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Social security

Super, income streams and social security

Section: 9.9

Means testing of super - accumulation phase

Under age pension age
Assets held in the accumulation phase of super are disregarded by the social security income and assets tests until age pension age (see section 9.1 for age pension ages). Super is also exempt from income and assets testing under DVA rules until service pension age for veterans (see section 9.24).

Lump sums withdrawn from super are not means tested. However, the income and assets tests may apply where the funds are subsequently invested (eg term deposits or shares).

Age pension age and over
Once an individual reaches age pension or service pension age, investments in super funds, approved deposit funds, deferred annuities and RSAs are treated as financial investments for means testing purposes. Therefore, super assets are then subject to deeming rules (see section 9.6) for income test purposes, and the market value is assessed for the assets test.

Some exceptions to this rule apply. Exemptions from means testing may be requested through a Centrelink Financial Information Services Officer if the member cannot meet a condition of release from their super accumulation fund.

Means testing of retirement income streams
The centrelink treatment of retirement income streams is based on a three category framework below.

Retirement income streams are classified into one of three separate categories for means testing purposes:

  • Asset test exempt (includes 100% and 50% assets test exempt income streams).
  • Asset tested (long-term).
  • Asset tested (short-term).

These are then assessed according to the rules that apply to the relevant category.

All products providing similar features or benefits are treated in a consistent manner, irrespective of the name of the product used (ie 'annuity' or 'pension') or whether it is sourced from super or ordinary money.

Last modified: Tuesday, May 2, 2017