoteling’ and ‘care’.
Residential aged care fees include a ‘hoteling’ part consisting of the Accommodation charges and the basic daily fee.
The basic daily fee of 85% of the Single rate of Age Pension is payable by every resident.
Residents who have no more than $45,000 of assets and no more income than a full rate Age Pensioner could have, will not be asked to pay for Accommodation.
A resident with more than $45,000 of assets and/or more income than a full Age Pensioner could have, would pay at least part of her Accommodation costs.  A resident who owns a now vacant former home would have a high enough ‘means tested amount’ to be ineligible for any Accommodation Supplement and would therefore pay the full cost of her Accommodation.
The amount that the resident pays for her ‘care’ depends on her financial resources as measured by her ‘means tested amount’, and the cost of the ‘care’ that she needs.  The care fees are capped at $25,000 in a ‘care year’ and $60,000 over a lifetime.
Step 6 Understand how the ‘means tested amount’ is calculated and hence how it could change significantly.
The ‘means tested amount’ is calculated by Centrelink based on the income and assets of the resident.  Any Refundable Accommodation Deposit (previously “Bond”) actually paid and the value of a vacant former home are counted as in ‘assets’ here.  The ‘means tested amount’ is updated every time the Centrelink rates change or the resident’s asset or financial position changes significantly.
Step 7 Update Centrelink
The Attorney or Administrator should complete and submit to Centrelink the new 32 page booklet form Permanent Residential Aged Care Request for a Combined Assets and Income Assessment.  Centrelink can then calculate each resident’s means tested amount on behalf of the Commonwealth.
Step 8 Arrange the resident’s assets so that cash is available to pay the aged care fees each month.
The full rate of Age Pension is just enough to pay the basic daily fee and essential pharmacy and incidental expenses.
A resident who must pay at least part of her Accommodation costs and possibly some of her care costs, needs to have money available each month to pay her fees.
Step 9 Set up the fee payment process, monitor the financial position and update Centrelink
The aged care facility sends regular accounts for fees; usually monthly accounts to be collected via direct debit.  The Attorney or Administrator must ensure that adequate funds are in the bank account to cover the fees.  Invoices for essential pharmacy items are sent to the Attorney or Administrator for payment directly to the provider.
Finally, the Attorney or Administrator must keep Centrelink or DVA, updated about the resident’s assets and income.
Read more at http://wp.me/p2gAsT-HQ
These postings are written by Christine Hopper a licenced financial adviser with Financial Care Services

A new financial year and a new aged care fee system.
Increases in Age Pension means test Allowances

July 2014 Centrelink Pension Allowance Increase
The Centrelink Allowances are the starting points for the Income Test and Assets Test that can reduce the amount of DSP or Age Pension actually payable.  Centrelink Pension Allowance amounts increased on 1 July 2014.  This means that a Centrelink Pensioner could have more Income and more Assets before her Pension is reduced.
Income Test Allowance for a Single Pensioner
For a Single Disability Support or Age Pensioner, the Income Allowance has increased by four dollars per fortnight to $160 per fortnight.  If a Single Pensioner has more than $160 per fortnight of Income at Centrelink, then her Age Pension could be reduced by fifty cents for each additional dollar of income over$160 per fortnight.
A Single DSP or Age Pensioner could have an Income at Centrelink of $1,690 per fortnight, $43,940 per year, and retain one dollar per fortnight of Pension plus the full rate of Pension Supplements provided that the Asset Test had not excluded her from the Pension.
Asset Test Allowance for a Single Pensioner
A Single Pensioner who is not a ‘Homeowner at Centrelink’ may have $348,500 of Assets and not be impacted by the Assets Test.  A Single homeowner could have Assets of $202,000 in addition to her home, before the Asset Test starts to impact.
The amount of DSP or Age Pension payable reduces by $1.50 per fortnight, $39 per year, for each additional $1,000 of Assets over the Allowance.  Thus a single non-homeowner Pensioner could have $858,500 of Assets, and retain one dollar per fortnight of Pension plus the full rate of Pension Supplements provided that the Income Test had not excluded her from the Pension.
A single Pensioner could have $712,000 of Assets in addition to her home, and retain one dollar per fortnight of Pension plus the full rate of Pension Supplements provided that the Income Test had not excluded her from the Pension.
Increase to Deeming changeover amount
The Centrelink deeming calculation changeover amount was increased to $48,000 for a single pensioner and $79,600 for a Couple at Centrelink.
Centrelink use ‘deeming’ to calculate the income from financial assets for the Pension Income Test.
Read more about deeming and the means test amounts for Couples at http://wp.me/p2gAsT-GL

This section has been added to carry seniors financial advice. Treat all advice with caution, but that said, we all need some guidance in this area, and we hope this section will provide such. We will uplift the financial posts that we have been testing for your interest in the coffee shop forum. We will also add in extra useful information as it comes to hand.
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