4.10.3 Historical age & invalid (disability support) pension income & assets limits

Summary

This section contains one topic on the historical means, income and assets (1.1.A.290) limits for age and invalid (disability support) pension. Notes to the various tables are included immediately after the relevant table.

This section contains the following tables:

Table number Explanation
1 Means test - July 1909 to October 1958
2 Merged means test - March 1961 to May 1975
3 Income test - November 1976 to November 1983
4 Income & assets test - March 1985 to July 1996
5 Assets test - July 1997 to present date
6 Income test - July 1997 to present date

Act reference: SSAct section 8(1)-'income'

Table 1: Means test - July 1909 to October 1958

The table shows amounts in dollars. Income is shown in dollars per annum.

Date

Note A

Permissible income Limit of property Property exemption for children Income deduction Notes
01/07/1909 52 620 100 (50 each)   Note B
13/09/1923 65 800 100    
13/12/1941 65 800 100 (each)    
15/08/1946 104 1,300 100 (each)    
03/07/1947 104 1,300 100 (each) 52 Note C
21/10/1948 156 1,500 200 (each) 52  
01/11/1951 156 2,000 200 (each) 26 Note D
02/10/1952 156 2,000 200 (each) 52  
29/10/1953 208 2,500 300 (each) 52 Note E
14/10/1954 364 3,500 400 (each) 52 Note F
23/10/1958 364 4,500 400 (each) 52  

Notes for Table 1

Note Explanation
A The dates on which the new conditions applied.
B No pension was payable if income or property exceeded the limits.
C $52.00 was allowed as deduction from income for each dependent child (1.1.D.70) under 16 years in custody, care and control. The maximum deduction was reduced by any payment (eg. family allowance, child's allowance, State assistance) received in respect of the child.
D Deduction in respect of dependent children was reduced to $26.00 a year for each child in custody, care and control. The maximum deduction was reduced by any payment (other than family allowance), received for, or in respect of, any child in custody, care and control. Payment was also extended to cover student children to age 21 years.
E Permissible income increased to $260.00 if married, with a partner who was not an income support recipient or service pensioner.
F Income from property excluded from assessment.

Table 2: Merged means test - March 1961 to May 1975

The table shows amounts in dollars. Income is shown in dollars per annum.

Date
Note G
Means as assessed Property exemption for children (each) Income deduction Notes
Single Married
09/03/1961 364 364 400 52 Note H
13/10/1966 364 364 400 156  
24/04/1967 520 442 400 156  
09/10/1969 520 442 400 208 Note I
05/10/1972 1,040 897 400 312  
04/10/1973 1,040 897 400 312 Note J
01/05/1975 1,040 897 400 312 Note K

Notes for Table 2

Note Explanation
G The dates on which the new conditions applied.
H Merged means test was introduced. Maximum pension was reduced by the amount by which 'means as assessed' (income plus property component) exceeded $364.00. Fixed disqualifying limit of property abolished except to the extent that where there was more than one child, no pension was payable if the property component was equal to or exceeded the maximum rate of pension (excluding additional pension for children), plus $364.00.
I Tapered means test introduced. Maximum rate of pension reduced by half of the amount by which means as assessed exceeded permissible means as assessed.
J Removal of the means test on age pensions for residentially qualified persons aged 75 years or more.
K Removal of the means test on age pensions for residentially qualified persons aged 70 years or more.

Table 3: Income test - November 1976 to November 1983

The table shows amounts in dollars. Income is shown in dollars per annum.

Date
Note L
Permissible income Income deduction Notes
Single Married (each)
25/11/1976 1,040 897 312 Note M
09/11/1978 1,040 897 312 Note N
08/11/1979 1,040 897 312  
04/11/1982 1,560 1,300 312  
03/11/1983 1,560 1,300 312 Note O

Notes for Table 3

Note Explanation
L The dates on which the new conditions applied.
M Property test was abolished. The means test became an income test only with property excluded. However, income from property was included as income.
N Increase beyond the May 1978 rate of pensions to persons aged 70 years or more subject to the income test.
O Payment of the 'frozen' May 1978 rate of pension to age pension recipients aged 70 years or more was subject to a special income test.

