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. Treatment of superannuation & roll-over investments under the assets test


This topic provides information on the following:

  • the application of deeming to income from superannuation and roll-over investments for persons who have reached age pension age, and
  • exemption of specified superannuation and roll-over investments.

Other related topics include:

  • 4.4.2 Deeming of Financial Investments
  • 4.8 Superannuation funds
  • 4.9 Income streams.

General application of deeming

Superannuation and roll-over investments are treated differently depending on the age and circumstances of the person as described in the following table.

If the person … then their superannuation OR roll-over investment is …
has reached age pension age
  • a financial investment (1.1.F.135), AND
  • subject to the assets test.
is LESS than age pension age
  • a disregarded financial investment, AND
  • NOT subject to the assets test.

Act reference: SSAct section 9(1B) … the following are managed investments …, section 9(1C) The following are not managed investments …

Policy reference: SS Guide 4.9 Income streams

Exemption of specified superannuation & roll-over investments

Between 20 September 1997 and 1 July 2001, persons of age pension age and persons aged between 55 years of age and age pension age, who had received income support for at least 39 weeks after reaching age 55, had their superannuation assets assessed under deeming provisions.

From 1 July 2001 only persons of age pension age have their superannuation assets assessed under deeming provisions.

Explanation: In a very small number of cases the Minister for Social Services provides exemptions for superannuation assets.

The Minister is the only person with the legislative power to exempt a superannuation investment. Exemptions are considered if all of the investment cannot be accessed where:

  • the rules of the superannuation fund prevent release, OR
  • there is a legislative bar. This may arise where a person cannot access their superannuation because they do not satisfy any of the 'conditions of release' specified in the superannuation regulations. There may also be other circumstances where a legislative bar prevents access to a person's superannuation benefits, such as a Family Law Court decision.

Act reference: SSAct section 1084(1) Certain money and financial investments not taken into account, section 1118A Value of superannuation investments determined by the Minister to be disregarded

Policy reference: SS Guide 4.8 Superannuation funds, 4.9 Income streams

Last reviewed: