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.
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 [email protected] and we’ll do our best to answer it, or find someone who can.