Calculating a rate of PP - partnered


This topic explains the way in which the rate of PP is calculated for a recipient with a partner, and the effect of factors that apply only to PPP. The rate calculation for PPP uses the same principles as are applied to social security benefits, except that in some cases income may be brought to account for periods of up to 12 months, rather than fortnightly (except for employment income (1.1.E.102) which is always assessed fortnightly).

Act reference: SSAct section 1068B Rate of PP-PP (partnered)

Policy reference: SS Guide PP - Current Rates, Determining the rate of income for PP

Income assessment period

The period over which income is brought to account for PPP depends on the individual circumstances of the recipient:

  • for partners of allowees, income is assessed over the fortnight of the payment period
  • for all other recipients, income is assessed over whatever period is appropriate to the particular income type (except for employment income).

Explanation: The income of recipients partnered to allowees is assessed in the same way as their partner's income. The income of all other PP recipients is assessed in the same way as for pensioners.

Example: Casual earnings income for the partner of an allowee is taken into account in the fortnight the income is first earned, derived or received.

Act reference: SSAct section 1068B-D19 Period over which ordinary income taken into account

Policy reference: SS Guide 4.3 Ordinary Income, Determining the Rate of Income for Benefits, Determining the rate of income for pensioners of age pension age from 20/09/2009, Determining the Assessable Income for Pensioners Below Age Pension Age, Rate of income - couples, blind pensioners & children, Determining the rate of income for PP

Income test tapers

The income test for PPP comprises:

  • a personal income free area of $106 per fortnight (pf)
  • a lower personal income taper of 50 cents in the dollar for income between $106 and $256 pf
  • an upper personal income taper of 60 cents in the dollar for income above $256 pf
  • a partner income free area, and
  • a partner excess income taper of 60 cents in the dollar.

Act reference: SSAct section 1068B-D1 Effect of income on maximum payment rate

Policy reference: SS Guide 4.2.2 Benefits income test & limits, PPP income & assets tests & limits

JSP partner - zero rate provision

If a PPP recipient has a current JSP partner and as a result of casual earnings the PP is reduced to nil, the PP recipient remains current while their JSP partner remains current.

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.12 Employment income nil rate period

Last reviewed: 1 July 2020