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Centrelink, Age Pension, Medicare: All the major changes coming in January 2024

Thousands of Aussies will receive higher Centrelink payments, while pensioners will be able to work more.

The new year is just around the corner and with it comes a raft of changes, including for Centrelink recipients and pensioners.

Here’s a rundown of the major changes happening in Australia in 2024.

Composite image of Centrelink sign and Australian money.
There are a range of changes kicking in for Aussies in on January 1, including for Centrelink recipients. (Source: Getty)

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Centrelink payment boost

More than 936,000 Aussies will see their Centrelink payments increase on January 1, 2024, as part of the government’s regular indexation.

Aussies receiving youth, student or carer support will receive a 6.0 per cent increase to their payments.

Youth allowance will increase by between $22.40 and $45.60 a fortnight, while people on Austudy will receive an extra $36.20-$45.60 a fortnight.

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People on the disability support pension aged 21 and without children will receive between $31.10 and $44.90 more a fortnight, while the carer allowance will increase by $8.70 a fortnight.

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Age pension $4,000 work boost

Pensioners and veterans will be able to work more without having their Centrelink payments reduced from January 1.

The maximum Work Bonus income bank will permanently increase from $7,800 to $11,800, after the government applied a once-off increase this year.

The Work Bonus allows pensioners to earn up to $300 a fortnight from work without their pension payments being impacted.

Any unused part of the $300 fortnightly amount is kept in a Work Bonus income bank. This income bank amount offsets future income from work that would otherwise be assessable under the pension income test.

Under the changes, the maximum amount that can be accrued will be $11,800. Newly eligible pensioners will have a starting balance of $4,000.

Medicare safety nets increased

Medicare safety nets can help lower your out-of-pocket medical expenses. Once you spend a certain amount for out-of-hospital medical services, Medicare gives you a higher amount back for the rest of the year.

These threshold amounts are set each year from January 1. The original Medicare Safety Net will increase from $531.70 to $560.40.

The Extended Medicare Safety Net will increase from $2,414.00 to $2,544.30, while the Extended Medicare Safety Net for concession card holders and families eligible for Family Tax Benefit A will rise from $770.30 to $811.80.

HECS requirements

The pass rate requirements for students using HECS Help or who are in a commonwealth-supported place will be scrapped from January 1, 2024.

Previously, students needed to pass 50 per cent of their units to maintain access to government assistance.

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