Centrelink Q&A: Are you using the right assets test?

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Brian is confused as to whether to apply the single or couple assets test in his situation.

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Q. Brian

I cannot seem to find information on my situation. I am on a pension as a couple but my wife is not on a pension or unemployment benefits, nor is she working. It seems I am forced to only get half of a couples pension. What I want to know is which assets test to apply?  The couples or the singles? It would be very unfair if it is based on the singles rate when I am paid at the couples rate. Can anyone help please?

A. You are entirely correct in your assessment. When you reach Age Pension age and your partner has not, you will still be assessed under the income and assets test as part of a couple, and will receive the couple’s rate of Age Pension, one member eligible.

If your partner does not work and is not eligible for an Age Pension, they may be eligible for Newstart Allowance.

The assets test, like the income test, has two thresholds and is split into two categories. The full Age Pension is received when a lower assets test threshold is not exceeded. This threshold for non-homeowners couples is $594,500. For home-owning couples, the lower threshold is $387,500.

Centrelink asset test limits for Allowances and full Age Pensions from 1 Jan 2019

Situation

Homeowners

Non-homeowners

Single

$258,500

$465,500

Couple (combined)

$387,500

$594,500

Illness separated (couple combined)

$387,500

$594,500

One partner eligible (combined assets)

$387,500

$594,500

 

Once the lower thresholds are exceeded a person or couple’s entitlement to the Age Pension is reduced by $3 a fortnight for every $1000 their assets exceed that threshold. No Age Pension is received once an upper threshold is exceeded. The upper threshold for non-homeowner couples is $1,027,000. For couple homeowners the upper threshold is $848,000.

Centrelink asset test limits for part Age Pensions – effective from 1 Jan 2019

Situation

Homeowners

Non-homeowners

Single

$564,000

$771,000

Couple (combined)

$848,000

$1,055,000

Illness separated (couple combined)

$998,500

$1,205,500

One partner eligible (combined assets)

$848,000

$1,055,000

 

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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 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 Centrelink Financial Information Services officer, financial planner, lawyer or tax agent in relation to any aspects that affect your financial and legal circumstances.

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Written by Ben



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