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. Couple, 1 partner unemployed, other self-employed on a farm producing no income


This topic shows how the asset test hardship provisions apply to a homeowner couple with one partner unemployed and the other self-employed operating a farm that is producing NO income. General information on the method of calculating the rate of allowance paid under the hardship provisions is contained in the referenced section. All calculations are based on limits and rates applying at 20 September 2019. Asset amounts are in dollars. Income amounts are in dollars per fortnight (pf).

Policy reference: SS Guide 4.6.7 Asset hardship rules

Couple's financial details

In this example, the couple's details are as follows:

Assets $
Value of farm excluding home and curtilage

Value of other assets personal and household effects


Bank account





Asset limit (homeowner couple) 394,500
Income $
Deemed income from financial assets ($4,200 @ 1% p.a.)

$1.62 pf

($4,200 × 1% ÷ 26 = $42 ÷ 26 = $1.62 pf)

Entitlement is precluded under the assets test.

Inquiries have shown that the commercial lease value of the farm is $13,600. The couple have NO actual income from the farm.


The value of the property can be disregarded because the property is on the market at a reasonable price (within 10% of the Centrelink valuation) (

The value of other assets that the couple could NOT be expected to sell or borrow against can also be disregarded.

Example: Their personal and household effects and their car.

They meet the test of severe financial hardship because their combined income is below the relevant limit ($26,655.20 for couples combined, see

Notional ordinary income is assessed at 2.5% of the net market value of the property ($10,250 a year or $394.23 a fortnight), as this amount is less than the commercial lease value ($13,600).

Act reference: SSAct section 1132(5) Notional fortnightly rate of ordinary income from unrealisable assets

Calculation of rate under the hardship provisions

The following table shows the income support recipient's rate calculation under the hardship provisions.

Step Action $
1 For unrealisable assets, calculate notional ordinary income:

  • 2.5% of asset value = (2.5% × $410,000) = $10,250
  • $10,250 ÷ 26 = $394.23
  • This is because the 2.5% asset value ($10,250) is lower than the commercial lease value ($13,600).


394.23 pf

2 Calculate any income received from exempt assets. 0.00
3 Calculate the deductions for assets that are NOT unrealisable or exempt ($1.00 pf for each $250 in assets):

  • Bank account balance ÷ $250 = $4,200 ÷ $250, rounded down to the nearest multiple of 250.



4 Determine the rate payable:

  • Maximum rate of benefit (JSP)
  • Less notional ordinary income
  • Less other asset deductions


(504.70 + 7.90 (ES)) × 2

= 1,025.20




Calculation check

The calculation can be checked, by adding the rate payable (from the calculation) to the actual income earned. The result MUST be LESS than the maximum rate payable, as follows:

Combined rate payable 614.97
Actual income 1.62
RESULT 616.59

This amount is less than the combined maximum rate of $1,025.20 ($512.60 each) for a JSP couple with no children.

Last reviewed: