﻿ Calculating the Rate of Rent Assistance Payable | Compensation and Support Policy Library, Part 5 Income Support Allowances and Benefits, 5.1 Rent Assistance, 5.1.3 Payment of Rent Assistance

Calculating the Rate of Rent Assistance Payable

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Last amended
31 March 2022
Rent assistance payable

VEA →

The following factors affect the rate of rent assistance payable:

• the amount of rent paid or payable, and
• the person's family situation, including whether the person has a partner who is receiving a rent increased pension.
Calculating the rate of rent assistance
VEA →

The amount of rent assistance payable is determined using the rent assistance module of the pension rate calculator appropriate to the person's family situation. This means that for every dollar of rent paid in excess of the relevant rent threshold, 75 cents of rent assistance is paid up to the applicable maximum rate. The rent thresholds and maximum rates of rent assistance are adjusted twice yearly in March and September in line with movement in the cost of living.

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Example of rent assistance calculation for a single assessment
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A single pensioner is paying \$300.00 per fortnight in rent as at 20 September 2021. The rent threshold for a single pensioner as at 20 September 2021 is \$127.60 and the maximum rate payable \$142.80. For every \$1.00 of rent paid over the threshold of \$127.60, the pensioner will receive 75 cents of rent assistance up to a maximum of \$142.80. This is calculated as follows:

(\$300.00 (rent) – \$127.60 (threshold)) x 0.75 = \$129.30

As the rate calculated is less than the maximum rate of \$142.80, the single pensioner will receive \$129.30 per fortnight in rent assistance.

Example of rent assistance calculation for a partnered assessment

A couple is paying a total of \$800.00 per fortnight in rent as at 20 September 2021. The combined rent threshold for a partnered assessment as at 20 September 2021 is \$206.40 and the maximum combined rate payable \$134.60 (or \$67.30 each). For every \$1.00 of rent paid over the threshold of \$206.40, the couple will receive 75 cents of rent assistance between them (or 37.5 cents each) up to the maximum rate. For each member of the couple, this equals:

(\$800.00 (total rent) – \$206.40 (combined threshold)) x 0.375 = \$222.60

As the rate calculated is more than the maximum rate of \$67.30 each, each member of the couple will receive \$67.30 each per fortnight in rent assistance.

Impact of ceiling rate on rent assistance

Where a war widow/widower in receipt of ISS or SP is eligible for rent assistance, this is paid in addition to the ISS or SP ceiling rate, or if the person's rate of SP or ISS is less than the ceiling rate, in addition to that rate.

Rate of rent assistance payable to pensioner whose partner is not receiving a rent increased pension

Subject to the amount of rent paid or payable, a pensioner whose partner is not receiving a rent increased pension is eligible for the single rate of rent assistance.

A pensioner is the partner of a person not receiving a rent increased pension if:

• the partner lives with the person; and:
• the partner does not receive Family Tax Benefit that includes rent assistance; and
• either the partner:

Module C – Rent Assistance

Schedule 6, Part 2, Module C of the VEA

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Reference Library - Pension Rates

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SCH6-C8 of VEA

Rent Assistance is an allowance which may be paid to a service pensioner, income support supplement (ISS) or veteran payment recipient to assist in meeting the cost of rental accommodation.

To receive rent assistance a pensioner must be paying rent (other than Government rent) for accommodation in Australia, and the amount paid must exceed a certain threshold.

A person's 'partner' is someone who is a member of a couple with that person.

According to Schedule 6-C5 of the VEA, a person has a partner with a rent increased pension, if:

• the partner is living with the person in their home; and
• the partner is receiving a service pension, income support supplement, veteran payment or social security pension; and
• either of the following applies:
• the partner is receiving a service pension, income support supplement, veteran payment or social security pension the rate of which is increased to take account of rent paid or payable by the partner; or
• the partner is receiving a social security pension and is entitled to be paid family tax benefit at a rate higher than the base rate under Part 2, Division 1, Clause 4 of Schedule 1 to the Family Assistance Act 1999 and which includes an amount to take account of rent paid or payable by the partner.

A war widow/widower is generally a person who immediately before their partners death, was the partner of, or was legally married to:

Refer to 5E(1) of the VEA for the full definition.

The ceiling rate of service pension and income support supplement (ISS) is applied to all war widows/widowers when assessing the rate of pension. This amount was previously frozen at \$124.90 per fortnight, however, since legislation was introduced in September 2002, is now indexed twice yearly in line with percentage increases in the maximum rate service pension. A higher ceiling rate can apply, however, in the following cases:

If a person:

• became a war widow/widower-pensioner before 1 November 1986,

• has continually received service pension, social security pension or ISS since that date, and

• the rate of pension immediately before that date was more than \$120.10

in such a case the ceiling rate is equal to the pre-November 1986 rate plus 4%.

If a person:

• is a person to whom ISS is payable,

• is not permanently blind, and

• whose War Widow's/Widower's Pension paid under Part II or IV of the VEA is reduced,

the ceiling rate is the sum of the ceiling rate as calculated above and the amount of the reduction in the Part II or Part IV pension. The maximum ceiling rate cannot exceed the maximum rate of single service pension. For ceiling rates refer to SCH6-A4 to A9 of VEA. The amount of increase to the ceiling rate pension under Part II or Part IV is worked out by using the formula in SCH6-A9 of the VEA.

According to Schedule 6-C5 of the VEA, a person has a partner with a rent increased pension, if:

• the partner is living with the person in their home; and
• the partner is receiving a service pension, income support supplement, veteran payment or social security pension; and
• either of the following applies:
• the partner is receiving a service pension, income support supplement, veteran payment or social security pension the rate of which is increased to take account of rent paid or payable by the partner; or
• the partner is receiving a social security pension and is entitled to be paid family tax benefit at a rate higher than the base rate under Part 2, Division 1, Clause 4 of Schedule 1 to the Family Assistance Act 1999 and which includes an amount to take account of rent paid or payable by the partner.

A service pension is an income support payment broadly equivalent to the social security age and disability support pensions. It may be paid once a veteran or partner has reached the nominated age or is incapacitated for work.

ISS is an income support payment that may be paid to eligible war widows and widowers under the VEA and persons receiving wholly dependent partners' compensation under the MRCA, and who satisfy the means tests. It is an indexed rate, increased twice-yearly in March and September in line with changes to the cost of living and/or average wages. Income Support Supplement (ISS) legislation commenced on 20 March 1995. It is a payment created to replace the ceiling rate income support age, carer, wife and disability support pensions, paid to war widows/widowers by Centrelink.

The term social security pension is defined in Section 5Q(1) VEA to mean:

• age pension;
• disability support pension;
• carer payment;
• pension PP (single);
• sole parent pension;
• special needs pension.

As benefits (pensions) may change, for the most current definition access this link to the Social Security Act 1991

http://www.comlaw.gov.au/comlaw/management.nsf/lookupindexpagesbyid/IP200401781?OpenDocument