Changes to the pension assets test

On 1 January 2017, there will be changes to the assets test we use to calculate pensions. The rebalance of the assets test may affect your payment.

Payments affected by these changes

These changes may affect you if you get:

If you get DSP and you are younger than 21 with no children, read more about your asset test limits.

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Rebalance assets and taper rate video and podcast

Podcast transcript

New asset limits

The assets test free area is increasing. Your assets don’t affect your payment if they are below the assets test free area. The new assets test free areas will be:

  • $250,000 for a single homeowner
  • $375,000 for a homeowner couple
  • $450,000 for a single non-homeowner
  • $575,000 for a non-homeowner couple

The family home is still exempt from the assets test.

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

Read more about the asset test limits.

How assets over the limit will affect your payment

Currently, for every $1,000 of assets you own over the assets test free area, your pension is reduced by $1.50 per fortnight. This is called the taper rate.

From 1 January 2017, your pension will reduce by $3 per fortnight for every $1,000 of assets you own over the asset free area.

What happens next

Your situation What will happen
You currently get the maximum rate of pension Your payment won’t change.
The changes increase your pension on 1 January 2017 This will happen automatically. You don’t need to contact us.
You get your pension from us and the changes reduce your pension on 1 January 2017 by more than $1 We’ll send you a letter. You don’t need to contact us.
You’re in Australia and the pension you get from us is cancelled on 1 January 2017

We’ll send you a letter. You don’t need to contact us.

Your Pensioner Concession Card will be cancelled but we’ll automatically send you a non-income tested Low Income Health Care Card. If you are over age pension age, we’ll also send you a non-income tested Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. You won't have to meet the income test requirements for these cards.
You’re overseas and the pension you get from us is cancelled on 1 January 2017

We’ll send you a letter. You don’t need to contact us.

If you had an entitlement to a Pensioner Concession Card it will be cancelled but you’ll be eligible for a non-income tested Low Income Health Care Card. If you’re over age pension age, you’ll also be eligible for a non-income tested Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. You won't have to meet the income test requirements for these cards.

If you return to Australia before 1 April 2017, we’ll automatically send you the cards. If you return after this, you’ll need to tell us you’re back before we can send the cards.
The changes cancel your Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) pension on 1 January 2017

DVA will automatically send you a non-income tested Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. You can claim a non-income tested Low Income Health Care Card from us if you need one. You won't have to meet the income test requirements for these cards.

Read more about the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card on the DVA website.

Pension Bonus Scheme

If you’re registered for the Pension Bonus Scheme, your bonus depends on the rate of Age Pension you’ll receive when you claim it. This rate may be different before and after 1 January 2017. You may wish to consider this if you have flexibility as to when to claim.

Read more about the Pension Bonus Scheme.

Aged care fees

This change may affect your government subsidised aged care fees. This is because your income, including your pension, affects your fees. If your pension is reduced or cancelled, we’ll send you a letter. You’ll receive a separate letter if your aged care fees change.

Read more about aged care means test assessments.

Page last updated: 1 December 2016