Centrelink Q&A: Will my furniture affect the assets test?

furniture valued for assets test

Graham is planning to move to Australia from New Zealand to be closer to his daughter and grandchild. He plans on bringing his furniture and wants to know how his furniture and possessions will be valued in regard to the assets test if he applies for the Age Pension.


Q. Graham

I am a pensioner thinking about moving from New Zealand to Melbourne to be near my only child and her newborn. I would wish to avail myself of the pension.

The assets test makes sense to me in general terms. But I have been unsuccessfully searching government sites for an explanation as to how one of its components is administered.

The test calculates an individual’s chattels but gives no indication as to how or even who will expedite the valuation.

Nor is there in evidence a form and a formula one could complete and apply. There is reference to new chattels, e.g. a new TV, but nothing about what I would call existing but ‘used’ chattels.

However, as you will appreciate, the total value of my assets will, or may, determine the level of pension available to me.

In my instance, I would bring my furniture, etc, with me – none of it is less than 10 years old – so who puts a value on it?

A. The value of your assets is what you’d get if you sold them at market value. Centrelink will deduct any debt you owe, for which your asset is security, from its market value.

When you claim a payment, Centrelink will ask about the assets you have and their value. You may also be asked to give updated information about your assets. This will ensure you’re getting the correct payment rate.

The good news is – unless your furniture and electronics are of exceptional quality – that as they are older than 10 years they have almost certainly depreciated to a fraction of their original value.

Centrelink will accept your own assessment as to what is ‘market value’. That is, what you would get for selling it on eBay or Facebook Marketplace or even a garage sale.

A quick look through Facebook Marketplace shows that even beautiful antiques are only selling for a few hundred dollars each.

Search the internet to see what similar items are selling for and value your goods at a similar price.

Centrelink will accept this price as reasonable. Unless, of course, it appears to have been understated or your initial valuation will affect your eligibility for the Age Pension payment.

If your goods are of exceptional quality, Centrelink will need you to have your chattels valued and will appoint someone to the task. This is free.

For further information you can also contact the Financial Information Service, FIS.

This is a free service that can help you with money matters. You can speak to a FIS officer by calling 132 300. Say “Financial Information Service” when prompted. The FIS officer will talk to you about your situation, and either give you information or book an appointment for you if your matter is complex or sensitive.

How did you value your furniture or household goods for the assets test? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below.

Also read: Upcoming changes that mean you may qualify for a part Age Pension or health card

Written by YourLifeChoices Writers

YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.

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  1. Considering I bought most of my furniture 2nd hand or even got it free on Gumtree or Freecycle, although it still works well for me and I am happy with it, I would be lucky to be able to give it away, let alone get a dollar or two for it.
    I put $1000 to cover furniture and appliances, which I consider quite generous on my part.

  2. 2014 I put everything including furniture, appliances, clothes , paintings, jewellery etc at $3000, a new car as $10,000 as per internet valuation bought for $17.000 a month before….no quibbles as said, second hand furniture is worth almost nothing, my 2 sun/water resistant faux cane lounge chairs cost $1200, unused both sold for total $375 on gumtree

  3. Here’s a direct quote from the DSS Policy Manual:
    A person’s and their partner’s personal effects and household contents are assessed as being $10,000, UNLESS the person advises a different amount.
    If the person advises that the net market value of their personal effects and household contents is less than $10,000:
    Accept the person’s assessment, UNLESS
    there are very strong indications to suggest that the value is significantly understated.
    If the person’s valuation appears to be significantly understated:
    Ask how they arrived at the decision, AND
    explain the meaning of ‘market value’.
    So, both Pacahawl’s and Tood’s assessments are reasonable so long as, if queried, they can provide some indication of how that value was arrived at.

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