Off-setting rental income

Judith is considering moving closer to family for medical care and assistance. As she has not been able to sell her home, she would like to know what are the implications on her Age Pension of any rental income she receives.

Q. Judith

Due to chronic illness and disability, my husband and I have been trying to sell our home in a rural town for two years to move closer to family, medical care, and assistance. Despite trying for 12 months, we have been unable to sell our home and have been advised by some to rent out the house. However, I am told that rental income will affect our part-pension payment. This will be counted as income, even though this ‘gain’ would be more than offset by the higher we rental would have to pay in the location to which we would need to move.  
Can you offer clarification please?  In the current financial climate there must be many others in similar positions.

A. Provided by Centrelink.

The rent paid on the new house is not allowed as a deduction against the rental income received from the previous home under either taxation or social security law.

What can be deducted from the rental income are the usual expenses such as rates and taxes, maintenance etc. Before considering a move, it would be worthwhile to discuss your situation with a Centrelink Financial Services officer. You can make an appointment by calling 13 23 00.