Assets

Property and items you or your partner own or have an interest in, including assets held outside Australia, can affect your payment.

It is important to be aware of the different types of assets we assess and how we use them to work out your income support payment.

We take most of your assets into account when calculating your payment. The value of your assets is what you would get for them if you sold them at market value.

Generally, we deduct any debt secured against a particular asset from the value of that asset.

Real estate assets

The value of any real estate, apart from your principal home, is included in your assets test. Your real estate assets can include any property owned wholly or jointly by you and your partner, privately or within a business structure.

Read more about how real estate assets can affect your payment.

Granny flat rules

If you transfer assets or money for a right to reside in a property another person owns then you may be assessed under the granny flat rules.

Read more about granny flat rules.

Retirement village contributions

The amount of entry contribution you pay to reside in a retirement village affects whether we consider you to be a home owner and if we will include the amount in your assets test.

Read more about how retirement villages form part of your real estate assets.

Life interests

If you have a life interest in an asset, or you are entitled to receive income for your lifetime, it may have an asset value.

Read more about how life interests form part of your real estate assets.

Financial investments

We use the value of your financial investments to calculate your income support payment rate under both the assets and income tests.

Read more about how financial investments affect your payment.

Superannuation investments

Superannuation owned by you or your partner is included in your assets test if the owner is over age pension age.

Read more about how your superannuation investments can affect your payment.

Income streams

An income stream is a regular series of payments made to you directly from accumulated superannuation contributions or purchased using either superannuation or ordinary monies.

Read more about how your superannuation income streams can affect your payment.

Business assets

If you are involved in a business under a partnership or sole trader structure, we need to work out the portion of the business’ income and assets that relate to you to establish how it may affect the amount you are paid.

Read more about business structures that may affect your payment.

If we determine you are a controller of a private trust or private company, we will use the income and assets of that trust or company to work out your income support payments.

Read more about how private trusts and private companies can affect your payment.

Funeral investments

Although it is not something everybody wishes to consider, there can be benefits in planning and paying for some aspects of your funeral now. There are a range of different funeral investments that may be either partially or fully exempt from the assets test.

Read more about funeral bonds and prepaid funerals.

Assets given away

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

Read more about how gifting can affect your payment.

Other assets we assess

Other assets we assess when working out your payment include the market value of your and your partner's:

  • motor vehicles
  • boats and caravans
  • licenses, for example fishing or taxi
  • surrender value of life insurance policies
  • collections for trading, investment or hobby purposes, and
  • household contents and personal effects

Assets we do not assess

There are 2 types of assets we do not include when working out your payment rate.

Exempt assets

An exempt asset is a specific type of asset that we disregard irrespective of its value when we work out your payment rate. We consider the following assets exempt under the assets test:

  • your principal home and generally up to 2 hectares of privately used, surrounding land on the same title as your home - in some cases, rural customers and primary producers with larger properties on the same title may be exempt
  • some income streams depending on their purchase date
  • all Australian superannuation and rollover investments not in the drawn down phase in an approved fund until you reach age pension age
  • any property or monies left to you in an estate which you are not yet able to receive, generally for a period up to 12 months
  • a cemetery plot and either a prepaid funeral or up to 2 funeral bonds that cost no more than the allowable limit
  • aids for people with disability
  • monies received from the National Disability Insurance Scheme to provide for the needs of people with disability
  • proceeds from the sale of your principal home which you intend to use to purchase another within 12 months - the amount exempted will still be deemed and included in the income test
  • most compensation or insurance payments for loss or damage to buildings or personal effects
  • accommodation bonds paid on entry to residential aged care
  • first home saver accounts
  • your former principal home if you entered aged care and are paying or liable for an accommodation charge and your former home is rented out
  • any life interest, reversionary interest, remainder interest or contingent interest unless it was created by you, your partner or at the time of death of your partner
  • a Special Disability Trust if it meets certain requirements and does not have assets over the concessional asset limit
  • your principal home if you temporarily vacate it, for up to 12 months, and
  • granny flat rights where the amount transferred for the right was more than the extra allowable amount

Excluded assets

There are 2 specific types of assets excluded.

Genuine capital investment

We assess a genuine capital injection made into a private trust or private company, as an asset of the investor and we do not attribute it to the controller of the private trust or private company.

Exceptional circumstances farm related assets

For Farm Household Allowance, where your farm is within an area declared as exceptional circumstance, your farm's assets are exempt.

Assets test limits

Most pensions and allowances have asset limits. These limits determine if your assets will affect your payment rate.

The assets test limits are updated in March, July and September each year due to indexation.

On 1 January 2017 there will be a change to the assets test that may affect your payment.

Read more about the Low Income Health Care Card, Commonwealth Seniors Health Card and 1 January 2017 Assets test changes.

Assets test limits for allowances and Parenting Payment Single

Family situation For homeowners
assets must be less than
For non-homeowners
assets must be less than
From 1 July 2016 1 January 2017 1 July 2016 1 January 2017
Single $202,000 $250,000 $348,500 $450,000
Couple combined $286,500 $375,000 $433,000 $575,000
One partner eligible, combined assets $286,500 $375,000 $433,000 $575,000

Assets test free area for full pension

Family situation For homeowners
full pension assets must be less than
For non-homeowners
full pension assets must be less than
From 1 July 2016 1 January 2017 1 July 2016 1 January 2017
Single $209,000 $250,000 $360,500 $450,000
Couple combined $296,500 $375,000 $448,000 $575,000
Illness separated couple combined $296,500 $375,000 $448,000 $575,000
One partner eligible, combined assets $296,500 $375,000 $448,000 $575,000

Assets test limits for part pensions

Family situation For homeowners
part pension assets must be less than
For non-homeowners
part pension assets must be less than
From 20 September 2016 1 January 2017 20 September 2016 1 January 2017
Single $793,750 $542,500 $945,250 $742,500
Couple combined $1,178,500 $816,000 $1,330,000 $1,016,000
Illness separated couple combined $1,466,000 $960,000 $1,617,500 $1,160,000
One partner eligible, combined assets $1,178,500 $816,000 $1,330,000 $1,016,000

Assets test limits for transitional rate pensions

Family situation For homeowners
part pension assets must be less than
For non-homeowners
part pension assets must be less than
From 20 September 2016 1 January 2017 20 September 2016 1 January 2017
Single $701,500 $496,250 $853,000 $696,250
Couple combined $1,091,000 $772,500 $1,242,500 $972,500
Illness separated couple combined $1,281,500 $867,500 $1,433,000 $1,067,500
One partner eligible, combined assets $1,091,000 $772,500 $1,242,500 $972,500

Assets test limits for Disability Support Pension under 21 with no children

1 January 2017 figures are estimated amounts beyond which a pension would no longer be payable based on 1 July 2016 pension rates. These may change after 1 January 2017 indexation.

Family situation For homeowners
part pension assets must be less than
For non-homeowners
part pension assets must be less than
From 1 July 2016 1 January 2017 1 July 2016 1 January 2017
16 to 17 years, single dependent $457,500 $374,250 $609,000 $574,250
18 to 20 years, single dependent $490,000 $390,500 $641,500 $590,500
16 to 20 years, single independent $590,500 $440,750 $742,000 $640,750
16 to 20 years, couple combined $1,055,500 $754,500 $1,207,000 $954,500

The rate of payment is calculated under both the income and assets tests. The results with the lowest rate, or nil rate, will apply.

Limits will increase if Rent Assistance is paid with your allowance or pension.

Other assistance

If you cannot get a payment, or your payment is reduced because of the assets test, you may be able to get other assistance, such as:

Page last updated: 20 September 2016