Assessing a second home

Stephen and his wife own a home each and want to know how that will affect their ability to get an Age Pension. Financial adviser Kane Jiang has the answer.

Q. Stephen

My wife and I plan to soon be on the Age Pension. My wife solely owns the home we both live in. We both pay for its upkeep, roughly on a 50/50 basis. I have just bought a new house that I solely own and am getting rent from. As we both own separate homes, are they – for Centrelink purposes – both considered to be primary residences and therefore not considered as assets? If we were separated, which we are not, it would be a simpler equation, but we are a married couple who own separate homes. Any advice would be appreciated.

A. The second home, which is rented, will be assessed according to the Assets and Income Test.

The Federal Government’s Guide to Social Security Law states:

If an income support recipient, or their partner, has more than one home:

  • Their principal home is the one in which they spend the greatest amount of time, unless they spend the same amount of time in each of them, in which case the most expensive home is defined as the principal home.
  • The property which is not the principal home is assessed as an asset even when the income support recipient or their partner are living in the property.
  • If the income support recipient or their partner spends a considerable amount of time in a home they do not own, the home they own is the principal home.


For example, the income support recipient, or their partner, may live in the home they own for five months a year and live the rest of the year in holiday rental accommodation. The home they own remains their principal home.

The information contained in this document is general advice only and does not take into account your specific individual circumstances. Please contact AA Financial Planning if you are seeking personal financial advice suited to your particular situation.

Related articles:

How are offset accounts assessed?
How are inheritances assessed?
How are shares valued?

Written by Janelle Ward

Energetic and skilled editor and writer with expert knowledge of retirement, retirement income, superannuation and retirement planning.

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