Superannuation accumulation accounts and account based pensions are assessable from both an income and asset perspective in relation to aged care and can greatly affect aged care costs. Just like all of your other income and assets, superannuation investments need to be disclosed in the Centrelink SA457 Request for a Combined Asset and Income Assessment form.

How Does Superannuation Affect Aged Care Costs?

Most aged care costs have fixed or standard values , such as the Basic Daily Care fee, which increases with CPI, and is based on 85% of the standard single Age Pension rate. Other aged care costs include a Daily Accommodation Payment (DAP), which is a daily payment payable on any outstanding Refundable Accommodation Deposit (RAD). You may even be required to pay an Extra Services Fee if you attend a home that offers extra services.

None of the aforementioned fees are means tested.

However, there is a Means Tested Care fee. The Means Tested Care fee is influenced by an aged care residents’ assets and income, which includes superannuation savings.

Basically, the capital value of an account based pension is fully assessable for aged care purposes. Now, the assessment of the income is where it can get a bit tricky. Specifically, there are two ways the account based pension income can be assessed, as follows:

  • If the account based pension was purchased prior to 1 January 2015 AND the owner of the income stream was in receipt of a social security income support payment (e.g. Age Pension or DVA Service Pension) on 1 January 2015 , then the income is assessed using the ‘grandfathered’ deductible amount method, including the life expectancy factors and relevant number.
  • If the account based pension was purchased after 31 December 2015 OR the pension owner was not in receipt of an income support payment on 1 January 2015, then the capital value of the pension will be deemed under the deeming provisions.

The income of a defined benefit pension is also assessed for aged care purposes; however does not include the tax free component of the income, up to a cap of 10%.

Make sure you understand the Deductible Amount definition for account based pensions and defined benefit pensions. Read about it here.

READ: ‘Defined Benefit Income Stream Schedule for Centrelink Assessment Purposes

A standard superannuation accumulation account is simply assessed at its capital value and deemed. Check your funds SPIN to see where your superannuation is held.

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There may be certain aged care financial planning strategies that can be implemented to reduce the cost of aged care – particularly the means tested care fee.

Chris Strano

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

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