Getting your fair slice of the Centrelink pie
WHEN assessing entitlement for benefits, Centrelink uses the assets and income tests. But for some payments another test is used, based on the disposable cash an individual or a couple has.
WHEN assessing entitlement for benefits, Centrelink uses the assets and income tests. But for some payments another test is used, based on the disposable cash an individual or a couple has.QI am 66 and my husband is 64. My husband finished an overseas contract in December and is unemployed. Our assets are our home, SMSF shares of $344,000, car at cost $25,500, furniture at cost $30,000, totalling $399,500. Our liquid assets are now below $3000, with the dividends receivable by the SMSF for the next 12 months estimated at $14,463.This dividend value has been taken up by Centrelink as our combined annual income. My husband has been told to apply for Newstart and after four interviews he has been told we have too many assets. I have been granted a part pension of $403.33 a fortnight plus $44 supplement. Have we been assessed correctly?AIt would appear you have not been assessed correctly. When it comes to Newstart, in addition to the assets and income test, when the payment is received will depend on the value of your liquid assets. Liquid assets are cash, amounts in bank accounts, and also include: Shares and debentures. Term deposits. Ten-year insurance bonds. Amounts deposited or lent to banks or other financial institutions, whether or not the amount can be withdrawn or repaid immediately. Amounts borrowed from the bank for a specific purpose such as international travel that may not have been used for another purpose. Gifts to a son or daughter in some circumstances. Loans to other people. Any money in trust funds, bank accounts, including mortgage offset accounts, but not balances of mortgage redraw accounts. Redundancies or eligible termination payments that are not rolled over or cannot be rolled over.If a person's liquid assets exceed $3000, and a couple's $6000, a waiting period of one to 13 weeks can be imposed. It would appear your only liquid asset is $3000. The shares in your self-managed super fund should not be counted as a liquid asset.The total value of your superannuation fund, because you are of age pension age, is, however, counted as an asset and also affects the amount counted as income. This is because when a super fund is still in accumulation stage a deeming rate is applied to it.You should think about starting a pension at the lowest rate. When the purchase price of the pension is deducted, the amount counted as income should be less than is counted under the deeming rules.QMy wife receives a disability pension and I get a carer payment. A term deposit has just matured and I have put it into super. Will this change my assets by deducting the contribution into super from my assets and therefore increasing our pensions? We have not reached pension age.AAs you are both under pension age and not receiving a pension from the super fund, the amount in super should not be classed as an asset by Centrelink and your benefits should increase.Questions can be emailed to email@example.com