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FAQs

What is the Pension Loans Scheme (PLS)?

The Pension Loans Scheme (PLS) has been in operation in various forms since 1985 and it is one of the Australian Government’s best kept secrets. The intent of the PLS is to assist seniors fund their regular costs of living by accessing some of the equity they have in their home or property.

Historically the PLS hasn’t had significant take up by seniors due to its restrictive eligibility rules, and not being actively promoted by the Government. However, that all changed on 1 July 2019 as now all Australian resident seniors who own property can access the PLS.

The PLS is a ‘reverse mortgage’ style contract where the Australian Government provides you with a loan amount each fortnight – at a maximum payment level of 150% of the Full Age Pension less any government pension you currently receive. The loan is secured against any property you own in Australia – unfortunately you cannot use relocatable homes or property in retirement villages under the scheme). A ‘reverse mortgage’ simply means you are not required to make any repayments during the term of the loan, although you certainly can if you wish to, and have the funds to do so.

Interest is charged on the outstanding loan amount each fortnight (currently the rate is 5.25% p.a. variable). As you do not need to make any loan repayments the interest compounds over time (in other words you will be charged interest on the interest).

You will generally be required to repay the loan when you (or your surviving partner if you’re in a relationship) either:
  • Permanently move out of your home; or
  • Sell your property; or
  • Pass away, in which case the proceeds of your estate will be used

Who provides the Pensions Loans Scheme?

The Australian government is the provider of the Pension Loans Scheme and the Scheme is administered via the Department of Human Services/Centrelink and for veterans via the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA).

The Australian Government has provided the Pension Loans Scheme (in various forms) since 1985.

Do I have be on the Age Pension to be eligible for the Pension Loans Scheme (PLS)?

No. The rule changes effective from 1 July 2019 expand the PLS to be accessible to all Australian resident seniors who have sufficient equity in their property - including self-funded retirees.

Am I eligible for the Pension Loans Scheme (PLS)?

If you are currently receiving the Age Pension or similar seniors welfare payment (or a DVA pension) and you own property in Australia, you will most likely meet the eligibility criteria.

To be eligible for the PLS you (or if you are in a couple relationship at least one of you) need to meet the following criteria:

1. Meet Centrelink’s Australian residency requirements:
You need to have been an Australian resident for at least 10 years in total. For the last five (5) of these years, there must not have been any break in your residency.

  • You are an Australian resident if you live in Australia and are either:
    1. An Australian citizen; or
    2. A permanent residence visa holder; or
    3. A protected Special Category visa (SCV) holder


2. Be at least of Age Pension Age which is currently 66 years old but increasing to 67 as shown below:

Age Pension Age Criteria
(note: at least one applicant must meet this criteria if applying for the PLS as a Couple)
Born before
01/Jul/1952
 
65 years
Born before
01/Jul/1952
31/Dec/1953
65 years and 6 months
Born before
01/Jul/1954
30-Jun-1955
66 years
Born before
01/Jul/1955
31/Dec/1956
66 years and 6 months
Born before
01/Jul/1957
 
67 years
3. Own real estate property in Australia which includes:

  • Houses *
  • Apartments / Units / TownHouses *
  • Farm (or hobby farm)
  • Commercial premises
  • Retail premises
  • Vacant land / bush block
  • Home office / business
  • Self contained flat (part of or attached to a residence)
  • Market garden
  • Residential block larger than 2 hectares


* There are two notable exceptions (due to not having title to the underlying land)

  • Retirement villages
  • Relocatable homes

Why are retirement villages and relocatable homes excluded under the Pension Loans Scheme (PLS)?

Generally retirement villages and relocatable homes do not include title over the land on which the dwelling/building resides, which is why the government does not accept these forms of property as security for Pension Loans.

How much money could I be eligible for under the Pension Loans Scheme (PLS)?

It is dependent on:
  • The amount of any Age Pension (or similar welfare payment e.g. widows pension) you (or you and your partner) receive
  • The net equity (i.e. the value of your property less any loans secured by that property) you have in your property
  • Your age or the age of the youngest partner, if you’re in a couple relationship
  • The amount of Pension Loan per fortnight you wish to access
  • The value of any Requested Amount (i.e. an amount of equity you always wish to keep in your property) you determine
Payment Rates(as at 1 July 2019)
Single Per fortnight
Single Per annum
Couple Per fortnight
Couple Per annum
Full Age Pension
$933.40
$24,268.40
$1,407.00
$36,582.00
Pension Loan Scheme*
$1,400.10
$36,402.60
$2,110.50
$54,873.00
* The Pension Loan Scheme maximum is 150% of the Full Age Pension (which includes any Age Pension received)

Examples of maximum Pension Loan Payments for different pension status:
Full Pensioner
$466.70
$12,134.20
$703.50
$18,291.00
Part Pensioner Example: $500 per fortnight per person
$900.10
$23,402.60
$1,110.50
$28,873.00
Self Funded Retirees
$1,400.10
$36,402.60
$2,100.50
$54,873.00
We recommend you try our Pension Boost Calculator to see what the PLS might mean for you.

