Most types of income count in your income test. We use this test and the assets tests to work out if you can get a payment, and what your payment rate will be.

What counts as income

Income includes:

  • an amount you earn, derive or receive for your own use or benefit
  • profits
  • some regular payments you get as a gift or allowance

It can be in the form of:

  • money
  • goods, services or other benefits in return for an item, action or promise

We use the gross amount in the income test. This is the amount before tax or any other deductions.

Your income test includes income from anywhere in the world, not just Australia. This includes pensions from other countries. Read about overseas income.

Assessable income

This is the amount we count in your income test. This also includes your partner's income.

Examples of assessable income

Assessable income can be:

Details we need from you

Normally we ask for your gross income.

If you own a business or rental property we will also ask for your:

  • income tax return, or
  • profit and loss statement
You can use your Centrelink online account through myGov to:
  • report your income
  • update details of your savings, shares, managed investments, income streams, real estate and other assets
  • report any gifts you get

Exempt income

This is income we don’t count in your income test.

Examples of exempt income

Exempt income can be:

  • rent assistance from government
  • most payments from us - these may still count in the Family Tax Benefit income test
  • compensation for loss or damage to things you own
  • child support - this may still affect your Family Tax Benefit Part A
  • any free board and lodging you get
  • regular payments from a close relative
  • Emergency relief or similar assistance
  • payments as a victim of National Socialist persecution
  • First Home Saver Account withdrawals or interest
  • repayment for expenses
  • some allowances if you spend the whole amount on what it’s meant for, for example, work travel
  • payments through a National Disability Insurance Scheme package
  • some lump sums

Exempt scholarships

We don't count up to $8,223 per year from an equity or merit based scholarship in your income test.

This is any scholarship you get:

  • so you can study or do research
  • for achievement in study or research

This covers most education scholarships.

Any amount over $8,223 per year counts as income and may affect your payment rate.

If you get more than one scholarship, the $8,223 applies to the total amount you get, not to each one.

The exempt amount is indexed each year.


Deeming is the method we use to work out the income from your financial assets. We count this deemed income in your income test.

Read more about deeming.

Page last updated: 1 April 2019

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