Has Centrelink got it wrong?

Bob is confused by the information on the status of his wife’s super balance. Is it an asset or not? Centrelink appears to have counted it as one, but Bob’s not sure that this is correct.

Q. Bob
I am confused by the different advice online from Centrelink and other sources.

I am 70 and my wife is 59. She has a personal super fund with a balance of approximately $500,000.

I read on the YourLifeChoices website:

“If you have a spouse, their super is assessed under the income and asset tests only once they have reached Age Pension eligibility age or commence the pension phase – where the super fund pays an income stream or pension”.

But Centrelink seems to have counted this as an asset when deciding on my eligibility for an Age Pension. Is their assessment correct?

A. If your wife is under Age Pension age and is not receiving an income from her superannuation, then generally it shouldn’t be assessed as an asset. See the text below from Centrelink website which confirms.

‘Treatment of superannuation and rollover investments

If you are under age pension age, your superannuation investments are usually disregarded for income and assets test purposes. When you or your partner reach age pension age, whether you receive Age Pension or another payment, superannuation investments are:

  • included as assets under the assets test, and
  • regarded as financial investments. They are added to the value of other financial investments and all financial investments are deemed to calculate income.


We will use the balance from your latest member statement to determine the asset value of your superannuation and then use this value in working out the amount of income to be deemed for this investment.

If you have reached age pension age and your partner has not, your superannuation will be assessable however your partner’s superannuation will not be assessable until they reach age pension age.’

As I am not fully aware of your circumstances, you should query with Centrelink direct why your wife’s superannuation is being counted towards your Age Pension eligibility.

Related articles:
Is her super an asset?
Super contributions explained

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