When assessing eligibility for the aged pension applicants are given an income test and an assets test – the test that produces the least amount of pension is the one used.
Some assets are exempt – these include the family home, assets in superannuation under pension age, funeral bonds up to $12,250 for a single bond, an accommodation bond paid to an aged care facility, and gifts within the allowable limits.
Home contents, cars and boats are valued at market value – not replacement value.
The assets test has different thresholds for homeowners and non-homeowners.
At 1 January 2017 a single pensioner could earn $164 a fortnight and still be eligible for the full single pension of $888.30 a fortnight, including all supplements. They can also earn $125 a week from personal exertion – this is not included in the income test. Once income exceeds $164 a fortnight the pension reduces by $0.50 for every additional dollar earned.
At 20 March 2017 a pensioner couple could earn $292 a fortnight (combined) and still be eligible for the full pension of $1339.20 a fortnight, including all supplements. They can also earn $125 a week each from personal exertion – this is not included in the income test. Once income exceeds $292 a fortnight the pension reduces by $0.50 for every additional dollar earned.
At 1 January 2017 a single homeowner could have up to $546,250 of assessable assets and receive a part pension – for a single non-homeowner the lower threshold is $746,250. For a couple the lower threshold to $821,500 for a homeowner and $1,021,500 for a non-homeowner. Once assessable assets exceed the lower threshold the pension reduces by $3 fortnight for each $1000 by which assessable assets exceed the lower threshold.
Please note: Calculated answers include all supplements and if calculated for a couple is the joint pension. It is also assumed that both parties are of pensionable age.