Assets

An asset is any property or item of value you or your partner own, or have an interest in, including those held outside Australia. When dealing with us, it is important to be aware of the different types of assets.

Assessable assets

Most assets are assessable and are taken into account when calculating your Australian Government income support payments.

The value of your assets is what you would get for them if you sold them. Generally, any debt secured against an asset is deducted from the value of that asset.

Assets that are assessed under the assets test

Assessable assets include:

  • any cash or money you have in bank, building society or credit union accounts (including interest free accounts), interest bearing deposits, fixed deposits, bonds, debentures, shares, property trusts, friendly society bonds and managed investments
  • any assets you hold in superannuation and rollover funds if you are of Age Pension age
  • the value of any real estate, including holiday homes, you own (this does not include your principal home)
  • the value of any businesses and farms, including goodwill (where goodwill is shown on the balance sheet)
  • the surrender value of life insurance policies
  • the value of gifts worth more than $10 000 in a single year or more than $30 000 in a five year period
  • the value of any loans (including interest-free loans) you have made to family trusts, members of the family, organisations
  • the value of any motor vehicles you own
  • the value of any boats and caravans you own which you do not use as a home
  • the value of your household contents and personal effects
  • the value of any collections you have for trading, investment or hobby purposes
  • the value of your entry contribution to a retirement village if it is less than the difference between the homeowners' and non-homeowners' assets limits
  • some income stream products
  • the attributed value of a private trust or private company where you are a controller of that trust or company
  • the value of a life interest created by you or your partner, or upon the death of your partner

We may also assess your granny flat interest or pre-paid funeral expenses if you have them.

Determining asset value

The asset value is generally the amount of money you would get if you sold the asset on the open market, less any valid debts or encumbrances.

If you are claiming or receiving a pension, allowance or benefit, you are asked to provide your own estimate of the net market value of your assessable assets. If you need it, we will generally arrange any professional valuations of assets such as real estate and businesses at no cost to you.

Liquid assets

Liquid assets are any funds, including monies owed by your employer that are readily available to either you or your partner.

Liquid assets include:

  • cash on hand
  • shares and debentures
  • term deposits
  • other money available at short notice
  • some payments made or due to be made by your last employer
  • 10 year insurance bonds
  • amounts deposited or lent to banks or other financial institutions whether or not the amount can be withdrawn or repaid immediately
  • amounts borrowed from the bank for a specific purpose such as international travel that may not have been used for the said purpose
  • assets given to a son or daughter in some circumstances
  • loans to other people
  • unencumbered proceeds from sale of business
  • any money in trust funds, bank accounts including mortgage offset accounts, but not balances of mortgage redraw accounts
  • redundancies or eligible termination payments that are not rolled over or cannot be rolled over
  • compensation payments

Note: If you are reporting your income to us you must report net losses from rental property and financial investments, as this may affect your payment.

Liquid assets do not include:

  • superannuation and termination payments which have been rolled over or are going to be rolled over directly from your employer
  • proceeds from the sale of your principal home in some circumstances
  • voluntary one off payments of your non housing debts in some circumstances
  • money received for a 'funded package of support' through DisabilityCare Australia, the national disability insurance scheme.

Assets Test limits

This assets test is updated on 1 January, 20 March and 20 September each year. This information applies to all pensions, allowances and to Austudy payment.

Important information about assets test

Some assets are deemed to earn income, while certain assets are not included in the assets test.

Assets test limits also apply to the transitional rate of pension.

Allowances, Austudy and Parenting Payment are not payable if assets exceed the amounts listed in Chart A.

For pensions, assets over these amounts reduce pension by $1.50 per fortnight for every $1000 above the amount (single and couple combined). Refer to Chart B.

The assets and income limits in Charts A and B may only apply to people who are resident in Australia, or are temporarily absent from Australia for up to 13 weeks.

Chart A - assets test limits for allowances and full pensions

Family situationFor HomeownersFor Non-homeowners
Single$196,750$339,250
Couple (combined)$279,000$421,500
Illness separated (couple combined)$279,000$421,500
One partner eligible (combined assets)$279,000$421,500

Chart B - assets test limits for part pensions

 For part pension assets must be less than
Family situationFor HomeownersFor Non-homeowners
Single$758,750$901,250
Couple (combined)$1,126,500$1,269,000
Illness separated (couple combined)$1,403,000$1,545,500
One partner eligible (combined assets)$1,126,500$1,269,000
Transitional homeowner
Family situationFor HomeownersFor Non-homeowners
Single$672,750$815,250
Couple (combined)$1,046,500$1,189,000
Illness separated (couple combined)$1,231,000$1,373,500
One partner eligible (combined assets)$1,046,500$1,189,000
Assets test for DSP under 21 (no children)
Family situationFor HomeownersFor Non-homeowners
Single - dependent
16–17 years$435,000$577,500
18–20 years$466,000$608,500
Single - independent
16-20 years$562,250$704,750
Couple (combined)
16-20 years$1,005,500$1,148,000
  • Note: the rate of payment is calculated under both the income and assets tests. The test that results in the lower rate (or nil rate) will apply.
  • Limits will increase if Rent Assistance is paid with your allowance or pension

Extra allowable amount for retirement village and granny flat residents

If your entry contribution is equal to or less than the extra allowable amount at the time of entry, you are assessed as a non-homeowner. Your entry contribution will count as an asset. You may qualify for Rent Assistance. The extra allowable amount is the difference between the non-homeowner and the homeowner asset test limits, currently $142,500.

Asset Hardship provisions

If you are suffering hardship and your assets restrict your entitlement to a payment, you can apply to be paid under Asset Hardship provisions.

Disposing of assets

You or your partner can give away money or other assets to any value you choose at any time, but the rate of income support payment you receive may be affected.

Gifting is a term used when you or your partner:

  • give away assets, including transferring assets for less than market value, and
  • do not receive adequate consideration for the gift or transfer in the form of money, goods or services

We also use the term 'deprived asset' for a gift.

You or your partner can give away money or other assets to any value you choose at any time, but the rate of income support payment you receive may be affected if you gift assets worth more than the allowable gifting amount or ' free area'.

The gifting rules are:

  • there is an allowable gifting amount or free area for a single person or a couple of $10 000 in a single financial year, and
  • there is an allowable gifting amount or free area for a single person or a couple of $30 000 over a five year rolling period. The rolling five year period is the current financial year plus the previous four financial years

Any asset or amount that you gift over and above either the $10 000 in a single year free area or the $30 000 five year free area is treated as a gift or deprived asset for five years from the date of disposal.

Gifts are:

  • included in your assets until the fifth anniversary of the date of the gift
  • deemed to earn income in the same way as financial assets

Any amounts you disposed of or gifted in the five years immediately before you were granted a payment can also be considered.

Gifting includes:

  • money or any asset you have transferred to members of the family or other relatives
  • gifts to other people or charities
  • gifts to private trusts or companies where you or your partner are not the controller of the trust or company
  • assets sold for less than their market value
  • relinquishing control of a private trust or company. If you do this you will be considered to have gifted all the assets held by the trust or company
  • transferring your shares in a private company or units in a fixed trust and you do not receive full market value for them

Gifting does not include you selling or reducing your assets to meet normal expenses, for example, to buy consumer goods like a fridge or washing machine, for home maintenance/improvements, or to pay for holidays. Nor does it include payments for services received, e.g. lawn mowing.