Primary residence or asset?

YOURLifeChoices subscriber, Rosemary, would like to know for how long she needs to live in her property for it to be considered her primary residence when claiming the Pension Bonus?

Q. Rosemary

I recently attended a Seniors Seminar in regards to the Pension Bonus Scheme. As I am currently working and living interstate, I have my residential property rented. I was told if I reoccupied my property next year when I stopped work, it would be regarded as my residential address and not an asset.

Are there any clauses on how long I have to occupy this property, prior to and after claiming my bonus?

A. Provided by Centrelink

As long as Centrelink are satisfied that it is a permanent move back to occupy the property then it will accept that it is the person’s home property and exempt from the assets test.

There is no time limit before or after occupying the property.

Evidence that a person has permanently occupied a property include (but is not limited to):

moving personal belongings to the house

redirecting mail

advising power and water companies

advising telecommunication companies

You should note however, that if you were to claim the Age Pension and then move form your permanent residence and rent it out, the money received would be deemed as income and the home as an asset, which would ultimately affect your pension payment.

For further information the customer can talk to the Financial Information Service on 13 2300.