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Centrelink uses deeming rates to determine how much you earn. These earnings are added to any other income streams and this total is used to assess your age pension eligibility and the rate you will be paid. The reason a ‘deeming rate’ is used is because Australian retirees can invest in a wide range of investments and the earnings can vary a lot from investment to investment and from month to month. To save itself a huge amount of detailed analysis, the Department of Social Services (DSS) sets (or ‘deems’) a rate that it considers fair, which can be used across the board for all Age Pension income assessments. At any given time this may be higher or lower than the money you actually earn on your investments. Deeming rates are also different, according to different assets thresholds.

The deeming rates and thresholds (current as at July 1, 2021) are as follows:

Singles Couples
Lower Limit: 0.25% Applies to the first $53,600 of financial assets Applies to the first $89,000 of combined financial assets
Upper Limit: 2.25% Applies to all financial assets above $53,600 Applies to all financial assets above $89,000

To which assets are the deeming rates applied?

The financial assets to which the Centrelink deeming rate is applied include:

  • Savings accounts and term deposits
  • Managed investments, loans and debentures
  • Listed shares and securities
  • Certain income streams
  • Certain gifts you may make

Are non-pensioners affected by deeming rates?

Yes, even if you don’t qualify for an Age Pension, you may wish to apply for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CHSC). Deeming Rates are applied to your income and determine your eligibility for this card, which offers concessions on health services, prescription medicines, utilities, rates and many other expenses. [link to more on CSHC/application?]

Why not check your deemed income – and current age pension eligibility – now