The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. The information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to relevant legislation/policy. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia. Qualification for HEAS


This topic explains the qualification criteria for HEAS (formerly PLS), and the following relevant issues:

  • who is likely to be eligible
  • insurance
  • application of hardship
  • claims from overseas, and
  • portability

Qualification (1.1.Q.10) criteria

To qualify for HEAS, a person must meet ALL of the criteria listed in the following table. If more detail about a criterion is required, the second column indicates where you will find this.

Criterion More detail
Be of age pension age OR the partner of someone who is, AND -
Be qualified for:
  • age pension
  • disability support pension
  • carer payment, AND
This topic
Not be bankrupt or subject to a personal insolvency agreement, AND This topic
Own real assets in Australia of sufficient value to secure the payment of any debt that may become payable, AND Security for HEAS
Have appropriate and adequate insurance covering the secured real asset/s. This topic

Note: Applicants do not have to be receiving an income support payment to be eligible for the HEAS, so long as they remain qualified for the relevant payment. For example, a person may be eligible for the HEAS if they meet Age qualification criteria such as the age and residency requirements, even if they are prevented from receiving an age pension payment due to the income and/or assets tests.

Example: Shirley, a 67-year old farmer in regional New South Wales, is in receipt of the Farm Household Allowance (FHA). She meets the Age qualification criteria, but is prevented from receiving Age because of her income and assets. Shirley may still be eligible for HEAS if she meets the HEAS qualification criteria.

Act reference: SSAct section 23(5A) to (5D) Pension age, section 1133 Qualification for participation in PLS

Policy reference: SS Guide General payability provisions


When applying for the HEAS, applicants need to provide a current certificate of insurance for real assets. The assets need to be adequately and appropriately insured.

Note: Adequate insurance of a property is generally described as having an insurance policy that covers the property for an insured amount that is equivalent of at least 90% of the value of all buildings on the property for standard events including:

  • fire
  • escape of liquid
  • flood
  • storm
  • explosion.

In certain circumstances, Third party liability insurance may also be required. HEAS recipients are required to notify Centrelink of any significant changes to the insurance policy covering the property used to secure a HEAS loan.

Act reference: SSAct section 1133(1) (c) Qualification for participation in PLS


HEAS does not preclude people from consideration under the hardship provisions. It may be appropriate to investigate whether a pensioner has entitlement under the hardship provisions before proceeding with a request for payment under HEAS. The legislation clearly provides, however, that the 2 provisions are mutually exclusive and that payment can only be made under one or the other provision.

Policy reference: SS Guide General provisions for hardship

Claims from overseas

Claims for HEAS are not permitted from overseas, that is, the person must be qualified for the relevant pension payment and present in Australia when a HEAS application is made.


As long as the person remains qualified for the associated pension payment, a HEAS loan can continue to be paid when the person is overseas.

Last reviewed: