Explained: Home Equity Access Scheme

If you’re looking to supplement your retirement income – and you own your home – you may be able to take out a loan under the Home Equity Access Scheme.

The Home Equity Access Scheme (HEAS) lets older Australians access a non-taxable loan through the government, using equity in the home they own as security.

To be eligible to apply for the loan, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • you must have reached Age Pension age
  • you must be receiving or eligible to receive the Age Pension, Carer Payment or Disability Support Pension
  • you must own real estate in Australia that can be used as security
  • you must not be subject to any insolvency or bankruptcy agreement
  • you have adequate and appropriate insurance that covers the real estate offered as security.

The maximum amount you can borrow through the scheme is referred to as your maximum loan amount (MLA). The MLA is calculated by rounding the value of your real estate security down to the nearest $10,000.

That amount is then divided by 10,000 and multiplied by your age component amount. This is a dollar amount assigned to each age that gradually increases, meaning the older you get the more you can borrow.

Interests and payments

The loan amount can be paid as a fortnightly amount, or as a lump sum, or as a combination of both. If you opt for a fortnightly payment, the amount cannot be more than 150 per cent above your regular fortnightly pension payment.

If you don’t receive a pension but still opt for fortnightly loan payments, the payments cannot be more than 150 per cent of the standard Age Pension amount.

Interest on HEAS loans is currently charged at 3.95 per cent, compounding each fortnight. Interest is continuously applied to the outstanding amount until it is repaid in full. This rate is set by the minister for social services.

Loans taken under the scheme have what is known as a no negative equity guarantee. Basically, if the value of your real estate security drops, you won’t have to repay more than the current market value.

For example, if your outstanding loan balance is $250,000 and when you sell your property it is only worth $200,000, you would only need to repay $200,000.

If you’re interested in a loan under the HEAS, you’ll need to set up an online myGov account, if you don’t already have one. Applications for HEAS loans can be found in the Centrelink portal, under the Older Australians section.

Have you or would you take advantage of this scheme? Share your thoughts or experience in the comments section below,

Also read: Age Pension is taxable – do you need to lodge a return?

Brad Lockyer
Brad Lockyerhttps://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/author/bradlockyer/
Brad has deep knowledge of retirement income, including Age Pension and other government entitlements, as well as health, money and lifestyle issues facing older Australians. Keen interests in current affairs, politics, sport and entertainment. Digital media professional with more than 10 years experience in the industry.


  1. Great product at a low interest rate to provide additional income in retirement.

    If you don’t need additional income in retirement, you don’t need to apply.’

    A single 72 year woman can access an additional $500 p/f for the next 15 years and till have more equity in her home at the age of 87 years, than she does at the moment (based on a conservative annual growth of 3%).

    What a difference it makes when income goes from $28,000 p/a to $42,000. p/a.

    HEAS is available through Centrelink and the time from application to settlement is painful and takes far too long.

    For most equity release borrowers, the needs are greater than the Government product can provide and the commercial market is experiencing considerable growth to meet those demands.

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