Age Pension: Assets test thresholds from 20 September 2014

The UPPER asset thresholds for the Age Pension assets test increased again on 20 September 2014, which means more Australians may now be eligible for a PART Age Pension.

A single person can own more than $770,000 in assets (excluding his or her home), and still receive a small PART Age Pension, while a couple can own more than $1.14 million in assets (excluding the couple’s home) and still receive a small PART Age Pension. Tables outlining the assets test thresholds are set out later in the article.

Background: An eligible individual must satisfy the Age Pension income test, and the Age Pension assets test to receive a FULL, or PART, Age Pension. The amount of Age Pension will be based on the test that delivers the lowest amount of Age Pension entitlement. If an individual fails one of the tests, then he or she will not be eligible for the Age Pension.

The assets test threshold for FULL Age Pension entitlements is adjusted only once a year, and I call this the LOWER threshold. The LOWER threshold, that is, the asset limit that entitles an individual to a FULL Age Pension, is normally adjusted in line with the Consumer Price Index (measures inflation) on 1 July of each year. For a FULL Age Pension, from 1 July 2014, a single person can own no more than $202,000 in assets (excluding his or her home), while a couple can own no more than $286,500 in assets (excluding home).

The additional adjustments to the assets test thresholds in March and September affect Australians seeking a PART Age Pension. The assets test UPPER threshold is adjusted on 1 July of each year, and also adjusted in March and September of each year. The UPPER threshold is the limit that determines an individual’s eligibility for a PART Age Pension.

In summary, due to the six-monthly changes in the Age Pension rate, the UPPER threshold of the Age Pension assets test is adjusted 3 times a year – in March, July and September.

Note: The actual rate of Age Pension is adjusted twice a year, in March and September. Currently, the Age Pension is adjusted in line with the highest of the Consumer Price Index, Male Average Weekly Total Earnings (MWATE) or Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index increases. The Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index is designed to index base pension rates when the living cost index is higher than the Consumer Price Index (inflation). (If you are looking for the latest Age Pension rates, you will find these rates in the SuperGuide article: Age Pension: September 2014 rates now available.

What are the assets test thresholds?

This article includes a series of 3 tables (for each timeframe) setting out the assets test thresholds for the following timeframes:

  • From 20 September 2014 onwards (current thresholds)
  • From 1 July 2014 until 19 September 2014

The first 3 tables of the article are the most relevant since the tables apply to the period from 20 September 2014 onwards. We include the earlier thresholds, applicable for the earlier period, for your reference.

Assets test thresholds (effective from 20 September 2014)

Note: For assets test thresholds applicable before 20 September 2014, see later in the article.

This section lists the assets test thresholds for entitlement to:

  • FULL Age Pension
  • PART Age Pension
  • Transitional Rate PART Age Pension

The Age Pension assets test threshold for the FULL Age Pension (effective from 1 July 2014 and updated again on 1 July 2015) is set out in the table below.

Age Pension assets test – for FULL Age Pension (effective from 1 July 2014 until 30 June 2015)

Situation Home-owner Not Home-owner
Single $202,000 $348,500
Couple (combined) $286,500 $433,000
Couple (separated due to illness) $286,500 $433,000
One partner eligible (combined) $286,500 $433,000

Source: DHS (Centrelink) for assets test thresholds for FULL Age Pension entitlement. The assets test thresholds for FULL Age Pension is adjusted annually on 1 July.

The Age Pension assets test UPPER threshold for PART Age Pension eligibility (effective from 20 September 2014 and updated again on 19 March 2015) is set out in the table below.

Age Pension assets test (UPPER limit) – PART Age Pension (effective from 20 September 2014 until 19 March 2015)

Situation Home-owner Not Home-owner
Single $771,750 $918,250
Couple (combined) $1,145,500 $1,292,000
Couple (separated due to illness) $1,426,000 $1,572,500
One partner eligible (combined) $1,145,500 $1,292,000

Source: DSS media release and DHS (Centrelink). The assets test thresholds for PART Age Pension is adjusted annually on 1 July, and six monthly: on 20 March, and 20 September.

The Age Pension assets test upper threshold for Transitional Rate PART Age Pension eligibility (effective from 20 September 2014 and updated again on 20 March 2015) is set out in the table below.