Table 4: Income & assets test - March 1985 to July 1996

The table shows amounts in dollars. Income is shown in dollars per annum.

Date

Note P

Permissible income Allowable assets Income

Single

Married (each)

Single (homeowners)

Married (each)

Deduction & notes

21/03/1985 1,560 1,300 70,000 50,000

312

Note Q

01/05/1986 1,560 1,300 75,750 54,000

312

Note R

25/06/1987 1,560 1,300 83,250 59,250

312

Note S

09/07/1987 2,080 1,820 83,250 59,250

624

Note T

23/06/1988 2,080 1,820 89,250 63,500

624

Note U

22/06/1989 2,080 1,820 96,000 68,500

624

Note V

23/11/1989 2,080 1,820 96,000 68,500

624

Note W

26/04/1990 2,080 1,820 96,000 68,500 624
13/06/1990 2,080 1,820 103,500 73,750

624

Note X

01/07/1991 2,184 1,924 110,750 78,750

624

Note Y

01/07/1992 2,236 1,976 112,500 80,000 624
01/07/1993 2,288 1,976 112,750 80,250 624
01/07/1994 2,340 2,028 115,000 81,750

624

Note Z

01/07/1995 2,444 2,132 118,000 83,750

624

Note AA

01/07/1996 2,548 2,236 124,000 88,000

624

Note BB

Notes for Table 4

Note Explanation
P The dates on which the new conditions applied.
Q Assets test was introduced on 21 March 1985. The assets test only applies if it produces a lesser rate than the income test. Non-homeowners were allowed extra assets of $50,000. The allowable assets amounts did not increase if there were children in the recipient's care.
R As of 1 May 1986 indexation had the effect of varying the allowable assets limit between non-homeowners, i.e. $54,000 for single and $54,500 for married.
S From 25 June 1987 the allowable assets limits for non-homeowners became $60,000 more than the assets limit for homeowners.
T From 9 July 1987 the permissible income limits and the income deduction for dependent children were increased. From 20 September 2009, the higher income test threshold for pensioners with dependent children was abolished to align the pension income test with the allowance and family payments income tests. PPS recipients remain receiving their payment based on the 40 cent withdrawal rate and the additional free area for dependent children. In November 1987 the Earnings Credit Scheme was introduced and abolished from 20 March 1997.
U From 23 June 1988 the allowable assets limits for non-homeowners became $64,000 more than the assets limit for homeowners.
V From 22 June 1989 the allowable assets limits for non-homeowners became $68,500 more than the assets limit for homeowners.
W From 23 November 1989 the special income test applying to age pension recipients aged 70 years or more was fully absorbed.
X From 21 June 1990 the allowable assets limits for non-homeowners became $74,000 more than the assets limit for homeowners.
Y From 1 July 1991 the allowable assets limits for non-homeowners became $79,500 more than the assets limit for homeowners.
Z From 1 July 1992 the allowable assets limits for non-homeowners became $80,500 more than the assets limit for homeowners.
AA From 1 July 1995 the allowable assets limits for non-homeowners became $84,000 more than the assets limit for homeowners.
BB From 1 July 1996 the allowable assets limits for non-homeowners became $88,500 more than the assets limit for homeowners

Table 5: Assets test - July 1997 to present date

The table shows amounts in dollars per annum.

