Your financial investment values are used to calculate your payment rate under both the assets and the income tests.
From 20 September 2014, your maximum rate of payment increased if you receive an income support payment. If you own shares, securities or managed investments, your payment may reduce due to the reassessment of all financial investment values at this time.
How we assess financial investments
Financial investments include any:
- bank, building society and credit union accounts
- term deposits
- public and private loans
- managed investments
- listed shares and securities
- bonds, notes and debentures
- shares in unlisted public companies
- gold, silver or platinum bullion
We assess the asset value of financial investments at their net market value, not their face value. The net market value is the last trade or sale price of the investment, less the value of a margin loan secured against the investment.
While the current net market value of your investment is used in the calculation of the assets test, the gross value of your investments is used to calculate the amount of deemed income to be included in the income test.
If you are over age pension age your financial investments also include your superannuation investments.
Revaluation of your financial investments
Your investment values fluctuate under normal market conditions. These fluctuations may result in variations in your payment rate. The latest available investment values that we hold are applied to any new claim, review or request for a reassessment.
We revalue your investments in March and September of each year, based on the latest unit price we have available. You can request a revaluation of your investments at any time.
When we revalue, all of your listed shares, securities and market linked unitised managed investments are automatically updated. If we cannot automatically revalue your investments, we will ask you for the updated values. These revised values are then used to recalculate your payment rate.
Status of your investment
Fluctuations in the value of your investments can also be a result of a change in the status of 1 or more of your investments.
If you have shares or managed investments that have fallen in value you should contact your investment company or financial advisor to check whether the change is a normal market fluctuation and whether they can provide advice on your current situation before making any changes. This ensures you have all the facts to make the most informed decision about securing your financial future.
The status of your financial investments generally falls into 4 broad categories. The type of assistance we can provide will vary depending on your investment’s situation.
Normal market fluctuation
If your investment is responding to market behaviour, you can contact us to arrange for a reassessment of the value of your investments. You may be eligible for an increase in your payment.
If we reassess your investments, all managed investments and listed shares and securities you have will be updated. If a particular investment has lost value but others have not, you may find that the value of your total investment portfolio has increased.
If you were previously ineligible for an income support payment because of the level of your asset or income values, you can contact us to see if you are now eligible.
Investment capital is frozen
If your investment capital is frozen we continue to count the value of the income and assets as normal. If you need money for urgent purposes you can talk about your options with our Financial Information Service.
Assets and income have both been frozen
If your assets and income have both been frozen we will count the value of the assets. In this circumstance you should talk about your options with our Financial Information Service. In some instances, you may be eligible for temporary assistance under Asset Hardship provisions.
Investment in a company that has now failed
This is usually when a receiver or administrator is appointed, but this is not always the case for frozen funds. If you are in this situation, you should talk about your options with our Financial Information Service. You may be eligible for assistance or a possible increase in your payment. In some cases, you may be able to request a deeming exemption.