Age Pension assets test (UPPER limit) –Transitional Rate PART Age Pension (resident) (effective from 20 September 2014 until 19 March 2015)

Situation Home-owner Not Home-owner
Single $682,750 $829,250
Couple (combined) $1,062,000 $1,208,500
Couple (separated due to illness) $1,248,000 $1,394,500
One partner eligible (combined) $1,062,000 $1,208,500

Source: DHS (Centrelink). The assets test thresholds for Transitional Rate PART Age Pension is adjusted annually on 1 July, and six monthly: on 20 March, and 20 September. If you’re a non-resident eligible for a transitional rate Age Pension, then your assets test thresholds are slightly different: see Centrelink website for relevant assets test thresholds.

For assets test thresholds in place before September 2014, see additional tables later in this article. You can find more information about the Age Pension rules by reading the following SuperGuide articles:

Assets test thresholds (effective from 1 July 2014 until 19 September 2014)

This section lists the assets test thresholds for entitlement to:

  • FULL Age Pension
  • PART Age Pension
  • Transitional Rate PART Age Pension

The Age Pension assets test threshold for the FULL Age Pension (effective from 1 July 2014 and updated again on 1 July 2015) is set out in the table below.

Age Pension assets test – for FULL Age Pension (effective from 1 July 2014 until 30 June 2015)

Situation Home-owner Not Home-owner
Single $202,000 $348,500
Couple (combined) $286,500 $433,000
Couple (separated due to illness) $286,500 $433,000
One partner eligible (combined) $286,500 $433,000

Source: DHS (Centrelink) for assets test thresholds for FULL Age Pension entitlement. The assets test thresholds for FULL Age Pension is adjusted annually on 1 July.

The Age Pension assets test UPPER threshold for PART Age Pension eligibility (effective from 1 July 2014 and updated again on 20 September 2014) is set out in the table below.

Age Pension assets test (UPPER limit) – PART Age Pension (effective from 1 July 2014 until 19 September 2014)

Situation Home-owner Not Home-owner
Single $764,000 $910,500
Couple (combined) $1,134,000 $1,280,500
Couple (separated due to illness) $1,410,500 $1,557,000
One partner eligible (combined) $1,134,000 $1,280,500

Source: DHS (Centrelink). The assets test thresholds for PART Age Pension is adjusted annually on 1 July, and six monthly: on 20 March, and 20 September.

The Age Pension assets test upper threshold for Transitional Rate PART Age Pension eligibility (effective from 1 July 2014 and updated again on 20 September 2014) is set out in the table below.

Age Pension assets test (UPPER limit) –Transitional Rate PART Age Pension (effective from 1 July 2014 until 19 September 2014)

Situation Home-owner Not Home-owner
Single $678,000 $824,500
Couple (combined) $1,054,000 $1,200,500
Couple (separated due to illness) $1,238,500 $1,385,000
One partner eligible (combined) $1,054,000 $1,200,500

Source: DHS (Centrelink). The assets test thresholds for Transitional Rate PART Age Pension is adjusted annually on 1 July, and six monthly: on 20 March, and 20 September. If you’re a non-resident eligible for a transitional rate Age Pension, then your assets test thresholds are slightly different: see Centrelink website for relevant assets test thresholds.

© Copyright Trish Power 2009-2014

Copyright for this article belongs to Trish Power, and cannot be reproduced without express and specific consent.

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Comments

  1. Hello,
    First time I used this format.
    I am 71 year old male, still working 3day week.
    I have about $30,000 in Long service and Annual leave accrued.
    I am thinking about retiring. My question is:
    From a Centrelink/pension perspective: Should I use my long service/annual while employed or take it as termination payment? Could you pls advise
    Regards
    Carl

  2. Thanks for the info on new asset limits from 1 July 2012.
    Centrelin still has not updated its website!!

  3. Elaine Bartlett says:

    Hello – I am enquiring for my brother who has Wegners disease and has not been able to work for the past 10 years. He is 66 y/o. His wife ( 61) works as a teachers aide 3 days a week. He is getting a small part pension – ($38 ). Is this really all he can expect? He has super – owns his own home. Does the super count towards his pension? Thank you.

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