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Exempt assets

An exempt asset is one that is disregarded when calculating the value of a person's assets under the assets test.  Examples of exempt assets include:

For a full legislative definition see section 52 of the VEA.

 

 

An asset means any property, including property outside Australia.

One element of the means test for income support pensions whereby the rate of pension payable to a pensioner reduces progressively as their assets increase above a certain threshold known as the assets value limit (AVL).

The principal home has the meaning given by subsection 5LA(1) of the VEA and subsection 5LA(2) of the VEA. The principal home of a person is generally the place in which they reside. In certain circumstances, however, the principal home of a person can be the place in which they formerly resided. The following property is regarded as part of the principal home.

  • the residence itself (e.g. house, flat, caravan),
  • permanent fixtures (e.g. stoves, built-in heaters, dish-washers, light fittings and affixed carpets),
  • [glossary:curtilage:DEF/Curtilage] (i.e. two hectares or less of private land around the home where the private land use test has been satisfied, or all land held on the same title as the person's principal home where the extended land use test has been satisfied), or
  •       any garage, shed, tennis court or swimming pool used primarily for private purposes provided it is on the same title as the principal home.

 

 

A funeral bond is a managed investment that will on maturity either offset or assist towards the payment of the funeral of the person or the person's partner. Up to two funeral bonds per person may be treated as exempt assets if the combined amounts invested is within the funeral bond threshold.

A funeral bond cannot be exempt if the person has a prepaid funeral.

 

 

The funeral bond threshold is an annually CPI indexed amount under section 59B of the VEA.  A person may have up to two funeral bonds treated as exempt assets.

A prepaid funeral is a funeral purchased in advance. The type and style of funeral is documented in a contract and the funeral is paid for at today's prices. There are no further costs to be paid regardless of when the funeral is required. A prepaid funeral is assessed as an exempt asset and no threshold or limit applies.

 

 

A superannuation fund is defined in the VEA as being:

  • a fund that is or has been a complying superannuation fund within the meaning of section 45 of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 in relation to any tax year; or
  • an Australian superannuation fund (within the meaning of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997) that is not a complying superannuation fund mentioned in paragraph (a) in relation to any tax year; or
  • a scheme for the payment of benefits upon retirement or death that is constituted by or under a law of the Commonwealth or of a State or Territory; or
  • an RSA within the meaning of the Retirement Savings Accounts Act 1997; or
  • any of the following funds (unless the fund is a foreign superannuation fund):
  • a fund to which paragraph 23(jaa), or section 23FC, 121CC or 121DAB, of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (as in force at any time before the commencement of section 1 of the Taxation Laws Amendment Act (No. 2) 1989) has applied in relation to any tax year;
  • a fund to which paragraph 23(ja), or section 23F or 23FB, of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (as in force at any time before the commencement of paragraph (a) of the definition of superannuation fund in former subsection 27A(1) of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936) has applied in relation to the tax year that started on 1 July 1985 or an earlier tax year;
  • a fund to which section 79 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (as in force at any time before 25 June 1984) has applied in relation to the tax year that started on 1 July 1983 or an earlier tax year.

Currently, the pension age for a veteran is 5 years earlier than pension age for a non-veteran.

Male Pension Age

  • If a veteran = 60 years. Veteran pension age is specified in VEA section 5QA.
  • If a Non-Veteran = 65 years. Pension age for non-veterans is specified in VEA section 5QB.

Pension age for a female is subject to age equalisation. Pension age for females is being raised by 6 months every two years, so that by 1 January 2014 the eligibility ages for males and females will be the same.

From 1 July 2017, the pension age for both male and female non veterans born on or after 1 July 1952 will progressively increase by 6 months every 2 years, so that by 1 July 2023, pension age for a non veteran will be 67.  Veteran pension age will not change so by 1 July 2023 pension age for a veteran will be 7 years earlier than pension age for a non veteran. A table explaining this gradual increase can be found in 3.4.1 Age requirements.

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