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Note: Whilst these tables show the maximum Pension Loans Scheme levels as at 20 September 2019, you can select any payment amount up to the maximum.

If you choose the maximum level, your Pension Loan payments will automatically change when the Age Pension payment rates are adjusted for inflation (usually in March and September each year).

If you chose a set amount (say $500) then this payment level stays the same until you advise Centrelink/DVA you wish to change it.

How long might I be able to access the Pension Loans Scheme (PLS)?

The term over which you could potentially receive payments under the PLS is dependent on:
  • The amount of any Age Pension (or similar welfare payment e.g. widows pension) you (or you and your partner - if applicable) receive
  • The net equity (i.e. the value of your property less any loans secured by that property) you have in your property
  • Your age, or the age of the youngest partner, if you’re in a couple relationship
  • The amount of Pension Loan per fortnight you wish to access
  • The value of any Requested Amount (i.e. an amount of equity you always wish to keep in your property) you determine

Generally speaking, the older you (and/or your partner) are, and the higher the net equity in your property, the longer the Pension Loan payments can be made.

We recommend you try our Pension Boost Calculator to see what the Pension Loans Scheme might mean for you.
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If I take out a Pension Loan how can I know what it will mean financially for me?

The PLS has a number of factors which can influence the options and outcomes. We recommend you try our Pension Boost Calculator to see what the Scheme might mean for you.
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Can I change the Pension Loan as my circumstances change?

Of course you can! You just need to ensure you communicate your changes to Centrelink/DVA. The PLS includes options to:
  • Take ether the maximum payment or a lower amount
  • Reduce or increase the payment amount (within the maximum permitted)
  • Pause your payment for a period if you don’t need the funds
  • Restart your payments if you need the funds again
  • Select a ‘Requested Amount’ or not
Pension Boost can assist you in relation to managing your Pension Loan on an ongoing basis to ensure you remain in control of your finances.

What can I use the funds from the Pension Loans Scheme (PLS) for?

You can use the payments you receive each fortnight under the PLS for any purpose you wish. This could be to fund regular bills, pay for in-home care services, enjoy life’s little luxuries, a short holiday, take care of those repairs you’ve been putting off - whatever you like.
Unlike many commercial reverse mortgages which have strict rules around the type of property or its location (eg only capital cities), the government accepts all forms of Australian based real estate property. This includes houses, units, flats, town houses, semi detached homes, self contained flats, farms, vacant land, bush blocks, commercial/industrial/retail premises, business premises and large residential blocks. However please note that there are two (2) exceptions to this, which is due to the typical ownership structure not including title to the underlying land:
  1. Retirement villages
  2. Relocatable homes

Does the Pension Loans Scheme (PLS) affect my Age Pension eligibility?

No. Whilst the Pension Loans Scheme is linked to the Age Pension (by the maximum payment level being tied to 150% of the Full Age Pension), accessing the PLS does not impact your Age Pension entitlements.

Is the Pension Loans Scheme (PLS) just for people who own expensive properties?

No. We’ve now run literally 100’s of Pension Boost Calculator scenarios for seniors and the median home value is $500,000. Somewhat surprisingly, a significant proportion of seniors using our calculator have mortgages outstanding. A significant majority of seniors are on the Full Age Pension and advise us they are struggling to make ends meet.

Does the Pension Loans Scheme (PLS) impact my income tax position?

No. The Pension Loans Scheme is a loan-based payment scheme, drawing on the equity (capital) you have built in your home, so it does not impact your income tax position.

What if I don’t need to access the maximum level under the Pension Loan Scheme (PLS)?

No problem - just select the level of payments you need each fortnight. You can always change the level of payments by notifying Centrelink/DVA. Pension Boost can assist you to determine the level of Pension Loan that you’d be comfortable with.

Can I (or my estate) end up owing the Australian Government more than my property is worth?

Yes. When your property is sold if the proceeds of the sale are insufficient to repay the debt on your Pension Loan (known as ‘negative equity’), then you (or your estate) will continue to have a debt owing to the Australian Government that will keep accruing interest until the Pension Loan is fully repaid.

Important: The Pension Loans Scheme (PLS) is NOT covered by the provisions of the ‘No Negative Equity Guarantee’ regulations under the National Consumer Credit Act which have applied to providers of commercial reverse mortgages since 2012.

