How Centrelink will assess the EQUITYtap

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1 How Centrelink will assess the EQUITYtap Should you wish to discuss your financial situation and the impact of receiving excess funds has on your Centrelink entitlements please call Pensioner Assist today! Ph (08) OR

2 Contents 1. Principal Place of Residence 1.1 Income Test (Pg1) 1.2 Asset Test (Pg2) 2. Investment Property 2.1 Income Test (Pg3) 2.2 Asset Test (Pg3) 3. Benefits payable when Principal Place of residence is sold (Pg4) Introduction Centrelink Assessment of EQUITYtap This is a summary of how Centrelink will assess Bluestone s Equity Release product called EQUITYtap. There are two tests for all benefits payable by Centrelink the incomes test and the assets test. In addition there is a different treatment for EQUITYtap when a principal place of residence is the secured property and when an investment property is used as the secured property. Investors who use EQUITYtap to withdraw equity from their home can potentially reduce the impact of additional Centrelink assessment by using the products instalment option to more carefully manage the amounts withdrawn.

3 1. Principal Place of Residence 1.1 Income(s) Test How are withdrawals from EQUITYtap assessed under the income test? What will happen under the income test if the amount withdrawn from EQUITYtap is invested? What are financial investments? What is deeming? What income test will apply if EQUITYtap withdrawals are spent? What happens if the EQUITYtap client gives the money away? What is gifting? Amounts withdrawn from EQUITYtap are not counted for the income test. EQUITYtap withdrawals that are deposited into a financial investment will be deemed. If the withdrawn amounts are invested in another investment type (eg. an allocated pension) that are not deemed under the income test then the amount invested into that product will be assessed under the income test rules that apply to that investment type. These include bank, building society and credit union accounts, cash, and term deposits and so on. Deeming assumes that financial investments are earning a certain rate of income, regardless of what income they are actually earning. Up to a threshold, ($38,400 for singles and $63,800 for couples) financial investments are deemed to earn 3% per annum. Any financial investments above these thresholds are deemed to earn 5%p.a. The thresholds are indexed each 1 st July by CPI movements. The earning rates are changed by the Government from time to time. If the amounts withdrawn are spent - that is, consumed and are no longer readily accessible then the incomes test will no longer apply to the amount spent. For example, house renovations, holidays, medical procedures and the capitalized interest. The amount gifted is deemed. Gifting occurs when a person gifts (or disposes of assets) and does not receive adequate consideration for the gift or transfer (in the form of money, goods or services). Any gift, or number of gifts, whose total value is greater than the maximum allowable gifting amount will be counted under the income test, for five years, will be deemed under the (refer above to find out what deeming means) The allowable gifting amount for a single person or a married couple is $10,000 in each financial year after 1 st July 2002 and each pension year prior to this date. From 1 st July 2002, an additional rule (which only applies to gifts made after 30 th June 2002) was introduced to limit a person or couple to a maximum $30,000 allowable gifting amount or free area in a 5 year period relates to the financial year at the time of the relevant gift and the previous 4 financial years.

4 1. Principal Place of Residence 1.2 Asset(s) Test Are there any amounts withdrawn from EQUITYtap over a person s home counted under the assets test? Normally a person s principal place of residence is not included in the assets test. This is the case no matter the value of the home. However certain amounts withdrawn as part of the EQUITYtap product are counted under the assets. It is important to know what those amounts are, how they are worked out and for how long the money will be counted. What are those certain amounts? There are three rules to remember:- 1. The first $40,000 withdrawn from EQUITYtap are exempt from the assets test for 90 days beginning on the date the first withdrawal is made. 2. After 90 days have elapsed, the whole amount withdrawn is counted for the assets test. 3. Amounts above $40,000 are assets test counted from the moment they are withdrawn from EQUITYtap. (This particularly relevant to borrowers who withdraw monies using a mix of lump sum and instalment withdrawals.) For how long are these amounts counted? Amounts withdrawn are no longer counted once they have been spent that is, consumed and are no longer readily accessible. For example, home renovations, holidays or medical procedures. (Renovations to investment properties would be included in the revised net market value of that property.) What happens under the assets test when money is gifted? What happens when the family home is sold because the owner ceases to live in it? Similarly if the amounts withdrawn are invested in an asset that has a particular assets test then the assets test will be applied when that investment takes place. In this instance the amount will fall under Centrelink s gifting rules. Any gift, or number of gifts, whose total value is greater than the maximum allowable gifting amount will be counted under the assets test for five years. (Refer above for further details on the amounts that will be counted under the gifting rules.) The EQUITYtap loan must be repaid if/ when the client leaves their home. If the person leaving their home is going to an ages care or special residence facility then it is likely that selling the home will impact the concessions available and the level of government assistance available. This is a very complex area and assistance should be sought. If the client decides to sell their property then the issues to consider in this area are particularly complex.

5 2. Investment Property 2.1 Income(s) Test What will happen under the income test if the amount withdrawn from EQUITYtap is invested? What income test will apply if EQUITYtap withdrawals are spent? What happens under the income test when money is gifted? EQUITYtap withdrawals that are deposited into a financial investment will be deemed. If the withdrawn amounts are invested in another investment type (for example an allocated pension) that are not deemed under the income test then the amount invested into that product will be assessed under the income test rules that apply to that investment type. Refer above for details on financial investments and deeming. If the amounts withdrawn are spent that is, consumed and are no longer readily accessible then the incomes test will no longer apply to the amount spent. The amount gifted is deemed. Refer above fore details of the gifting and deeming rules. 2.2 Asset(s) Test Are any amounts withdrawn from EQUITYtap over an investment property counted under the assets test? The net market value of the investment property and the amounts withdrawn from EQUITYtap are counted for the assets. The capitalized interest is not counted as an asset. Does the 90 day exemption apply? No For how long are these amounts counted? Amounts withdrawn are no longer counted once they have been spent that is, consumed are no longer readily accessible. For example, home renovations, holidays or medial procedures. (Renovation to investment properties would be included in the revised net market value of that property.) Similarly if the amounts withdrawn are invested in an asset that has a particular assets test then that assets test will be applied when that investment takes place. What happens if an EQUITYtap client gives the money away? In this instance the amount will fall under Centrelink s gifting rules (refer above for further information)

6 3. What is the benefits payable under Aged Care & Special Residence provisions after the Principal Place of Residence has been compulsorily sold? Does EQUITYtap need to be repaid if the last surviving borrower moves into long term aged care? If the Principal Place of residence is sold will the net proceeds (that is sale proceeds less costs less the amount owing on EQUITYtap) be counted as an asset for Centrelink purposes? Yes. If the principal Place of Residence is sold to repay EQUITYtap then this will almost certainly have implications on the amount of money counted for Centrelink s income and assets test and also how much has to be paid for day care fees, accommodation charges and accommodation bonds. Yes, it will also be counted for incomes test purposes. The actual assessment will be determined by the investment vehicle which holds these net proceeds. Should you wish to discuss your financial situation and the impact of receiving excess funds has on your Centrelink entitlements please call Pensioner Assist today! Ph (08) OR

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