Age Pension Assessable Assets
Your Age Pension entitlement is reduced if your Age Pension Assessable Assets exceed the Asset Test Allowance.
At Centrelink, Age Pension Assessable Assets include all that you clearly own together with items that you own indirectly.
The Age Pension Assets Test is changing from January 2017.
Seniors losing Age Pension entitlement as a result of the Asset Test changes are issued with Health cards. These Health Cards will not be means tested.
Thus lifelong Health Cards is the reward for starting an Age Pension in 2016 but losing it under the January 2017 Asset Test change.
Read more about the January 2017 Asset Test Changes and the cut-off levels for an ongoing Age Pension.
Christine at Financial Care Services is familiar with the Age Pension Asset and Income tests.
Contact Financial Care Services for help with checking your situation against the Age Pension means tests.
Financial Care Services offers Short Consultations for ‘personal financial factual information’ These Short Consultations are to assess your asset and income position against the Age Pension means tests.
Age Pension Assessable Assets includes your personal items.
Age Pension Assessable Assets includes your personal items and household contents. Your personal and household items are counted at ‘garage sale’ values for Age Pension Assessable Assets purposes.
A single Pensioner living alone has a minimum of $3,000 of Age Pension Assessable Assets. A couple living together have at least $5,000 of Age Pension Assessable Assets.
A Pensioner who has entered residential aged care might have only $1,000 of Age Pension Assessable Assets once her former home has been cleared.
Age Pension Assessable Assets includes your motor vehicles and recreational items
You must include all of your motor vehicles in your Age Pension Assessable Assets. You must also include your motor bikes, boats, trailers and caravans in your Age Pension Assessable Assets. These vehicles and recreational items could be included at their resale values.
The equipment you use in your hobbies should be included in your Age Pension Assessable Assets. Many minor items of craft, woodworking and gardening equipment could be part of your household contents.
Age Pension Assessable Assets includes your financial assets
You must include all of your bank accounts and financial investments in your Age Pension Assessable Assets.
Financial investments held via separately managed accounts or managed funds or investment trusts still count as part of your Age Pension Assessable Assets.
You may deduct the outstanding amount of loans secured against your investment portfolio when calculating your Age Pension Assessable Assets. But you cannot deduct loans secured against your home.
Loans to family members are part of your financial investments. Also, money on deposit with charitable or church ‘development funds’ count as part of your Age Pension Assessable Assets.
Age Pension Assessable Assets includes your real estate investments
Your principal residence is excluded from your Age Pension Assessable Assets. But only the first two hectares of the land with the house on it can be exempt. If your home plot is greater than two hectares then the excess land counts for your Age Pension Assessable Assets.
Any land that you own under a different land Title from your principal residence counts for your Age Pension Assessable Assets. Thus your holiday house, hobby farm and your investment properties are included in your Age Pension Assessable Assets.
If your home and surrounding garden covers two blocks with individual Titles then the block without the house counts for your Age Pension Assessable Assets.
Land that you own to accommodate your business could be counted for your Age Pension Assessable Assets if your name is on the Title.
Remember that your Age Pension Assessable Assets includes only your share of any land that you own jointly with business partners. Land owned jointly with your domestic partner is included in your assets at Centrelink.
Also any property that you own outside of Australia must be included in your Age Pension Assessable Assets.
Age Pension Assessable Assets includes your business assets
If you are still active in business as a sole trader or involved in a family business then your business assets count as part of your Age Pension Assessable Assets.
If you operate a business then your share of the business assets count for your Age Pension Assessable Assets. Your business could be operated through a private company or trust structure.
Valuation of business assets for working Age Pension Assessable Assets could be difficult. Centrelink have special forms covering Private Companies and Trusts. But you still need to obtain valuations of the business assets such as trading stock and equipment.
Superannuation accounts included in Age Pension Assessable Assets
Age Pension Assessable Assets include Superannuation “income stream” and allocated pension account balances.
Once you attain your Age Pension Age, your all of your superannuation account balances are count for your Age Pension Assessable Assets. Thus, any superannuation accounts that are still in accumulation phase will be counted for your Age Pension Assessable Assets.
Special rules apply to lifetime and fixed term superannuation annuities. These annuities were purchased with superannuation benefits before October 2007.
Age Pension Assessable Assets not held in your name
Assets held in a family trust or another structure for your benefit, could be counted for your Age Pension Assessable Assets.
Long established family trusts and testamentary trusts providing ongoing benefits to a senior could be counted for the purposes of your calculating Age Pension Assessable Assets.
Substantial gifts are not deleted from your Age Pension Assessable Assets for five years. If you transferred the Title to the family holiday house into a family trust then the Centrelink Gifting rules would apply. The value of the property transferred, possibly less $10,000, would be counted in your Age Pension Assessable Assets for five years from the date of transfer.
Personal Help with DSP and Age Pension Asset and Income Test assessments
Help is available. Christine at Financial Care Services is experienced with Centrelink Pension Applications and the many Centrelink financial means tests.
Financial Care Services offers Short Consultations for ‘personal financial factual information’ to help you check your financial position against the means test for a Disability Support Pension or Age Pension.
If you think that you might be eligible for a part Pension in 2016 you can call Christine on 03 9808 0338 to arrange a Short Consultation, 45 minutes in person or by telephone and/or email to discuss your potential for a Pension in 2016.
The fee for a Short Consultation for ‘personal financial factual information’ is $99. Please ask for a special ‘short personal financial factual information consultation’ when you book your appointment.
Clients who are unable to attend the Financial Care Services office in Camberwell are welcome to Contact us via email to arrange for a Short personal financial factual information Consultation.
You can start the Short ‘personal financial factual information’ Consultation by emailing for the Financial Care Services Financial Services Guide and the Financial Care Services Age Pension Data form.
Financial Care Services your independent financial adviser
Financial Care Services is an independent financial adviser focused on the needs of seniors in transition. Our clients are considering the potential for accessing Age Pensions on retirement. Our advice is valuable when seniors are moving into retirement lifestyle village communities or residential aged care.
Christine could also assist you with collating your personal data, checking your income and asset values for a Pension and completing the Centrelink forms for you to sign. Normal hourly rate consultation fees apply for assistance with personal data collation, completing Centrelink forms and attendance at a Centrelink office with you.
If you would like further confidential, independent and professional advice about Commonwealth means testing, Centrelink, lifestyle or financial issues please contact Christine Hopper.
These Insights are a general over view based on our understanding of the Social Security and DVA Pension arrangements. Individual entitlements to Social Security and DVA benefits are determined based on your actual situation as documented to Centrelink or DVA.
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