You are here

Separated Under One Roof


Last amended: 1 July 2009

Circumstances for consideration of separated under one roof

Being separated under one roof can occur when a relationship has broken down and the parties have separated on a permanent basis, but continue to share accommodation or resume living at the same address.  Each person will need to demonstrate that there has been an irretrievable breakdown in the relationship and provide an explanation for continuing to reside together. A couple in an 'unhappy' relationship or who separate for economic reasons, or who intend to reside together indefinitely are not likely to have grounds for being regarded as separated. There will need to be other extenuating circumstances for a consideration of being 'not a member of a couple' to be made, which may include legal impediments.

Separated under one roof how has the relationship changed

The sharing of accommodation may be a temporary or permanent arrangement for a variety of reasons. Consideration is given to the extent to which the relationship has changed in nature from prior to the separation:

  • division of assets, finances, payment of bills
  • changed responsibilities for household chores
  • one party has commenced a new relationship
  • steps taken to alter the home, annexing rooms
  • changed use of rooms in the home, eg exclusive use of the living room, bathroom
  • changes in social activities, such as watching television or eating meals together
  • changed arrangements for cooking meals, shopping
  • changed sleeping arrangements
  • changes in the associations with the other person's family or friends
  • plans or intentions for the future
Not considered to be separated under one roof

Two people will continue to be regarded as members of a couple if the following elements are present when they claim to be separated while living under the same roof:

  • provision of care or support for children in a family unit or environment
  • factors which indicate a de facto relationship exists, as described in section 11A VEA
Claimant does not agree with the decision of the delegate

A pensioner or claimant who does not agree with a decision of a delegate that the person is not considered to be separated has the right to appeal such a decision. Statements from each person are required and they must demonstrate how the relationship has changed in nature from before the separation and detail that there is emotional and physical detachment with little prospect of reconciliation.    

More ?

Policy Library – Reviews and Appeals

Section 12.5.2

More ? (go back)

A person is considered to be in a de facto relationship if the person is:

  • living with another person (their partner) whether of the same sex or a different sex;

  • not legally married to the partner; and

  • certain features of that relationship are typical for members of a couple, and

  • the person and the partner are not within a prohibited relationship

Refer to section 11A of the VEA for the full definition.


Note: A relationship needs to be established for a period of twelve months to be considered a 'de facto relationship' for VCES purposes.



A Delegate of the Commission  is a decision-maker who has been delegated authority to exercise the Commission's powers for the administration of pensions under the VEA.