The Meeting Place

Assets assessment when your home becomes uninhabitable

My Dad (97; living independently) inherited his parents owner-built shack, on the condition that he pass the property onto their grandchildren, when he dies. He has been living there, but now it is uninhabitable & irreparable. It has been deemed dangerous & needs to be torn down ASAP. The land is worth so much that it will now be an asset & he will loose his pension.

Has anyone else had any experience with this kind of situation with Centrelink?

He has no other sale-able assets, income or $$ apart from the pension. 2 of the 6 people who will inherit (including myself) have been counting on our share of the property to finally pay off debts we have (from medical costs, being renters, unable to work for a long time & our only income is the DSP). So he doesn’t want any of his or his brothers’ children to lose their inheritance,

I have contacted Welfare Rights & a friend who works for Cl but they know nothing. But I did find this reference below, to the situation my dad is in.

Unfortunately there are no other details, so I don’t know if & how it will effect how they assess him. Has hasn’t told them he’s moved from his former ‘home’ as he doesn’t want to take the risk of losing his pension & the inheritance.


Where is he living now and how much is the old property worth?

Nosy, some people want to know everything, why so?

There are many clever people in this forum as well as some well meaning people with no idea and you have to sort out which is which. The link provided has a section where it refers to a home becoming uninhabitable so my suggestion is to approach Centrelink as they will be making the ultimate decision.  

Reading the limited information given, it seems the inheritance value expectations of the beneficiaries of the property is worth more than the comfort of the 97 year old owner in his last years! I find that incredibly sad. 

Centrelink is the best place to get information. They do have social workers who can help you with your concerns. Have  you had an independent valuer   in to assess how much the land is worth?


Thanks , everbody for your suggestions, even if some of them have obviously not bothered to read the whole message or have tried to create a negative mis- interpretation of the situation.

The asset value of the land the shack is on is over the allowable limit for the pension. Ironically, he wouldnt loose the pension if he went into residential care (the care home would get the $$). But he doesnt need or want residential care.

I have had much personal and professional experience with Centrelink. They will tell you nothing ; not just because they hope to catch you out. They continue to be understaffed & 'general enquiry' staff are under-trained. All they know is the same information available to the public online. Like I said, I jave a friend who works there but couldnt access any information about this situation. the only hope my dad has is the document I included. 

Each branch manager (and those higher up) do have a fair bit of discretion when it comes to situations that are not covered directly by thye Social Security act.

And unfortuantely CL thouroughly vet you before allowing you to speak to a social worker;  I requested to see one for personal issues affewcting my DSP & they wouldnt even consider it untill i had explained all the private details to the reception person, in front of everyone else in the queue.

I was just hoping there might be someone who has been in a similar situation to him, as a precendent can be used to influence the discretionary powers or in an appeal.

elfinawe in relation to your attempts to see a Social Worker at Centrelink. The consultant staff do not have the authority to tell you whether or not you qualify to see a Social Worker. They should not be questioning you about why you want to see a SW that is invading your privacy. You only need to ask to see a SW and an appointment will be made. Sometimes you can see a SW straight away, it depends on the workload. If you are again refused I suggest you call the Complaints Line, the number is on the Centrelink website, they are very efficient at rectifying any issues that arise for you. As a Social Worker I have referred many clients and in all cases they were able to access a SW immediately.  Good luck.

Thanks, Janma, Im glad that my experience may not be the usual in this situation. Im guessing it was just another case of bad training. I was planning to be much more insistant with my dad, to see a Social Worker before declaring the situation. Which it seems we will have to do quite soon, as he he will be recieving an insurance payout for the damaged property, & we will need to declare these details. 

Not being nosy Polly Esther, just wanting to give the most accurate information, so pull your head in please.

Where a person temporarily leaves their principal home, the home continues to be considered their principal home for the initial 12 months.  Therefore the home is exempt from the asset test and the person is assessed under the homeowner allowable assets limit.  This exemption applies even if the person indicates that their absence may be more than the 12 month period.

Can be 2 years if the person leaves there Principal Home due to illness.

This is covered by the Social Security Act, no need for discretion.


Thanks for the info.

Maybe the home becoming uninhabitable might not need to be considered, in this case.

Surely it would depend on who declared the property uninhabitable and who (if anyone) 'they' had to inform.