Wife Pension

An income support payment we used to offer for women whose partner gets Age Pension or Disability Support Pension.

No new Wife Pensions

We stopped granting this payment from 1 July 1995.

Who’s still eligible

If you got Wife Pension before 1 July 1995, you can stay on it for:

  • as long as you’re still eligible, or
  • until you transfer to Age Pension

We use income and assets tests to work out how much Wife Pension you get.

Eligibility & payment rates

Income test for pensions

Your income can reduce your pension.

Read more about income tests for pensions

Assets test

The value of assets you and your partner own affects:

  • if you can get Wife Pension
  • how much Wife Pension you can get

To be eligible for this payment your assets can’t be worth more than the assets test limits.

Hardship rate

You can apply for the Asset Hardship rate if:

  • you’re in severe financial hardship, and
  • the assets test reduces your pension or makes it not payable

Payment rates

Your payment rate for Wife Pension depends on:

  • your and your partner’s combined income and assets
  • if you and your partner live together or apart

Read more about how your relationship status can affect your payment rate.

Current maximum rates

Your Wife Pension rate is the same as your partner’s Age Pension or Disability Support Pension rate.

These are the maximum rates of payment. They change on 20 March and 20 September each year.

Wife Pension per fortnight If you live with your partner If you live apart due to ill health
Maximum basic rate $609.30 $808.30
Maximum Pension Supplement $49.70 $65.90
Energy Supplement $10.60 $14.10
Total $669.60 $888.30

What may be different

If you were on a part pension on 19 September 2009 you may get a different rate. Our income test rules changed on this date.

You’ll get a transitional rate if the new income test would give you a lower rate than the old test.

We only pay this rate until the new rules would give you an equal or higher rate.

These are the current highest rates. They change in line with the Consumer Price Index.

Wife Pension per fortnight If you live with your partner If you live apart due to ill health
Maximum basic rate $592.80 $733.90
Energy Supplement $10.60 $14.10
Total $603.40 $748.00

Read more about the transitional rates.

Rate reviews

We review your Wife Pension from time to time to make sure we are paying you correctly.

If we change your rate and you disagree, you have the right to appeal.

Managing your payment

Change of circumstances

You need to tell us about changes that could reduce or stop your Wife Pension.

For example, you must tell us if:

  • your income changes
  • you move house
  • you stop living with your partner, or start living with a new partner
  • you leave Australia to live overseas
  • travel overseas for a holiday
  • your assets or your investments change

How and when to tell us

You can tell us about your changes through our self service options.

You need to:

If you don’t tell us

If you don’t tell us about these changes, we may pay you too much. If this happens you will have to pay the money back.

If you deliberately don’t tell us about changes, we could charge you with fraud.

Read how to avoid fraud.

Advance payment

You may get part of your income support early. This is an advance. You pay it back out of your normal payments from us.

Read more about advance payment

If you travel outside Australia

You can normally get Wife Pension while outside Australia provided your partner’s payment has not stopped.

Read more about Wife Pension if you travel outside Australia

Weekly payment option

Some people can get income support payments each week instead of each fortnight.

Read more about weekly payments

Income Stream Reviews

Each financial year we review certain types of income streams. We do this in August and February.

Read more about Pension Income Stream Reviews

Income reporting

How much you or your partner earn affects your payment. We need to know what you and your partner earn so we pay you the right amount.

Read more about income reporting

When you reach age pension age

Wife Pension can continue to be paid to people who are over age pension age.

Read more about Wife Pension when you reach age pension age

My bank account is overdrawn

You can get help to manage your money if your bank account is overdrawn.

Read more about what to do if your account is overdrawn


Manage your money


We’ve got advice and tools to help you with budgeting, borrowing and credit, and managing debt.

Read about how to manage your money.

Regular deductions using Centrepay

You can use our free and voluntary service to pay bills as regular deductions from your Centrelink payments.

Read more about regular deductions using Centrepay

Page last updated: 11 September 2017