Australian real estate: Changes to Centrelink’s income and asset test to benefit homeowners

Some Australians looking to downsize from their home will benefit massively come the new year as new rules take effect.

Earlier this week, Services Australia announced that in the right circumstances, homeowners who have to report their income and assets could save themselves some money.

If a Centrelink recipient sells their primary residence, the amount of money from the sale they intend to use for their new principal home won’t be included in their assets test

Basically, if the homeowner has a lot of leftover profit from selling their property, whatever money they put into their new residence doesn’t count.

This also includes any building jobs carried out on the new property, whether that be to build a brand new home or renovate an existing one.

For instance, let’s say you sell your home for $1 million and buy a new one for $800,000, then spend another $50,000 on renovations.

From Centrelink’s perspective, you only have to report an additional $150,000 on your income and assets, as that’s all that’s left.

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The changes apply to income support payments, certain allowances, and Low Income Health Care Card holders, Services Australia said.

Services Australia has to be notified within 14 days of the sale going through.

The new rules begin on January 1, which is just over a week away.

There are a number of other changes slated for the beginning of the new year, including some that Centrelink recipients should take note of.

Around a million Aussies on Centrelink payments will get a cash injection in the new year, with payments rising by $20 a week via a 6 per cent increase.

It means Youth allowance will rise by between $19.10 and $41.40 per fortnight, while Austudy will increase between $32.40 and $41.40 a fortnight.

People on the disability support pension aged under 21 and without children will also pocket between $27.40 and $40.70 a fortnight, and the ABSTUDY, isolated children assistance, mobility allowance, double orphan pension, carer allowance and pharmaceutical allowance will also all increase in 2023.

Other impending changes include mobile phones being banned in South Australian schools, golf rules undergoing an update globally and cheaper medicine for cash-strapped Aussies. .

– With Alexis Carey

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