Age Pension: does a de facto partner affect your claim?

How does a de facto relationship affect an Age Pension Claim?

defacto older couple holding hands

Tom would like to know how his de facto relationship and part-time work may affect his claim for the Age Pension.

Q. Tom

I live in Sydney with my de facto partner and we are both widowed. I work part time on a self-employed basis. She is a self-funded retiree with an investment income of around $50,000 gross pa, and has a unit as a home and part interest in an investment unit in Sydney. I have cash assets of $200,000 but no property.

I have three questions:

1. As I wish to now apply for the Age Pension, will my ability to receive a full Age Pension be affected by the de facto relationship?

2. If I continue to work part time, do I need to make an application for the Work Bonus Scheme and thereby advise Centrelink of that activity?

3. Can my partner, who is 75, apply for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC)? She has never applied for the Age Pension.

A. In response to your questions:

1. Yes, your Age Pension entitlement will take into consideration your de facto relationship and as such, you will be subject to the income and asset thresholds and payments relating to a couple. View the current income and asset thresholds

2. You have to advise Centrelink of any income you earn and it will apply the Work Bonus scheme exempt amount to your Age Pension calculation. That is, the first $250 you earn each fortnight will be exempt from assessment. Find out more about how the Work Bonus scheme operates.

3. Yes, your partner can apply for a CSHC, but as with the Age Pension, she will be assessed as a couple and, as such, the couple’s income threshold will apply. View the current income thresholds for the CSHC.

All information we provide is general, as we are not fully aware of your full financial circumstances. You will have to contact Centrelink to confirm your actual eligibility, which you can do by calling 13 2300.


    To make a comment, please register or login
    19th Feb 2016
    Don't live together!
    19th Feb 2016
    Good answer.
    Not Amused
    19th Feb 2016
    Who is to say you are not merely sharing your accommodation and at age 75, living together for convenience and only have a platonic relationship? Are people allowed to live together and share their utility bills? If this was two women or two men friends sharing a house, would officials turn up to see if there was just one double bed for God's sake. I suppose it all comes down to whether or not two occupants are sleeping together and announcing to all and sundry that they are in a committed, intimate relationship.
    19th Feb 2016
    Not Amused, In the original question they are self described as being in a de facto relationship. Nothing platonic about that and its surely an insult to the couple to suggest otherwise.
    19th Feb 2016
    KSS, I, too, have found the comment of Not Amused to be very offensive. The officials wouldn't be checking any beds for GOD'S sake either, but for that of the bloke and shiela Who would be sharing it. I far from believe they would be announcing anything either unless they were swingers which I doubt as well at the age of 75 - unless, of course, they were getting those new 3-D organs "under the table".
    Not Amused
    20th Feb 2016
    I was in no way directing offence at anyone. That is the trouble with this forum. An innocent comment is twisted around so that the person making a simple point, or asking a simple question, is personally targeted. I was referring to the situation in general, e.g. when people live together to save costs and are not in a self-described de facto relationship. I just wonder how the department "polices" all the various types of co-habiting arrangements. There have been cases where men and women living together and both claiming single benefits have had their living circumstances "checked". Fast Eddie and KSS - pull your heads in and stop looking for reasons to be unreasonably aggressive to others.
    20th Feb 2016
    Not Amused

    " An innocent comment is twisted around so that the person making a simple point, or asking a simple question, is personally targeted."

    Agreed but that is much like our cuurnt life. Politicians have made an art form of this.
    20th Sep 2016
    Not Amused.. And I've certainly seen them checked on too !!
    Not Senile Yet!
    19th Feb 2016
    Because the Govt gives itself an exemption from the Discrimination Act that WE have to abide can discriminate against Married and Defacto Couples as it pleases!!!
    This is done as a Direct Discrimination based on it saves the Tax Payer (and the Govt) Millions in Pension payments based on legislation that has been added to the Pension Legislation in the name of balancing the budget blowouts caused by their inability the Balance the Budget!
    In get penalised for being a couple!
    Only solution.....stop being a couple!!!
    19th Feb 2016
    The rules are the same as if you were married, if you live like a married couple you may as well get married and stop looking for ways to bend the system.
    Not Amused
    19th Feb 2016
    What is living like a married couple - I wish someone could tell me exactly where the line is drawn and who draws it and how.
    19th Feb 2016
    Living together and having consensual sexual relationships, sharing expenses does not constitute a marriage. A marriage is between a man and a woman and registered. All other relationships are not marriages. It is Centrelink that is trying to bend the system.
    2nd Oct 2016
    No niemakawa its actually the couples bending the system if they collect a pension and are self-funded. If this young lady wishes to take on the commitment of this man who is depending on the government then she has to accept the cost.
    Its not Centrelink to blame here. Its our superannuation provision. In other countries everyone is entitled to a pension if they have worked in that country on a pro-rata payout. Our pension scheme is looked at as welfare by successive governments not entitlement. It should be entitlement. Anyone in an Australian government job will qualify for a superannuation payout no matter who they marry or live with and yet if you worked in the private sector and relied on the pension - too bad Charlie.
    19th Feb 2016
    Marriage is honourable.....and makes the Aged Pension easy, God will judge the fornicators.
    2nd Oct 2016
    Hehehe PIXAPD Marriage is honorable ....and will take away their Aged Pension.
    The later sentence is a tad old world.
    I doubt he is watching to see whether individuals have celebrated a ceremony only introduced into society a few hundred years ago when the universe is billions of years old.
    He is more likely to be upset about the mess we are making of his blue planet!
    19th Feb 2016
    Here we have another example of some encouraging others to 'rort' the system. To all intents and purposes these two people are seen as a couple in the eyes of the law, they have been clearly been living a life as a couple (otherwise no need for the question) and now when 'pension' is on the horizon, suddenly it's OK to attempt to defraud the system to maximise the take from the taxpayer purse.

    Why? Because it's the age pension. So do double standards apply when you reach over 65?
    19th Feb 2016
    Just because a person lives and has a sexual relationship with another person, does not make it a de-facto situation. It is only Centrelink that makes this discriminatory rule. Be careful as this made have serious repercussions in estate planning.
    19th Feb 2016
    So if this couple (self described as in a de facto relationship) were 40 years younger would you still say the same thing or would they be considered rorters if seeking the dole?
    19th Feb 2016
    KSS. Yes. A marriage certificate or a formal registered relationship should be the only criteria.
    19th Feb 2016
    niemakawa the LAW recognises the de facto relationship and affords those in them the same rights and responsibilities as those in a male/female marriage. It is not Centrelink that makes this "discriminatory rule" at all.
    19th Feb 2016
    KSS. So what is the situation where 2 members of the same family living in the same house, sharing expenses and both receiving an aged pension. Are they treated as singles or a couple by Centrelink?
    19th Feb 2016
    Don't be silly niemakawa.

    You are fully entitled to disapprove of de facto relationships if you like but it doesn't change the law or the fact that Centrelink is not responsible for making it, only applying it to those who make a claim.
    19th Feb 2016
    KSS . It is nothing to do with my approval or disapproval. But can you please answer my question, if you can. Thanks.
    19th Feb 2016
    Re Point 2:

    Debbie, you need to check your facts. The Work Bonus DOES NOT not apply to self-employment, it is only applied to wages earned from an employer.

    Here is the relevant info from the Centrelink website.

    The Work Bonus applies to income from employment, including:

    wages paid in Australia and outside Australia
    leave, where you remain an employee of the same employer and
    director’s fees
    We will apply the Work Bonus to your assessable employment income before your pension is paid each fortnight.

    The Work Bonus is not applied to income from:

    leave payments if you have terminated your employment
    self-employed income
    payments to you as a principal from sole traders or partnerships
    investments or
    superannuation income
    28th Feb 2016
    It is about time that Australians insisted on a complete GOVERNMENT AUTHORISED restructuring of the payment system of Centrelink benefit payments of all kinds.
    The current system has been set up as a duopoly of the Administration staff, many of whom just go along with doing their job amidst a paperwork and beaurocratic nightmare, and the Centrelink Nazi Gestapo Police adjunct whose sole task is to spend millions of taxpayer dollars trying to discover and prosecute fraudsters.