Date Homeowners Non-homeowners Notes
Single Couple Illness separated couple Single Couple Illness separated couple
01/07/1997 125,750 178,500 178,500 215,750 268,500 268,500  
01/07/1998 125,750 178,500 178,500 215,750 268,500 268,500  
01/07/1999 127,750 181,500 181,500 219,250 273,000 273,000  
01/07/2000 133,250 189,500 189,500 228,750 285,000 285,000  
01/07/2001 141,000 200,500 200,500 242,000 301,500 301,500  
01/07/2002 145,250 206,500 206,500 249,750 311,000 311,000  
01/07/2003 149,500 212,500 212,500 257,500 320,500 320,500  
01/07/2004 153,000 217,500 217,500 263,500 328,000 328,000  
01/07/2005 157,000 223,000 223,000 270,500 336,500 336,500  
01/07/2006 161,500 229,000 229,000 278,500 346,000 346,000  
01/07/2007 166,750 236,500 236,500 287,750 357,500 357,500  
01/07/2008 171,750 243,500 243,500 296,250 368,000 368,000  
01/07/2009 178,000 252,500 252,500 307,000 381,500 381,500  
01/07/2010 181,750 258,000 258,000 313,250 389,500 389,500  
01/07/2011 186,750 265,000 265,000 321,750 400,000 400,000  
01/07/2012 192,500 273,000 273,000 332,000 412,500 412,500  
01/07/2013 196,750 279,000 279,000 339,250 421,500 421,500  
01/07/2014 202,000 286,500 286,500 348,500 433,000 433,000  
01/07/2015 205,500 291,500 291,500 354,500 440,500 440,500  
01/07/2016 209,000 296,500 296,500 360,500 448,000 448,000  
01/01/2017 250,000 375,000 375,000 450,000 575,000 575,000 Note CC
01/07/2017 253,750 380,500 380,500 456,750 583,500 583,500  
01/07/2018 258,500 387,500 387,500 465,500 594,500 594,500  
01/07/2019 263,250 394,500 394,500 473,750 605,000 605,000  

Notes for Table 5

Note Explanation
CC From 1 January 2017, the assets test free areas increased under a one off adjustment as part of the measure to rebalance the assets test parameters. Regular indexation arrangements continued after this date.

Table 6: Income test - July 1997 to present date

The table shows amounts in dollars per annum.

Date Permissible income
Single Couple (each member)
01/07/1997 2,600 2,288
01/07/1998 2,600 2,288
01/07/1999 2,652 2,340
01/07/2000 2,756 2,444
01/07/2001 2,912 2,600
01/07/2002 3,016 2,652
01/07/2003 3,120 2,756
01/07/2004 3,172 2,808
01/07/2005 3,224 2,860
01/07/2006 3,328 2,964
01/07/2007 3,432 3,016
01/07/2008 3,588 3,120
01/07/2009 3,692 3,224
01/07/2010 3,796 3,328
01/07/2011 3,900 3,432
01/07/2012 3,952 3,484
01/07/2013 4,056 3,588
01/07/2014 4,160 3,692
01/07/2015 4,212 3,744
01/07/2016 4,264 3,796
01/07/2017 4,368 3,900
01/07/2018 4,472 3,952
01/07/2019 4,524 4,004

Income over the income free area limits reduces the payment by:

Date Family Situation
Single Each partner in a couple
Pre 01/07/2000 50 cents in the dollar 25 cents in the dollar
On or after 01/07/2000 to 19/09/2009 40 cents in the dollar 20 cents in the dollar
On or after 20/09/2009 (excluding PPS) 50 cents in the dollar 25 cents in the dollar

Note: Transitional arrangements apply for existing pensioners who would have otherwise had their payments reduced.

Part of the Budget 2009-10 (12 May 2009) the Secure and Sustainable Pension Reform Package includes measures to better target pension payments to those who most need support.

From 20 September 2009, the higher income test threshold for pensioners with dependent children was abolished to align the pension income test with the allowance and family payments income tests. PPS recipients remain receiving their payment based on the 40 cent withdrawal rate and the additional free area for dependent children.

From 20 September 2009, the rate at which extra income above the threshold affects the pension changed from 40 cents to 50 cents in the dollar for singles. For couples, the rate changed from 20 cents to 25 cents in the dollar for each member of a couple.

A transitional safety net does apply for the existing pensioners who would otherwise have their payments reduced by the new income test rules. These pensioners continue to receive their existing payment based on the current 40 cent withdrawal rate and the additional free area for dependent children, until they are better off under the new rules, including the 50 cent withdrawal rate.

Policy reference: SS Guide 4.2.1.10 Pensions income test, 5.1.8.40 Pension Reform - transitional arrangements

Last reviewed: 1 July 2019