Centrelink Deductible Amount Formula

Centrelink Deductible Amount Formula

When determining the entitlements that you are eligible for in relation to the Centrelink Age Pension and some other social security payments, you are assessed using either the ‘Income Test’ or the ‘Assets Test’.

Under the income test, some forms of income are favourably assessed for Income Test purposes.

In some cases, the income is not assessed at all.

Income from superannuation pensions commenced post 1 January 2015 may not be so lucky. More on this later.

Income with favourable assessment

Certain income streams such as Allocated Pensions, Account Based Pensions, Market Linked Pensions and Annuities are favourably assessed.

What makes the assessment favourable?

Income such as rental income from an investment property or work income is assessed at face value (i.e. the amount received is the amount assessed for Income Test purposes).

Other types of income is based on a deeming rate. For instance, if you have $50,000 invested in a bank account, it is not the interest received that is counted towards the Income Test, but rather the amount that this $50,000 is deemed to earn.

Centrelink Deductible Amount Formula

The higher level of income received may reduce the amount of social security entitlements that you are eligible for. Therefore, by reducing the amount that is assessed, the higher your potential benefits.

Assessment of Income Streams

Most types of income streams are favourable assessed as they include a Centrelink Deductible Amount. The Centrelink Deductible Amount Formula is detailed further below.


The Deductible Amount is the amount of your income stream that IS NOT assessed for Centrelink purposes.

The formula to determine the Deductible Amount varies depending on the type of income stream.

Centrelink Deductible Amount Formula

Allocated Pensions, Account Based Pensions, Lifetime Annuties and Market Linked Pension

Deductible Amount p.a. = (Original Pension Purchase Price less Any Commutations throughout the life of the pension) ÷ Relevant Number


Purchase Price = The lump sum amount that was initially used to commence the pension

Commutations = lump sum withdrawals made from the capital value of the pension (not pension payments)

Relevant Number = Life Expectancy factor based on Life Expectancy Tables

Term Annuities

Deductible Amount p.a. = (Original Pension Purchase Price – Any Commutations throughout the life of the pension) ÷ Term of the Annuity

You can find more detailed information using the Guide to Social Security Law.

The Deductible Amount formula also applies to Non Commutable Account Based Pensions.


Superannuation Pension Income Streams commenced post 1 January 2015 may no longer include a Deductible Amount. Instead, it is proposed that the pension balance will be ‘deemed’ to earn an income, similar to superannuation accumulation accounts and most other investment assets.

To ensure your income stream is assessed under current rules, it needs to be commenced prior to 1 January 2015 and the pension member must be in receipt of a social security payment or particular concession card.

If the income stream is commenced prior to 1 January 2015, yet later fully commuted and re-commenced, it is expected that it will fall under the proposed rules and no longer include a Deductible Amount.


Calculating the Deductible Amount of an income stream for Centrelink purposes using the Centrelink Deductible Amount Formula is a complex area – particularly with new income stream products entering the market all the time. A Centrelink Officer will provide you with an accurate calculation of your Deducitble Amount based on your personal circumstances.

If you would like anything clarified or have any further questions, please do not hesitate to leave a comment in the section below and I will endeavour to respond within 24 hours.

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Chris Strano

Chris Strano is a specialist independent superannuation author for SuperGuy.com.au - one of Australia's leading superannuation information resources.

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2 thoughts on “Centrelink Deductible Amount Formula

  1. aw

    You Said. “To ensure your income stream is assessed under current rules, it needs to be commenced prior to 1 January 2015 and the pension member must be in receipt of a social security payment or particular concession card.”

    Two Q’s:
    1. I am retired(with 24k/per annum from an employer permanent invalidity super) and am 62 years of age SO, perhaps it is best I start an income stream from my private Super?? However, I am NOT be in receipt of any social security or concession card(except possibly being listed on my Wife’s temporary Heath care card)….does this matter?? Can I still start before 01 Jan 2015 and get the Centrelink deductible amt?

    2. ALL my contributions into my Super.pension account were AFTER tax(in fact savings that have already been taxed!) Does this make a difference? Or is the centrelink deductable only for any untaxed pension payments?? It seems unfair because, as said, I have already paid tax on these monies!


    1. Chris Strano Post author

      Hi aw

      Thank you for your questions. I have addressed these below:
      1. The proposed rules require you to have commenced the income stream prior to 1 Jan 2015 AND be a social security pension recipient, allowee, or low-income health care card holder immediately before 1 Jan 2015. You should check with a Centrelink officer on 13 23 00 if you are unsure about your situation.
      2. The tax components (pre-tax or post-tax contributions) that make up your superannuation balance are irrelevant for Centrelink assessment purposes. The Centrelink Deductible Amount formula is based on the purchase price of your income stream and life expectancy at commencement of the income stream – as detailed in the article above – and take into account gross payments received, less the deductible amount.

      Hope this has helped,

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