Getting the pension? There’s a new free service you need to know about

Anyone on or planning to get the Age Pension may be missing out on a free service that will save

Anyone on or planning to get the Age Pension may be missing out on a free service that will save you money.

Planning for retirement can be a stressful process – you are plagued with questions and might not know where to go for help. Some go to financial planners for advice, but did you know there’s a new free Government service that can help you?

And even if you’re on the pension but need some guidance, you can also attend a free seminar run by the Financial Information Service (FIS), or book a free one-hour appointment with one of the FIS officers. You can talk to FIS representatives over the telephone or face-to-face.

The Financial Information Service is available to anyone, and the Government funds the service under the Centrelink budget, though you don’t have to be on welfare to access the FIS.

According to the Department of Human Services website, the information you get from the Financial Information Service (FIS) can help you:

  • increase your confidence in dealing with financial issues related to investment
  • understand your own financial affairs
  • understand your options
  • be discerning when choosing experts and know how to use expert information
  • use credit in a sensible way
  • increase your savings and plan for the future
  • plan effectively for your retirement
  • understand the financial implications when you, or someone close to you, is considering moving into residential care

They can explain:

  • the levels of risk of each financial product type
  • the roles of financial industry professionals
  • the advantages of reducing personal debt
  • how you can maximise your overall retirement income

Financial Information Service officers can talk to you about:

  • taking control of your finances so that you can actively plan for your retirement
  • how to prepare for lifestyle choices in retirement, even while you are still working

Human Services warns, however, they are not financial planners or counsellors and do not:

  • sell or give advice
  • prepare financial plans
  • recommend any particular type of investment
  • tell you how to invest your money
  • purchase investment products
  • make decisions about your pension or calculate the rate at which you can be paid. They have no authority to do this but may be able to estimate what your payments will be

If you’re worried about your personal information being used by Centrelink, it is a confidential service, though some of the information you provide can also be used to adjust the rate of Centrelink payment you may receive if the rate is incorrect.

How to contact

You can ring 13 2300 and ask to speak to a FIS Officer, or you can go along to a seminar.

To book or find out more information about the seminars by phoning 13 6357 (from 8 am to 5pm AEST), or by emailing: [email protected] —and please include the title, date, and location of the seminar you are interested in, and an alternative contact such as a phone number.

You can also bring along a family member or friend, or have someone speak on your behalf.

Here’s a list of the upcoming seminars in each state:










Tell us, would you use this service? Why or why not?

    • Jenny  

      They assist with making the best possible arrangements for the individual’s financial situation. Why don’t you give them a try?

  1. I have found them to be very difficult to deal with. They just want you to live off your assets 🙁

  2. I’d be interested in attending some of these but the nearest is 150km away. Not many in smaller regional centres.

    • Jenny  

      Phone consultations are available and they will ring you to save the costs of the call.

  3. I had an appointment with one of these officers when I was thinking of retiring. He was extremely helpful and was able to let me know approximately how much pension I’d be entitled to.

    • I went with my partner a few weeks ago . It was at Cranbourne Centrelink, John the FIS guy was extremely helpful and friendly. I recommend to anyone who’s about to reach pension age to make an appointment.

    • Yes, I agree with Gillian & Jenny. My husband & I went to see one of these officers about 6 months before he turned 65 & the lady was extremely helpful. My husband still does some work as well as get the pension so we found out all the information relating to reporting income etc. Well worth the visit.

    • Me too GillIan. He was so helpful. I would have been getting less had I not had that appointment.

  4. All the seminars are in Brisbane area it seems. I’ll go to the one in mount Isa please. Let me know when that’s on! Ha ha! Probably never.

    • Jenny  

      See my comment about phone consults elsewhere.

    • You may not have noticed this, from the web-site: “Starts at 60 is a news, blog and information website and online community for seniors and over 60s in Australia and New Zealand.”

    • Jenny  

      I would think NZ would have a similar service to assist with planning for the best possible financial future no matter what your circumstances.

  5. Jenny  

    This is an excellent service as have utilized it several times with good results.

  6. Wiso  

    This is not a new service. It has been available since about 1988.

    I would highly recommend the service.

  7. It’s a pity this type of service is not available in regional centres.

    • Jenny  

      It is available by phone and a phone appointment can be arranged with an officer phoning you at home. Excellent service.

  8. Helen Miles  

    I worked at Centrelink for 15 yrs…retired in 2003. FIS has been around longer than that. NEW service? Dont think so!

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