Moving in with family

Joyce is considering moving in with her daughter, but how will this affect her Age Pension?

Moving in with family

Joyce is considering moving in with her daughter, but how will this affect her Age Pension, rent assistance and her daughter’s Carer Payment? 

Q. Joyce

I am hoping you can give me some guidance. I would like to sell my one-bedroom unit, which probably would net me about $180,000 after commission and paying the agent fees. I then plan to move in with my daughter, her husband and their 12-year-old son who has autism. I am 66 years old and receive the full Age Pension but do not receive any rent allowance as I own my unit. I would probably put the money received from the sale in the bank. 

My son-in-law is a factory worker on the basic wage and my daughter receives a pension for taking care of my grandson, as he needs care 24 hours a day. They are renting a two-bedroom unit where they are living at present. 

My question is, if we all move in together, how would this effect my pension and my daughter’s carers pension if we share a unit or house? 

I am having difficulty speaking to someone at Centrelink who can understand what I’m asking and give me the correct advice. 

The information below is only general and you will have to speak to Centrelink in regards to your individual circumstances. 

Any money you receive from the sale of your home and place in the bank or invest, will be considered an asset, and therefore deemed to earn an income. Currently, a single, non-homeowner can have $348,500 in assets, or earn an income of $160 per fortnight before your Age Pension is affected. 

If you rent a home with your daughter, you may be able to claim rent allowance. For your own peace of mind regarding your legal standing, you should be named on the tenancy agreement along with your daughter and son-in-law. If you are not, then you may be required to have the person you pay rent to sign your Rent Certificate. It is important that you do not pay your share of the rent to your daughter or son-in-law, as she may have to prove this is not income that could affect her Carer Payment. Centrelink will review your eligibility for rent assistance only once you advise of a change in circumstances. To view the current rent assistance rates, click here.

As your daughter’s circumstances won’t necessarily change, then she should still be in a position to claim the Carer Payment; however, you will need to have this clarified by Centrelink.


    To make a comment, please register or login
    12th May 2015
    Anyone having a query regarding Centrelink and don't seem to get anywhere with the shop front or online, then write to [email protected] or [email protected] You will get a reply either from Hank himself or the person he has delegated to answer your query. I have written to Hank on a few occasions and have had positive replies every time. Hank is what you may call the 'boss cocky' at Centrelink. He gives these email addresses out freely when talking and answering questions on Radio 2GB or 2UE so it is no secret address but one that gives the correct replies or he refers you to someone within your local Centrelink so that they can help you.
    12th May 2015
    One may earn up to $250.00 per fortnight, not $160 before it affects your pension income.
    Nan Norma
    12th May 2015
    mez I think thats for a couple, not a single person.
    12th May 2015
    When my husband retired 2 years ago we joined 'Age Pension Solutions' and they have been brilliant with their advice, answering even the what may seem a 'stupid/obvious' question to others. We have not had to speak with Centrelink or set foot in their offices, this is all done for us including handling any paperwork that may be required, they have given us ideas and tips on how to handle various situations should they arise - may try contacting them for help
    12th May 2015
    There are a number of things to consider - besides the pension. It would be a good idea to get advice from a number of sources before making such an important decision. You could contact COTA (Council On The Ageing) for information and advice. You could also make an appointment to see a CentreLink Financial Advisor.

    If you rent or buy another place, make sure you are on the rental agreement or Title.

    You should also "play Devil's Advocate" i.e. think of all possible scenarios and what each of those could cause e.g. what if your daughter's family circumstances change? Would you be able to keep up the rent or mortgage payments? What will happen in the future if you find your "nest egg" is dwindling? What will you do if your daughter gets work or you become the fulltime babysitter or carer? What will you do if the arrangement does not work out? Draw up a list of "positives" and "negatives".

    Absolutely insist on a WRITTEN AGREEMENT signed by all parties - detailing such things as financial responsibilities, individual duties, shopping, maintenance costs, cleaning, visitors, holidays, transport, noise, pets, privacy etc etc. make it very clear who is responsible for what. It may sound petty, but these things can cause problems later when memories are fuzzy. If you have a written agreement (preferably drawn up or checked by a solicitor) it will help prevent possible problems in the future.

    I would suggest that you have a trial period of a few months living together before you burn your bridges.
    Nan Norma
    12th May 2015
    I'm sorry to say I have yet to hear of moving in with children ever working. The best one yet was a pensioner that had her own cottage on the property, in her own name. She was very happy until her daughter left her husband and she had to leave. She got her money back but it wasn't enough to buy anything else. I'm but you really have to be very careful. Will your daughter be able to care for you in the future, as well as your grandson.
    16th May 2015
    I agree with you Nan Norma - I haven't yet heard of a truly happy outcome (for all concerned) in such arrangements. I personally will fight for my independence to the end. I would prefer to pay for any necessary services - rather than expect or hope that a family arrangement will continue to be suitable and agreeable
    Nan Norma
    16th May 2015
    Another lady moved into her own granny flat to let her daughter and family live in her house, on the condition daughter would provide her with transpost. Yes, you guest it, it didn't take long before daughter was always too busy. I hear stories like that all the time.
    28th Jul 2015
    It sounds like a really complicated situation to me. I'm sorry that I don’t have much useful information to contribute, but I really would suggest talking to someone from Centrelink. Spoke to someone in Sydney before and they were pretty helpful even if they couldn't get me an answer straight away. Just make sure that everything is set in black and white and settled before you sell and call the removalists in! Good luck!
    Barbara Mathieson
    6th Jun 2017
    A two bedroom unit is probably not very suitable for everyone I am thinking. Do consider this move beforehand very carefully. How long have you been living by yourself Joyce? I personally speaking , " wouldn't rush into it".

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