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 $15,000 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.
From 20 September 2023 a single pensioner can earn $204 a fortnight and still be eligible for the full single pension of $1096.70 a fortnight, including all supplements. They can also earn $460 a fortnight from personal exertion – this is not included in the income test. Once income exceeds $204 a fortnight, the pension reduces by $0.50 for every additional dollar earned.
From 20 September 2023 a pensioner couple can earn $360 a fortnight combined and still be eligible for the full pension of $1653.40 a fortnight, including all supplements. They can also earn $460 a fortnight each from personal exertion – this is not included in the income test. Once income exceeds $360 a fortnight, the pension reduces by $0.50 for every additional dollar earned.
From 20 September 2023 the full pension is available, under the assets test, for homeowner singles whose assessable assets are under $301,750 – for homeowner couples the number is $451,500. The numbers for non-homeowners are $543,750 and $693,500 respectively.
Once assessable assets exceed the lower threshold, the pension reduces by $3 fortnight for each $1000 by which assessable assets exceed the lower threshold.
A single homeowner can have up to $667,500 of assessable assets and receive a part pension – for a single non-homeowner the higher threshold is $909,500. For a couple, the higher threshold to $1,003,000 for a homeowner and $1,245,000 for a non-homeowner.
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.