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.

4 Income & assets


Australia has an income support system that is designed to be a safety net for people unable to support themselves without calling on the resources of the community. The income and assets tests are used to target the system so that it remains sustainable and affordable for Australian taxpayers. The tests help ensure that the funds available for social security expenditure are directed to those in the community most in need. The tests are kept under review to ensure that they are meeting the requirements of the community for well-targeted income support.

The rate of income support payable depends on the income and assets tests. The rate of payment is calculated under the 2 separate tests and the test that results in the lower (or nil) rate is the one that applies.

This part contains information on the treatment of a person's income and assets. It describes the various means tests and limits, issues around deprivation of income and assets, deeming provisions, the treatment of income from different sources, treatment of various types of assets, superannuation funds and income streams, compensation, trusts and companies.

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