How am I assessed?
How am I assessed?
Once you reach the qualifying age, your current wealth, that is your assets and your income, is measured to determine your eligibility. To receive a payment, you must meet both an assets and an income test. Both tests are applied to your circumstances, and the test that results in the lower payment will be used.
The assets test
To receive the Age Pension, the value of your assets must fall below a certain level. If the value of your assets is below the minimum level, you qualify for a full pension. If your assets are above the upper level, you will not receive a payment. If the value of your assets falls between these two levels, you will receive a part pension.
To prevent people from giving money away to their family, friends or charities for the sole purpose of increasing their Centrelink benefits, special gifting rules apply. Gifts include money and assets that are transferred to relatives, family or other trusts, and charities, as well as assets that are sold for less than their current market value.
Any amounts that you gift above these limits are treated as an assessable asset and included in the Assets Test. Income that would have been earned from the asset would also be assessed under the deeming rules. The gifting rules do not apply if you are selling an asset to meet normal expenses such as home improvement or a holiday.
The income test
Deeming rules apply to your financial investments. Rather than use the actual income you receive, Centrelink uses an assumed rate of income and applies this to your investments. Centrelink counts things like cash in your bank accounts, shares, term deposits, and superannuation savings that have not been used to start a retirement income stream (if over Age Pension age), as financial investments.
Special treatment of superannuation savings for Centrelink testing
To encourage you to save for your retirement, Centrelink treats your superannuation savings differently to your other financial assets. Until you reach Age Pension age, your superannuation savings are not counted when determining how much money you will receive from Centrelink, provided that you have not used your superannuation savings to start a retirement income stream.
An exemption may also be available to women who have reached Age Pension age, but are under age 65 and are still working in some capacity.
Once you reach Age Pension age, the full value of your superannuation savings is counted under the assets test. If you have not used your superannuation savings to start a retirement income stream, your superannuation savings are also deemed under the income test.
If you have used your superannuation savings to commence a retirement income stream, Centrelink uses a special calculation to work out how much of this income they will count under the income test. The calculation is based on your age and the value of your savings.
NB: As an extra service we provide, you can also search the Centrelink website from our site by typing keywords into the eWombat search facility in the right hand panel - quicker and easier than going to the Centrelink site itself.
For further information on each of these payments and whether you may be eligible, please call 03 9542 3200 or firstname.lastname@example.org