Most types of income count in your income test. We use this and the assets test to work out if you can get a payment and calculate rates.
There are changes to claims and your obligations due to coronavirus (COVID-19). This includes changes to waiting periods, the income test, what you need to give us, and your obligations. We’ve suspended participation requirements for Disability Support Pension. We’ve also paused a range of Centrelink debt raising and recovery activities.
- an amount you earn, derive or receive for your own use or benefit
- some regular payments you get as a gift or allowance.
It can be in the form of:
- goods, services or other benefits in return for an item, action or promise.
We use the gross amount in the income test. This is the amount before tax or any other deductions.
The income test includes income from anywhere in the world, not just Australia. This includes pensions from other countries. Read about overseas income.
This is the amount we count in your income test. This also includes your partner's income.
Assessable income includes the gross employment income you earn from work. This can be:
- penalty rates and overtime
- fringe benefits
- amounts you salary sacrifice into super.
Assessable income can also be:
- real estate income from things like rental properties or boarders and lodgers
- deemed income from financial investments
- deemed income from money in superannuation funds if you’ve reached Age Pension age
- income from a sole trader or partnership business
- income from a farm
- distributions or dividends from a private trust or private company
- reportable superannuation contributions
- some lump sums
- some types of income specific to Indigenous Australians
- Paid Parental Leave payments.
Deeming is the method we use to work out the income from your financial assets. We include this deemed income in your income test.
Read more about deeming.
Details we need from you
Normally we ask for your gross income.
If you own a business or rental property we’ll also ask for one or both of the following:
- income tax return
- profit and loss statement.
- report your income
- update details of your savings, shares, managed investments, income streams, real estate and other assets
- report any gifts you get
This is income we don’t include in your income test.
Exempt income can be:
- rent assistance from government
- most payments from us - these may still count in the Family Tax Benefit income test
- compensation for loss or damage to things you own
- child support - this may still affect your Family Tax Benefit Part A
- any free board and lodging you get
- regular payments from a close relative
- emergency relief or similar assistance
- payments as a victim of National Socialist persecution
- First Home Saver Account withdrawals or interest
- repayment for expenses
- some allowances if you spend the whole amount on what it’s meant for, for example, work travel
- payments through a National Disability Insurance Scheme package
- some lump sums.
We don't count up to $8,355 per year from an equity or merit based scholarship in your income test.
This is any scholarship you get:
- so you can study or do research
- for achievement in study or research.
This covers most education scholarships.
Any amount over $8,355 per year counts as income and may affect your payment rate.
If you get more than one scholarship, the $8,355 applies to the total amount you get, not to each one.
The exempt amount is indexed each year.
Deeming rules are used to work out income from your financial assets. We add this to your other income and apply the income test to work out your payment rate.
If you’re part of a private trust or private company, we need to know your share of the income and assets.
This is lease or rent money you get from a property you own. It counts in your income test.
A lump sum is a one off amount of money. Lump sums can count in your income test. If so, they may affect your payment from us.
If you or your partner earn or someone gives you money from any source, you need to let us know.
Page last updated: 2 April 2020