Assets

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

It’s important to know:

  • 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.

Asset types

Real estate assets

We include the value of any real estate that’s not your principal home. 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 real estate assets.

Granny flat rules

If you transfer assets or money to live in a property that someone else owns, we may assess you under the granny flat rules.

Read more about granny flat rules.

Retirement village contributions

The amount of entry contribution you pay to live 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

An asset value may apply if you:

  • have a life interest in an asset, or
  • get a lifetime income from the asset

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 financial investments.

Superannuation investments

We include superannuation owned by you or your partner in your assets test if one or both of you is over age pension age.

Read more about superannuation investments.

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 income streams.

Business assets

If you’re involved in a business under a partnership or sole trader structure, we need to work out the business’ income and assets portion that relates to you.

If we decide you’re a controller of a private trust or private company, we’ll use their income and assets.

Read more about business structures and private trusts and private companies.

Funeral investments

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. If it’s more than the allowable gifting amount if may affect your rate of income support.

Read more about gifting.

Other assets

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

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

Assets we don’t 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
  • rural customers and primary producers with larger properties on the same title may be exempt in some cases
  • 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 can’t get for 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
  • principal home sale proceeds that you’ll use to buy another within 12 months - we deem the exempted amount and include it 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
  • your former principal home if you entered aged care and:
    • paying or liable for an accommodation charge, and
    • you rent out your former home
  • any interest not created by you or your partner including:
    • life interest
    • reversionary interest
    • remainder interest or
    • contingent interest
  • 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

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.

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 pension.

Read more about the 1 January 2017 Assets test changes.

Asset limits for allowances will also increase from 1 January 2017. There will be no reduction or cancellation of allowances as a result of this change.

Assets test limits for allowances and Parenting Payment Single

Payments cancel when assets are more than the following amounts.

Family situation Homeowners Non-homeowners
  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

Pensions start reducing when assets are more than the following amounts.

Family situation Homeowners Non-homeowners
  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

Part pensions cancel when assets are more than the following amounts.

Family situation Homeowners Non-homeowners
  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

Part pensions cancel when assets are more than the following amounts.

Family situation Homeowners Non-homeowners
  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.

Part pensions cancel when assets are more than the following.

Family situation Homeowners Non-homeowners
  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

We calculate the payment rate 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: 3 November 2016