Assets

Property or items you or your partner own in full or part, or have an interest in are assets. They can affect your payment.

Asset types we assess

We look at the type and value of any assets you own in and outside of Australia.

The value of your assets is what you’d get if you sold them at market value. We’ll deduct any debt you owe that your asset is security for, from its market value.

Example

Mary has a Toyota Yaris with a market value of $20,000 and a loan on it of $8,000. We would assess it at $12,000.

Real estate

We include most real estate you own in your assets test.

The only real estate asset we don’t include is your principal home and the first 2 hectares of the land it’s on.

We include real estate you:

  • rent out
  • leave vacant for any amount of time
  • let someone else live in for free
  • live in when you’re not at your principal home.

Example

John has an investment property with a market value of $300,000 and a mortgage secured against it of $100,000. We would assess the value of John’s property as $200,000.

Granny flat rules

We may assess you under the granny flat rules. We’ll do this if you transfer assets or money to live in a property that someone else owns.

Retirement village contributions

We need to know how much you pay as your entry contribution to live in a retirement village. We use this amount to work out both:

  • whether we class you as a homeowner
  • if we’ll include it in your assets test.

Read about how retirement villages form part of your real estate assets.

Life interests

We may assess an asset if you either:

  • have a life interest in the asset
  • receive an income during your lifetime from an asset you don’t legally own.

Read about how life interests form part of your real estate assets.

Read what a life interest in an asset is on the Department of Social Services website.

Financial investments

We use the value of your financial investments to calculate your payment rate. We assess your financial investments under both the assets and income tests.

Superannuation investments

If you're under Age Pension age, your superannuation investments don't count in the income and assets tests. This is the same for your partner if they're under Age Pension age. Once you reach Age Pension age your superannuation investments will count in the income and assets tests. This is whether you get Age Pension or another payment.

Income streams

An income stream is a regular series of payments either:

  • made straight from accumulated superannuation contributions
  • purchased using superannuation or other money.

Business assets

If you’re involved in a business as a partner or sole trader, some assets will count as yours. We'll work out what income and assets relate to you.

If you’re a controller of a private trust or private company, some assets and income will count as yours. We base how much on your level of control. We'll assess the assets and income generated by the private trust or private company to work out how much.

If you’re a controller, we don’t assess the capital injection made into a private trust or private company.

Funeral investments

Some funeral investments may be partially or fully exempt from the assets test.

Read about funeral bonds and prepaid funerals.

Assets given away

You or your partner can give away money, assets or income at any time. If it’s more than the allowable gifting amount, it'll affect your payment.

Read about gifting.

Special Disability Trust

If you’re a beneficiary or have donated to a Special Disability Trust, we need to know to apply any concessions.

Read about Special Disability Trusts.

Other assets

We also assess the market value of the following:

  • motor vehicles
  • boats
  • caravans
  • licenses, such as fishing or taxi
  • the surrender value of life insurance policies
  • trading, hobby or investment collections
  • cryptocurrencies
  • household contents
  • personal items, such as computers and jewellery.

Asset types we don’t assess

There are some assets we don't assess. We call these exempt assets.

Property assets

Property that is exempt assets include:

  • your principal home and surrounding land up to 2 hectares on the same title
  • some properties larger than 2 hectares on the same title - read more about rural customers and primary producers
  • your principal home, if you vacate it for up to 12 months or 2 years if entering a care situation
  • granny flat rights where you pay more than the extra allowable amount
  • any property or money left to you in an estate, which you can’t get for up to 12 months
  • accommodation bonds paid on entry to a residential aged care facility.

If you enter an aged care facility, we may consider your former principal home to be an exempt asset indefinitely. We may consider it exempt if all of the following apply:

  • you entered the facility before 1 January 2017
  • you're renting out your former home
  • you're paying or are liable for an accommodation charge.

Your principal home sale proceeds that you’ll use to buy another home within 12 months is also an exempt asset. We deem the exempted amount and include it in the income test.

Other assets

These assets are also exempt:

  • Australian superannuation investments that aren’t currently paying a pension – this exemption applies until you reach Age Pension age
  • some income streams depending on when you purchased them
  • a cemetery plot and a prepaid funeral, or up to 2 funeral bonds, that cost less than the allowable limit
  • aids for people with disability
  • money from the National Disability Insurance Scheme for people with disability
  • a Special Disability Trust, if it meets certain requirements.

We won’t assess any interest you have in the following items:

  • life interest
  • reversionary interest
  • remainder interest
  • contingent interest.

This applies as long as you or your partner didn’t create them.

We also may not assess most compensation or insurance payments for loss or damage to buildings or personal items.

Assets test limits

Most pensions and allowances have asset limits. We use these limits to work out if your assets will affect your payment rate.

We calculate the payment rate under both the income and assets tests. The test that results in the lowest rate, or nil rate, will apply.

Your limits are higher for pensions if you get Rent Assistance with your pension.

We update assets test limits in January, March, July and September each year.

Payment allowances and Parenting Payment

From 20 March 2020, your payments cancel if your assets are more than the limit for your situation.

Your situation Homeowner Non-homeowner

Single

$263,250

$473,750

A couple, combined

$394,500

$605,000

A couple, 1 partner eligible, combined

$394,500

$605,000

Full pension

From 20 March 2020, pensions reduce when your assets are more the limit for your situation.

Your situation Homeowner Non-homeowner

Single

$263,250

$473,750

A couple, combined

$394,500

$605,000

A couple, separated due to illness, combined

$394,500

$605,000

A couple, 1 partner eligible, combined

$394,500

$605,000

Part pensions

From 20 March 2020, part pensions cancel when your assets are more than the limit for your situation. Your limits are higher if you get Rent Assistance with your pension.

Your situation Homeowner Non-homeowner

Single

$578,250

$788,750

A couple, combined

$869,500

$1,080,000

A couple, separated due to illness, combined

$1,024,500

$1,235,000

A couple, 1 partner eligible, combined

$869,500

$1,080,000

Transitional rate pensions

From 20 March 2020, transitional rate pensions cancel when your assets are more than the limit for your situation. Your limits are higher if you get Rent Assistance with your pension.

Your situation Homeowner Non-homeowner

Single

$526,500

$737,000

A couple, combined

$819,500

$1,030,000

A couple, separated due to illness, combined

$921,000

$1,131,500

A couple, 1 partner eligible, combined

$819,500

$1,030,000

Disability Support Pension under 21 with no children

From 20 March 2020, Disability Support Pension cancels when your assets are more the limit for your situation. Your limits are higher if you get Rent Assistance with your pension.

Your Situation Homeowner Non-homeowner

16 to 17 years, single dependent

$395,750

$606,250

18 to 20 years, single dependent

$413,250

$623,750

16 to 20 years, single independent

$466,500

$677,000

16 to 20 years, couple combined

$799,000

$1,009,500

Other help

If you can't get a payment, or get less because of the assets test, you may get help from either:

Page last updated: 20 March 2020