Does owning a property overseas escape the asset test?

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Gina is planning to move to Australia and wants to know how her property in New Zealand will be assessed when applying for the Age Pension.


Q. Gina
My husband and I are New Zealand citizens and receive NZ Superannuation. We are considering moving to Australia to be closer to our children. We are eligible for a non-protected special category visa (SCV). We are considering renting out our freehold house in New Zealand. How would this affect our application for the Australian Age Pension? We know that for tax purposes our New Zealand property and any rent we get from it would not be subject to tax in Australia under the SCV category.

A. Under the Social Security Agreement between Australia and New Zealand you may be able to continue to receive your NZ Super payment if you move to Australia, but you should contact your New Zealand Work and Income office to confirm.

This is probably the best option for you if it is available.

If you decide you would rather apply for an Australian Age Pension, the income you receive from your rental property (and indeed the value of the property itself) will affect the amount of pension you are eligible for as Australian pensions are income and asset tested.

There are certain asset and income limits tests you need pass before you are granted a pension. If your assets or income exceeds those required for a full Age Pension, you may be eligible for a part Age Pension.

You can still receive a certain amount of income and receive an Age Pension. This income can be derived from investments, property rental or as a salary from employment, as well as several other means.

Exceeding the fortnightly income limit will see your pension reduced by 50 cents for every $1 over the limit, until you reach the disqualification limit for a part Age Pension, at which point your Age Pension payment will cease.

Asset test limits are used to determine whether you qualify for an Age Pension and, if so, at which rate it will be paid. Your fortnightly Age Pension payment is reduced by $3 for every $1000 you exceed the full Age Pension asset limit. Once you exceed the limits for a part Age Pension, your Age Pension payment will cease.

Your assets, whether held within or outside Australia, will normally be assessed at their market value. Any debt owed against the asset will normally be deducted from the calculation.

Do you have question regarding the Age Pension or other Centrelink benefits?

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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


Total Comments: 2
  1. 0

    I can hardly believe this. This person wants to come to Australia and claim an AUSTRALIAN pension whilst retaining NZ assets! WOW!

  2. 0

    How do they expect a Australian pension being non citizens? I had to get rid of all my assets overseas to qualify here and I have been here since 1970.



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