3.8.1.100 Ineligible Homeowners & RA

Summary

RA is generally not payable to an income support recipient who is a homeowner living in their own home. However, in some circumstances recipients who are treated as homeowners are able to receive RA.

This topic covers:

  • who is excluded from the general rule,
  • members of a couple,
  • income support recipients residing in special residences,
  • people who live in a caravan or manufactured home
  • rent to buy schemes, and
  • temporary absences from the principal home.

Act reference: SSAct section 11(4) Homeowner

Who is excluded from the general rule?

These people are not classified as ineligible homeowners, and may be eligible for RA:

  • an income support recipient who has sold their former principal home within the last 12 months and is likely to use some or all of the proceeds of the sale (within 12 months of the sale) to acquire, build, repair or renovate another home that will become their new principal home,
  • an income support recipient who has sold their principal home within the last 12 to 24 months and has made reasonable attempts, within a reasonable period after selling the home, to acquire another residence, but has experienced delays beyond their control,
  • an income support recipient who is absent from their principal home and is providing a substantial level of care (1.1.C.15) for another person for at least 14 consecutive days, but for no longer than 2 years,
    • Note: If the person is still absent from their own home after the 2 year period, the home ceases to be exempt under the asset testing rules, i.e. it is no longer their principal home,
  • an income support recipient who is in a care situation (1.1.C.25) but not residing in a retirement village (1.1.R.270) or aged care residence, and
  • an income support recipient who pays for the use of a site or structure, including rights to moor a vessel, that is their principal home.
    • Example: A caravan, manufactured home or boat.

Act reference: SSAct section 13(1)-'ineligible homeowner', section 11A(1) Principal home, section 1118(2B) For the purposes of subsection (1B)…

Policy reference: SS Guide 4.6.3.20 Determining Homeowners & Non-homeowners, 4.6.3.80 Exempting the Principal Home - Sale Proceeds (from 01/07/2007)

Members of a couple (1.1.M.120)

If one member of a couple is an ineligible homeowner, both partners (1.1.P.85) will be ineligible homeowners and RA cannot be paid to either of them.

Exception: A member of a couple is not an ineligible homeowner if they have left the matrimonial home to receive or provide a substantial level of care for another person who needs, or is likely to need, that level of care for at least 14 consecutive days, but for no longer than 2 years. After 2 years if one partner is still living in the principal home, both partners are considered as homeowners and RA cannot be paid to either of them.

Act reference: SSAct section 13(9) A person is in a care situation if…

Policy reference: SS Guide 1.1.C.15 Care definitions, 3.8.1.90 Temporary Accommodation & RA, 4.6.3 Assessing the Principal Home, 4.6.4 Assessing Special Residences & Aged Accommodation, 5.1.8.30 Common Provisions Affecting Calculation of a Rate

Income support recipients in special residences

Special provisions exist for income support recipients who enter a retirement village, obtain granny flat rights or enter into a sale leaseback agreement.

Residents of a manufactured home park or lifestyle village are treated similarly to caravan owners, see below.

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.8.1.102 Special RA Rules for People in Accommodation for Older People (Life Interest Rules)

People who live in a caravan or manufactured home

Eligibility for RA for income support recipients who live in a caravan varies according to their individual circumstance.

An income support recipient who… And they… Then they are…
owns the caravan they reside in, own the land it stands on, ineligible homeowners and ineligible for RA.
owns the caravan they reside in, pay site fees for the land it stands on, not ineligible homeowners and may be eligible for RA.
rents, leases or hires a caravan, own the land it stands on, potentially ineligible homeowners and may not be eligible for RA, see explanation below.

Explanation: Income support recipients who rent, lease or hire a caravan but own the land it stands on may be entitled to RA provided they are not classified as ineligible homeowners. Determining whether or not the land owned by the person is included in the assessment of the principal home to determine their home ownership status, will depend on the particular circumstances of each case.

Act reference: SSAct section 13(1)-'ineligible homeowner', section 11(4) Homeowner, section 11A(1) Principal home, section 1070C Common requirements (about aged care residence, home ownership and rent)

Policy reference: SS Guide 4.6.3.20 Determining Homeowners & Non-homeowners

'Rent to buy' schemes

An income support recipient who is paying a regular amount for their home under a rent to buy scheme is not eligible to receive RA because they are an ineligible homeowner.

Temporary absences from the principal home

In general, when an income support recipient who is a homeowner temporarily leaves their principal home they continue to be treated as an ineligible homeowner during the period of the temporary absence. RA is generally not payable for temporary accommodation (1.1.T.50), except in special circumstances (3.8.1.90).

Last reviewed: 20 March 2017