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. Continuation & termination of HEAS


The following table lists the circumstances in which payment of loans under the HEAS (formerly PLS) may change.

The HEAS loan is … if the recipient …
  • reaches their maximum loan available, OR
  • no longer qualifies for the pension or allowance on which their HEAS qualification is based, OR
  • ceases to be qualified for HEAS, OR
  • withdraws from the scheme.
  • has their qualification for the qualifying pension temporarily stop for a non-payability reason
  • fails to reply to a request of information.
reviewed for possible change
  • marries, or becomes a member of a couple (1.1.M.120), OR
  • separates from their partner, OR
  • sells some secured real assets, OR
  • changes insurance on secured asset, OR
  • secured asset is provided as guarantee for a loan to a third party, OR
  • takes out additional mortgages on secured asset.

These circumstances are explained in more detail in the rest of this topic. If the HEAS debt is not immediately recovered or paid, the loan debt continues to accrue interest when the HEAS loan is terminated, suspended or reviewed for change.

Policy reference: SS Guide Repayment of a HEAS loan

Maximum loan available

If a HEAS recipient's debt exceeds their maximum loan available, then they cease to participate in the scheme from the beginning of the first instalment period for their qualifying pension or allowance that begins after the debt exceeds the maximum loan. Interest continues to be applied to the loan debt.

Act reference: SSAct section 1141 Person ceases to participate in PLS if debt exceeds maximum loan available

Loss of qualification for pension/allowance

A recipient is no longer qualified for the HEAS if they lose qualification for the pension that qualifies them for the HEAS. Payments under the scheme cease from the same date as the pension ceases. The HEAS can generally continue where the qualifying pension stops for a payability reason.

If the pension is suspended, the loan under the HEAS, as well as the pension is not paid during the suspended period. The payments under HEAS will recommence when the pension is restored.

Policy reference: SS Guide Qualification for HEAS

Ceases to be qualified

A recipient's participation in the HEAS may cease if it is determined by the Secretary that the recipient ceases to be qualified.

Notifiable events may satisfy the Secretary that the participant has ceased to be qualified where the secured asset is subject to:

  • bankruptcy
  • changes to insurance, OR
  • additional mortgages.

See for qualification conditions relating to bankruptcy, insurance and additional mortgages.

Act reference: SSAct section 1141A Secretary may cease person's participation in PLS

Withdrawal from the scheme

A recipient may withdraw from the scheme at any time, and the debt can be repaid:

  • immediately, OR
  • from the person's estate upon their death. Interest will continue to accrue on the debt until it is fully recovered.

Act reference: SSAct section 1142 Person withdraws from PLS

Sale of real assets

The HEAS ceases to apply to a recipient if:

  • they sell a parcel of real assets of significant value, AND
  • the value of the secured real estate asset/s is reduced so that the HEAS loan amount exceeds the maximum loan available as determined in the age component legislative instrument.

The delegate needs to consider the circumstances of the case when deciding whether the debt should be immediately repaid. If the debt is still safely secured by the remaining real asset, the delegate may exercise their discretion in removing the charge over the disposed real asset without taking recovery action.

Person marries or becomes a member of a couple

If a recipient marries or becomes a member of a couple, their qualification and rate must be reviewed.

Explanation: A review is necessary to ensure the recipient is still qualified for the HEAS.

Example: The couple may now have different assets as a result of the new partner bringing assets into the marriage, the value of the recipient's assets being reduced or the new partner's intentions, if any, to apply under HEAS.


If a HEAS recipient separates from their partner, their circumstances must be reviewed.

Explanation: This will establish:

  • whether the asset/s securing the debt is affected by a property settlement
  • what impact this may have on continuing qualification under the scheme, and
  • the eventual recovery of the debt.

If the separation is permanent, and one member of the couple is no longer entitled to receive payments under the HEAS, the debt owed by that person may be recovered in part or in full:

  • when the property settlement occurs, OR
  • at an appropriate time dependent on the circumstances of the case.

Example: A person who no longer qualifies because they are under age pension age or have insufficient assets to secure the debt.

If the separation is permanent and both people wish to continue in the scheme, then each member of the couple will need to qualify for payments under the HEAS in their own right.


If a person qualifies for the HEAS, reviews are conducted on the same basis as reviews for the pension/allowance they receive or are qualified for. HEAS recipients have the appeal rights associated with the pension or allowance for which they are qualified.

Policy reference: SS Guide 6.1 Changes in Income & Assets - Reviews, 6.2.3 Retirement & widows reviews

Last reviewed: