Assets and Centrelink

Q. Heather
Recently I was speaking to Centrelink (telephone discussion) to update some personal details. I was advised that the value of contents is added to any investments, e.g. bank account interest, to work out if there has been an income from these “investments”. Could you please advise if this is correct as I have always understood that Contents was a depreciating asset & fail to see how to reconcile this with bank interest.

A. Provided by Hank Jongen, General Manager, Centrelink
Thanks for your enquiry. It’s important to highlight that pensions are subject to two means tests, called the income and assets tests. Centrelink works out the pension rates under the income test and the assets test and pays whichever is the lower of the two rates.

Under the income test, financial investments are subject to deeming. This relates to the full range of financial assets, including cash management accounts and term deposits. Deeming assumes your financial investments are earning a certain rate of income, no matter what income they are actually earning.

Home contents are not subject to deeming or any other type of income test. The current market value of your assets is treated separately under the assets test.

If you are unsure about how this affects your individual circumstances, talk to Centrelink by telephoning 13 2300 or visit your local Centrelink Customer Service Centre.

Written by Debbie McTaggart