Financial Info on the Go: Can you travel while on NewStart?
Welcome to the first edition of the GSA/Citadel 'Financial Info on the Go' with Maggie Tagg for the information of GoSeers. We kick off with a question from Kerrie-Ann in regards to NewStart:
Kerrie-Ann has asked - "Would it be possible for us to travel while on NewStart Allowance?"
The NewStart Allowance is available for people who are aged 22 or over and have not reached Age Pension age. If you were born before 30/06/1952 Age Pension age is 65, if you were born after then eligibility age is 65 ½ - 67 depending on when you were born.
Generally to be eligible for NewStart you must be:
•looking for paid work
•prepared to meet the activity test while you are looking for work
•meet an income and assets test
•meet residency requirements
But for people aged over 55 the activity test requirements are more flexible as they allow you to undertake volunteer work instead of looking for paid work. You must do a minimum of 15 hours per week or 30 hours a fortnight with an approved voluntary organisation. Ongoing evidence that you are doing the volunteer work needs to be provided fortnightly to maintain the payment.
In regards to travelling, you must still meet the eligibility rules to receive the payment. So if you are travelling around Australia you would still need to meet your 15 hours of volunteer work to keep the payment. Travelling outside of Australia can result in the payment being cancelled immediately except for certain approved reasons.
Don't forget the income and assets tests as these need to be met too. The assets test is much tighter for NewStart and if you have over $279,000 of assessable assets you get nothing.
Waiting periods may apply if you have cash funds above certain amounts or if you have received a leave or redundancy payment.
As you can see it is quite a complex area and having things in place before you apply can determine how successful your application is. One of our roles is to show people there are ways of structuring your assets and income to increase your eligibility and how to maximise your payments.
If NewStart is not an option there are other ways to support yourself financially which may provide you with the financial freedom to live the dream. Accessing your superannuation to generate a tax free income, restructuring investment assets or accessing equity in a property are areas that could be appropriate.
So if reviewing your current position and putting in place some strategies to achieve your goals and objectives is something that you need help with, let us know.
Kerrie-Ann I hope this has provided you with some useful information. There is a plethara of information on the Department of Human Services website too (see link below) or contact us if we can help further.