Pension Boost believes this is an example of ‘double standards’ being applied by the government. The PLS is a reverse mortgage style contract – it is a loan secured via a registered charge over real estate property – generating a commercial return for the government (through the interest rate charged on the Pension Loans less the government’s cost of funding the Scheme), with the repayment obligation deferred until the property is sold. Whilst the government technically classifies the PLS as a ‘welfare payment’, the PLS operates on a similar basis to many of the regulated principals that commercial reverse mortgage providers are legally bound to comply with.

On the basis the PLS is in substance a ‘reverse mortgage’ seniors accessing the PLS should be provided the same ‘no negative equity’ protections as under regulated reverse mortgages.

Pension Boost advocates that the PLS should afford the same senior consumer protections to PLS borrowers as those seniors who choose commercial reverse mortgage solutions.

Support our advocacy efforts by signing our petition to amend the PLS in order to protect seniors and their estates from adverse outcomes in the event of negative equity situations.

Sign The Petition

What about my family? Will my Pension Loans Scheme (PLS) impact my estate plans?

Pension Boost recommends you discuss your situation with your family before considering applying for the PLS. We are also happy to talk with them, if required, as we often have children of seniors enquiring on behalf of their parents.

A feature within the PLS is the ‘Requested Amount’, which is an amount you can ask to be reserved for you for your future needs (like aged care facilities) or your estate.

Do I have to take out a mortgage under the Pension Loans Scheme (PLS)?

No. Rather than a full registered mortgage the government secures its Pension Loan to you via a ‘registered lien’ or ‘registered charge’ over the property you put up as security for your Pension Loan.
There are a few ways of applying:
  1. Directly via Centrelink (online): To access this method you need a myGov account and a Centrelink Online Account linked to your myGov account. For more information about this option please visit https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/pension-loans-scheme/how-apply
  2. The easy way via Pension Boost’s PLS Application service: How we assist you:
    • We provide you with a free Personalised Pension Loans Scheme Report
    • Our friendly PLS specialists are available to respond to any questions you have and guide you through the process
    • We assist you to select the right Pension Loan for your circumstances
    • We prepare your PLS application for you
    • We lodge your PLS application with Centrelink or DVA for you
    • We manage any queries Centrelink/DVA raise in assessing you application


    • Essentially - we take the hassle out of dealing with Centrelink / DVA

      We also provide an optional ongoing service to help you remain in control of your Pension Loan and the net equity in your property.

What supporting documentation is required when applying for the Pension Loans Scheme (PLS)?

You will need to provide copies of the below when you start your PLS application:
  • Your property Title Deed or Certificate of Title; and
  • A recent Land Valuation Notice or Council Rates Notice; and
  • Your current insurance policy over the property; and
If you have an existing loan secured over the property, you also need to provide copies of a:
  • Recent loan statement
  • Loan contract

How long does approval of a Pension Loan application usually take?

Approval of a Pension Loan application is made in writing by Centrelink / DVA and this usually occurs in 4 - 8 weeks, depending on the complexity of the application.

Who is Pension Boost and what role do you play in the Pension Loans Scheme (PLS)?

Pension Boost is a private commercial venture founded by Paul Rogan in 2019, and our purpose is to assist everyday Australian seniors to live a better life. There are 1.8 million seniors on the Age Pension who own property, with many struggling to make ends meet.

Pension Boost are specialists in the Australian Government’s Pension Loans Scheme (PLS). We act as your agent when dealing with Centrelink/DVA to take the hassle out of the process for you.

Some of the ways Pension Boost assists seniors includes:
  • Raising awareness of the PLS (one of the government’s best kept secrets)
  • Educating seniors on what the PLS is, its ‘rules’ and how it works
  • Assisting seniors and their families decide whether the PLS may be of benefit to them
  • Demonstrating to seniors via our Pension Boost Calculator what the PLS may mean for them financially
  • Determining the type of Pension Loan that best suits a senior’s individual circumstances
  • We remove the hassle of dealing with Centrelink/DVA by acting as an ‘agent’
    • Assisting seniors with their application for the Pension Loan
    • Dealing with any questions or queries raised by Centrelink/DVA
  • Providing ongoing reporting and reviews of a senior’s cash flow needs and Pension Loan level, to ensure they remain in control of the net equity in their home, and have the funds to make ends meet


You can learn more in the About Us section of our website

What fees do you charge for your services?

Service
Application
$396 one off fee

$297 with pensioners' discount
Seniors Package Application +
$150 p.a.

$125 p.a. with pensioners' discount
PLS educational and information support
Included
Included
Personalised PLS Report
Included
Included
PLS specialist consultation - up to 30 minutes
Included
Included
Determining the right PLS Loan for you
Included
Included
Centrelink/DVA PLS Application support
Included
Included
Annual property valuation assessment report
$25 per report
Included
PLS specialist consultation - review & variations
$150 per variation
Included

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