    Any Social Security payment system wherein fraud is a major problem, is by default in admission that there is "NO SECURITY" IN IT !
    I would assert that it does not need a Policing Force of brainwashed zealots who robotically target and chase their would be FRAUDSTER victims, OVER AND ABOVE having the system made LESS OPEN TO FRAUD ATTEMPT in the FIRST PLACE AS A PRIORITY.

    Take this example of two Lesbians or Gays or Singles living together in a home. Let's say they are on a Pension of some kind and not obliged to look for work. They register their status as SINGLE. They actually share all resources and contribute equally to all overhead costs....BUT because of their perceived "STATUS" by Centrelink they each receive a payment which is the same.
    BUT the moment they declare they are married or living de-facto......BAM !
    The Centrelink Nazi Brigade swings into action and CUTS THEIR PAYMENT DRAMATICALLY !
    What has changed other than the CUT IN BENEFIT PAYMENT?.............NOTHING! The two persons still live exactly the same lifestyle with the same overhead expenses.
    Yet because they now socially CLASSIFY themselves as "in a relationship", THEY ARE PENALISED MONETARILY !
    One may well ask WTF is going on here? In reality it is nothing more than beaurocracy having gone mad and using Fear mongering of fines and imprisonment to try and intimidate people into PERSONAL DETAIL REVELATION COMPLIANCE !
    Same thing goes for Pensioner couples who are married.....they get less than if they were, UN-MARRIED, single and living together.

    IF EVERY ADULT ON A " fixed" PENSION GOT THE SAME BENEFIT PAYMENT there would be no way the system could be rorted by lying about one's personal status. One's personal status would no longer be an issue. And why should it be anyway?
    The system actually "Sets up people to try and rort it !"
    Married pensioners would be better off voluntarily divorcing !
    The system encourages Australians to separate in order to financially better off.
    How stupid is that for a Mantra ?
    What idiots put that in place?

    IF the current annual "Pensions rorting attempts" level could be halted outright.....just think how many Centrelink Gestapo could be fired and how much tax payers money could be saved! Just by simply giving everyone the same benefit payment!
    Even if the Pension rorting is only 50% of the time and cost to the system.....that would be half the overall Fraud problem solved.

    Now to UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS. This part of the Centrelink system is again run in a Police Gestapo like fashion, with intending recipients fed a barrage of threats and intimidation to "'DO AS CENTRELINK COMMANDS".
    First of all.......Social Welfare is meant to be "An empathetic, supportive system and congenial method to aid those in financial need who would otherwise not be able to live and survive at a minimum standard that is acceptable by the public at large".
    It should not be permitted by the Australian public to be a system primarily operated under a Mantra of fear and intimidation of those who need the support of it !

    Here is how to fix the Centrelink nightmare.

    2. Better engage with the organisations to whom they send Unemployed persons to carry out voluntary work so as to ensure that they ACTUALLY DO carry out the assigned Voluntary or part time paid work, for as long as they are on the Dole.
    All unemployed persons to be given THE EXACT SAME BENEFIT PAYMENT. No favouritism for one race or creed or person.
    Centrelink to oblige RTO's to come up with lists of Employers who are ready to take on those they have trained, before they are given the contract to put on particular training courses. It has always been "The cart after the horse" instead of vice versa, with those who are RTO trained being left by and large to their own devices to find work both during their training and after. This is madness. These people were having major problems getting work in the first place.
    The training takes place, and the Employer/s fulfils their part of the deal by taking on the newly trained persons. By all means give them a small up front incentive to take on more staff.
    However, instead of Bribing Employers with Taxpayer funded ancillary payments to the wages they intend paying, GIVE THEM A TAX BREAK for taking on new employees.
    Centrelink has again never looked at HOW TO STOP RORTING OVERALL.
    The horror stories I have heard over the years of how Employers took Centrelink Money to pay the wages of those they take on to work for a given period of time, only to SACK the employee when the period of Centrelink support payment ran out !


    Do not give incentive payments, Give incentive EMPLOYER TAX DISCOUNTS.

    Centrelink in all documentation claims to work in tandem with THE TAX OFFICE !

    The only way they do is that the SPYING GESTAPO ARM OF CENTRELINK monitors persons who make Tax Declarations.
    Hey.........What about those that do not?

