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. Scope of deeming


This topic contains information on the following:

  • the payments and programs to which deeming applies
  • financial assets to which deeming applies
  • the treatment of actual returns from financial investments
  • the treatment of investment costs, and
  • the treatment of encumbrances (1.1.E.108) on assets.

Act reference: SSAct section 9(1)-'financial asset'

Payments & programs

Deeming does NOT apply to payments made under the FAAct. The following table shows the payments that ARE affected by deeming.

Type Payment
Means tested pensions paid by Centrelink and DVA
  • age pension
  • disability support pension
  • carer payment
  • service pension
Income support allowances
  • jobseeker payment
  • youth allowance
  • austudy payment
  • parenting payment
  • special benefit
Other income support payments and supplements
  • exceptional circumstances relief
  • income support under the flood assistance package

Financial assets to which deeming applies

Deeming applies to financial assets, which consist of:

  • financial investments, and
  • deprived assets (1.1.D.110).

Example: Financial investments to which deeming applies include:

  • bank, building society and credit union cheque and savings accounts
  • cash
  • term deposits
  • cash management accounts
  • money held in solicitors' trust accounts
  • managed investments
  • listed shares and securities
  • bonds, debentures, unsecured notes, bank bills
  • loans made to individuals, private companies and trusts
  • shares in unlisted public companies
  • gold and other bullion
  • investments in superannuation and roll-over funds held by recipients who are over age pension age
  • asset-tested income stream (short term), see 4.9.3 for further details about income streams
  • from 1 January 2015, asset-tested income stream (long term) that is an account-based pension, and
  • from 1 January 2015, asset-tested income stream (long term) that is an account-based annuity.


  • Existing account-based income streams held by income support recipients as at 31 December 2014 have been 'grandfathered' and will continue to be assessed under the existing rules unless the account holder change products, or ceases to be in continuous receipt of an income support payment.
  • A person is considered to be in continuous receipt of an income support payment where they receive at least $0.01 of income support in each consecutive fortnight from 1 January 2015.

Act reference: SSAct section 9(4) For the purposes of this Act …

Policy reference: SS Guide 4.9.3 Asset-tested income streams

Treatment of actual income from financial investments for deeming purposes

The actual returns received (if any) from financial investments are not assessed under the income test unless the Minister exempts the investment from the deeming rules.

Act reference: SSAct section 1083(2) If, because of …

Policy reference: SS Guide Exemption of Financial Investments from Deeming, 1.1.F.135 Financial investments

Treatment of investment costs

Deeming applies to the gross current value of a financial investment.

Example: An income support recipient purchases a financial investment using $10,500, of which $300 was an entry fee payment. The value of the investment is therefore $10,200. This is the amount to which the deeming rules apply.

Treatment of encumbrances on assets

Under the deeming rules encumbrances are not taken into account. The GROSS market value of a financial investment is used to assess deemed income for the income test.

Under the assets test, the value of the asset is the recipient's EQUITY in the asset.

Example: A person has listed securities with a current market value of $25,000 and a loan secured against these securities of $10,000. Deemed income is calculated using the market value of $25,000 while the assessed asset value under the assets test is $15,000.

Act reference: SSAct section 1072 General meaning of ordinary income

Policy reference: SS Guide Encumbrances & loans against assets

Last reviewed: