Checking income and asset tests

Marjie is currently assessed under the income test and wants to know what she needs to do to be assessed under the assets test.


Q. Marjie
Can you please explain what is considered income for Aged Pension purposes for a couple? We are currently assessed under income rather than assets (which are around $385k). We do not work, but we receive around $15,000 per annum in super pensions and I receive $4000 per annum from a UK pension. I just need to understand when it would change to the asset test. We are only a few dollars under full pension, but it is frustrating trying to work it out. Previously, I was assessed incorrectly and had to repay $1400 because Centrelink forgot to include my partner’s super pension (I was retired, and he was working) so I am trying to ensure they don’t make such errors in the future. Any help in this area would be much appreciated.

A. Your Age Pension eligibility is calculated by applying both the income and assets tests, with the resulting lower payment determining under which rules you are paid. If, under either of the calculations, the resulting payment is $0, then you will not receive an Age Pension.

Currently, the income threshold for a couple’s Age Pension is $79,736.80. This includes income from investments, property rental or as a salary from employment, as well as several other means.

The assets test, like the income test, has two thresholds and is split into two categories. The full Age Pension is received when a lower assets test threshold is not exceeded. The threshold for non-home owner couples is $594,500. The lower threshold is for home-owning couples, and is set at $387,500.

Once the lower thresholds are exceeded a person or couple’s entitlement to the Age Pension is reduced by $3 a fortnight for every $1000 their assets exceed that threshold. No Age Pension is received once an upper threshold is exceeded. The upper threshold for non-homeowner couples is $1,027,000. For couple homeowners, the upper threshold is $848,000. 

Related articles:
UK Pension and the Age Pension
Real change, not small change
Reapplying for widow’s allowance

Disclaimer: All content on YourLifeChoices website is of a general nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It has been prepared with due care but no guarantees are provided for ongoing accuracy or relevance. Before making a decision based on this information, you should consider its appropriateness in regard to your own circumstances. You should seek professional advice from a Centrelink Financial Information Services officer, financial planner, lawyer or tax agent in relation to any aspects that affect your financial and legal circumstances.

Written by Ben Hocking

Ben Hocking is a skilled writer and editor with interests and expertise in politics, government, Centrelink, finance, health, retirement income, superannuation, Wordle and sports.

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