Can Janice help her son without affecting her Age Pension?

Janice wants to know if she can help her disabled son without affecting her Age Pension.

How much can I gift my son?

Janice’s son is disabled and lives in a rooming house. She wants to know if she can help improve his living conditions without affecting her Age Pension.


Q. Janice
My 45-year-old son is bipolar and also suffers from an acute anxiety syndrome. This, combined with a chronic back problem, makes it highly likely that he will never be able to work again. He is on a disability pension and for the past two years has lived in depressing conditions in a rooming house, which is all he can afford. This type of housing accommodation attracts many undesirable people, and consequently his health has been affected badly due to his condition.

My question is whether there is any way my husband and I can assist our son financially in order to help him lead a normal, stress-free life without jeopardising our part Age Pension. I understand the gifting rules for pensioners, but I wonder if there is another avenue to pursue due to my son's medical condition and depressing lifestyle. The situation has become very stressful for my husband and me and is affecting our quality of life.

A. Obviously, it depends on the level of assistance you intend to give your son. You can, as you know, gift $10,000 per year, or a maximum of $30,000 in a five-year period. If you intend to give more than this, you may wish to consider setting up a family trust; however, this will require legal assistance.

As your son is on a Disability Support Pension, you will also have to take into consideration that the financial assistance he receives from you could affect his payment.

I would recommend making an appointment with a Centrelink Financial Information Services officer in the first instance to discuss your situation.

If you have a Centrelink question, send it to and we’ll do our best to answer it, or find someone who can.


    Financial disclaimer: All content on YourLifeChoices website is of a general nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It has been prepared with due care but no guarantees are provided for the ongoing accuracy or relevance. Before making a decision based on this information, you should consider its appropriateness in regard to your own circumstances. You should seek professional advice from a financial planner, lawyer or tax agent in relation to any aspects that affect your financial and legal circumstances.


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    11th Jun 2018
    It would appear that you wish to help your son in every way but having him come to live with you, which would be the simple answer, wouldn't it ??? Jacka
    11th Jun 2018
    My thoughts, exactly, Jacka!
    11th Jun 2018
    Those comments are not helpful. We dont know the people's circumstances.
    12th Jun 2018
    Maybe they are not helpful because, as you say we don't know their circumstances.
    BUT, it is the first thought most people would have when reading this question.
    Myself included!
    11th Jun 2018
    Not knowing your financial details, and stating you are on a part age pension indicates you have other income or financial assets. One suggestion I would make is rearrange your financial assets so you can help him without adversely affecting your part pension. For instance, purchase a 'holiday house', which could be a small one or two bedroom unit, and let him live in it rent free. All Centrelink knows is you have changed one asset for another asset, net result no change in your pension. Lateral thinking needed here.
    11th Jun 2018
    I think we do know the people circumstance they seem to have ample money however don't wish their son to live with them, rather obvious to me. Cheers Jacka
    11th Jun 2018
    The son is an adult and probably doesn't want to go back to living with his parents. He wants to be independant and they want to help him to be independant. Why is that so difficult for you to understand, Jacka?
    11th Jun 2018
    Jacka ... big al ... Give me a break ... where are your thinking faculties ... where is your empathy, your understanding of human needs ... this man is in his 40s he wants to live an independent life, one that he deserves to strive for and he needs help.
    His parents are struggling to find a way to help him do this.

    It never fails to astound (and alarm me) me as to how some people think.
    EMPATHY and UNDERSTANDING are among just a few qualities we can and should cultivate.
    11th Jun 2018
    I agree with you, Eliza.
    12th Jun 2018
    I'm sorry Eliza, but I don't agree with you.
    As I wrote above -MOST peoples's first thoughts would be 'why doesn't he live with you'.
    Then we would take a step back and think about circumstances etc.
    That does not mean that people do not have empathy or are not sympathetic towards another human being.
    It just means, MOST, people make snap judgments on the evidence that is before them - which even the police do until they dig deeper and get a clearer picture of what is happening.
    Looks a bit like calling the kettle black.
    11th Jun 2018
    As the reply in this article says, you may gift up to $10,000 pa, but a maximum of $30,00 in 5 years. But, if going above these amounts you are seen to be deliberately divesting yourself of assets. However, you may put any amount you wish through the pokies at your local, lose the lot, with no effect on your pension entitlement! Perhaps you need to take whatever $ amount you would have liked to gift to your son, and blow it at the pokies. (Wink Wink).
    11th Jun 2018
    Now there's an excellent piece of advice (wink, wink) to Janice from an accountant (presumably) how to fool, the system!
    11th Jun 2018
    What about a monthly donation to his rent so he can move to a more comfortable place. $100 per week comes to only $5000 a year so you'd be well inside Centrelink boundaries.
    11th Jun 2018
    Great lateral thinking ... this is a great suggestion Triss ... and one that should be explored

    ... it’s soulutions we should seek ...

    Not judgement and mindless nastiness as some are unfortunately prone to do.
    12th Jun 2018
    Yes Triss. Or they could consider building income using the assets they already have. Once off the Centrelink treadmill they'll have real Independence and can do what they like with their money.
    12th Jun 2018
    That is not a very practical suggestion Rae. Their son needs help now, not sometime in them future. Also maybe they do not want to get off the 'Centrelink treadmill', possibly wanting to retain the concessions that come with the OAP.
    All I know is that if I was in Janice's position I would not let Centrelink's rules stop me, but I would still look for way around them.
    14th Jun 2018
    It is time for all of us to rant at our MPs and Senators daily to take action for human decency and a huge stress reduction for pensioners

    A pension is not welfare.

    Most economist say we will save taxpayers money by dropping asset testing because of the massive overheads cost in running Centrelink and the 10,000 conflicting rules.

    Hiring more Centrelink staff will only increase taxpayer’s costs for processing the creeping insane red tape monster system politicians and well paid bureaucrats have created.

    Help scrap it now. Become a hero.

    Even poorer New Zealand has a NO ASSET pension so it is cheaper and user friendly.

    Why worry that few million$ earners get it too. That is peanuts to them, not enough for a good vintage champagne.

    Do retired and retiring people really look forward and want 100++ visits to/from Centrelink and be part of 3 million waiting queues and lost calls?

    Does your MP really like being part of the system that allows this indirect abuse of the elderly?

    This abuse is actually sponsored by our government and forced down to Centrelink and borders on a criminal act.

    Why do MPs normally compassionate persons let this Centrelink abuse happen at taxpayers’ expense?

    Some opposition and independent MPs stand to lose their chance at being part of the needed government changes

    We all need to tell our MP and senators every day that these criminal asset tests for a pension must be dropped now.

    Also contact opposition and independent MPs who can help us to get a fair deal on pensions


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