    Yes, it may be time for a New US President, but it is just as surely, time for a NEW AND RESTRUCTURED CENTRELINK which works for the benefit of ALL AUSTRALIANS whether they be working Tax-payers, Unemployed, or on a Pension of some kind for whatever reason.
    Write to your local member and copy this to of them might wake up from their political stupor and decide to do something positive about it!

    Everything done by Centrelink is as they say "Done Arse About Face". That is why instead of a line of smiling eager faces in Centrelink Offices, you are met with downcast faces, suspicion, fear, and even loathing of it by those who seek it out to assist them in their time of need.

    The governmental sheeple citizens of this country have been living with and quivering under this damned Centrelink Beaurocracy for so long that they have been beaten into meek submission to follow its every edict, never having challenged what is actually being done to them!

    Millions of dollars could be saved annually if the Centrelink Gestapo were got rid off !

    All that needs to be done is for those who are not on a Pension to be required to look for work and validate their search, and to meantime be ASSIGNED, NOT ASKED IF THEY WANT TO BE ASSIGNED.......TO DO WORK FOR ANY NUMBER OF THE ORGANISATIONS WHO NEED VOLUNTEERS.
    almost a grey hair
    28th Sep 2016
    All this trouble was caused by the gov of the day introducing pensions for each single as more than half that of a couple. If the single pension was half that of a couple we wouldn't have half the welfare cheats we have now ripping off the system claiming welfare as two singles getting a lot more together than a couple.
    2nd Oct 2016
    It costs nearly as much as a single person to live alone as two people to share. There are so many fixed costs other than food. The government saves a lot of money this way. If a partner can support their other person then that's what they have to do. - From the day they marry or co-habitat at age 18 or 75.
    It is fair really. Buy a puppy and you have the vet bills.
    2nd Nov 2017
    If people were given some recognition of the value of cleaning, shopping for food, cooking and maintaining a home, we wouldn't have this crazy situation of deciding what are two single people, a married or de facto couple.

    If two elderly sisters (or brothers) lived together and "ran" a household, their costs to do so are exactly the same as two people of the opposite sex, whether they are having sex or not. This grey area arises because most assume a married couple can save money by sharing a bedroom, sex or no sex. I consider having to share a bedroom an imposition on both partners, if it's sleep you're after.

    The basis of all this conundrum is the assumption that in a couple made up of two people of the opposite sex, one is getting a free ride on the back of the other partner doing most the domestic work and running around, 24/7, so the couple should be penalised. This unpaid work is valued as nothing, but really it IS valuable in a money sense, as reflected by Centrelink. It's not about having sex or not, it's about the division of labour running a home. Crazy really, especially when people become old and frail and have to pay workers to come into their home to do the domestics.
    2nd Oct 2016
    At their age you only benefit each other financially if you are both on a pension. I really wish the pension was paid per person. 50% of couples end in divorce and re-linking is a huge financial issue second time around - at any age.
    I think he needs a separate bedroom and should pay rent.
    6th Oct 2016
    12:36pm made a very valid point about 2 members of the same family living together like a brother and a sister.
    KSS should not call you silly for that.
    What about married couples living together and NOT having sex? I have friends like that! I also knew a single young unmarried mum who was collecting the unmarried mothers' benefit welfare and she was sharing a house and sleeping with her husband to be and she had a room set up as her own but never slept in it but this was necessary because welfare recipients were visited by Social Security!
    How ridiculous!
    Okay, then now people living together could be totally independent and NOT be having sex......who is to say otherwise!
    However, in reference to divorce, a couple need to be living apart for one yr before divorce can legally be effected yet they could live under the same roof providing they have proof of individual payments of utilities and rent or mortgage and could provide friends' testimonies that they were not having sex and such.
    Yes, so it is very difficult to draw the line and I would suggest that EVERYONE TO BE TREATED AS SINGLES AND MEANS TESTED AS SUCH REGARDLESS OF DEFACTO, SHARING OR MARRIED!
    24th Jul 2017
    You'll probably be dead by the time Centrelink answers your call. Better to go to a Centrelink office and get on the queue. Faaarr queue.

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