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. Rate of income - couples, blind pensioners & children


This topic provides information on the assessment of rate of income for:

  • ordinary income
  • couples
  • blind pensioners, and
  • children.

Rate of ordinary income

The rate of ordinary income (1.1.O.30) is a required input to the rate calculation process for social security payments (except for blind people - see below). This rate of ordinary income is the sum of the rates of the components of ordinary income. Employment income (1.1.E.102) is a component of ordinary income, as are financial investment income, deemed income and various other types of income. The method of determining a rate of employment income depends on whether the person is under age pension age or not.

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.1.15 Work bonus, Pensions income test, 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, Determining the rate of income for PP, Pension reform - transitional arrangements


Membership of a couple (1.1.M.120) affects treatment of income. It is important to verify a person's status as a member of a couple before determining their rate.

Policy reference: SS Guide 2.2.5 Verifying membership of a couple

Blind pensioners

Rates of Age, DSP and Disability Wage Supplement paid to blind people are not subject to the income or assets test unless the person claims RA. If a blind person wishes to test their eligibility for RA their rate must be calculated in accordance with the income and assets tests. The amount payable under the normal income and assets tests and RA is compared to the means test free rate and the higher amount is paid.

Rates for Age, DSP and Disability Wage Supplement paid to blind people are affected by the payment of compensation.

A pension paid to the partner (1.1.P.85) of a blind person, who is not also permanently blind, is subject to the income and assets tests.

Act reference: SSAct section 17 Compensation recovery definitions, section 1065 Rate of age and disability support pension (blind people), Part 3.14 Compensation recovery

Policy reference: SS Guide 3.6 Disability & carer, 3.8.1 RA - Qualification & Payability, 4.13 Compensation


The effect of dependent children (1.1.D.70) on their parent's pension rate/s is covered in another topic.

Policy reference: SS Guide Additional Free Area for Dependent Children

Last reviewed: