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. Extension of Asset Test Exemption to pre-20/9/98 Defined Benefit Income Streams


This topic explains the Secretary's discretion to extend the asset test exemption to certain lifetime income streams (1.1.I.70), but NOT life expectancy products. The discretion will provide an exemption to certain non-complying public and private sector defined benefit superannuation pensions. These income streams deviate only slightly from the required characteristics for asset-test exemption, and have characteristics that are not easily amended, as this would involve legislative amendments or significant changes to trust deeds. This topic covers:

  • conditions for exemption to be extended, and
  • exempt Defence related schemes.

Act reference: SSAct section 9(1)-'life expectancy'

Conditions for exemption to be extended

A non-complying lifetime defined benefit income stream is indefinitely exempt from the assets test if:

  • the income stream payments are from a public sector superannuation scheme or fund, OR
  • the payments are from a private sector superannuation scheme or fund, AND
  • the following conditions are met.

These conditions MUST be met to gain the exemption:

  • the scheme or fund was established before 20 September 1998, AND
  • it provided the income stream product before that date, AND
  • the income stream product was treated as a superannuation pension and was exempt from the assets test before 20 September 1998, AND
  • an income support recipient started the income stream:
    • before 20 September 1998, OR
    • after 20 September 1998 from a pre-20 September 1998 defined benefit superannuation pension product, AND
  • for a private sector scheme or fund, the scheme or the fund:
    • is directly connected to an income support recipient's previous employment, AND
    • the payments from the defined benefit income stream become payable to, or for, the income support recipient because of that employment, UNLESS
    • the income support recipient is a reversionary beneficiary of the income stream.

Act reference: SSAct section 9(1)-'defined benefit income stream', section 9(1)-'superannuation fund'

Asset-test Exempt Income Stream (Lifetime Income Stream Guidelines) (Social Security) Determination 2015

Exempt defence related schemes

A lifetime income stream is ATE if payments are from a defined benefit superannuation pension product paid from the:

  • Defence Force Retirement and Death Benefits Scheme, OR
  • Military Superannuation and Benefits Scheme.

Last reviewed: