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Means test

Means Test for Extended Legal Assistance (ELA)

1. Applicants receiving Centrelink or Department of Veterans’ Affairs income support payments

An applicant receiving a Centrelink or Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) income support payment satisfies the Means Test.

Eligible income support payments
Abstudy Partner Allowance
Age Pension (including DVA Age Pensions) Service Pension
Austudy Sickness Allowance
Carer Payment Special Benefit
Disability Support Pension Widow Allowance
DVA service pension and income support supplement Wife Pension
JobSeeker Allowance Youth Allowance
Parenting Payment Farm Household Allowance

2. All other applicants

The Means Test consists of two parts:

  • Income Test
  • Assets Test

In order to satisfy the Means Test, an applicant must satisfy both the Income Test and the Assets Test.

2.1 Income Test

An applicant satisfies the Income Test if their gross income is less than the eligible income limit for their household type. The eligible income limits for each household type are set out in the table below.

Household type Eligible Income Limit (Gross)
Single person household $1,157 $61,700
Couple only household $1,365 $71,000
Single person with children $1,757 $91,360
Couple with children $1,980 $102,890

If the applicant’s household is a ‘couple only’ or ‘couple with children’ household, the Income Test is applied to the income of the couple.

Income includes all money received on a regular basis including:

  • salary and wages
  • business income
  • money received from investments
  • child support
  • Centrelink payments (such as Family Tax Benefit, Rent Assistance).

The only income not included is set out below.

Excluded Centrelink allowances
Carer Allowance
Mobility Allowance
Double Orphan Pension
Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme payments

2.2  Assets Test

An applicant satisfies the Assets Test if their cash assets are less than $10,000. Cash assets include all assets listed in the table below.

Cash Assets
Bank, building society and credit union accounts
Term deposits
Managed funds

The only cash assets not counted when applying the Assets Test are assets which are the subject of the dispute for which ELA or ERA is sought.

If the applicant’s household is a ‘couple only’ or ‘couple with children’ household, the Assets Test is applied to the assets of the couple.

3.  Evidence of means

Verification of means is not required for ELA.

4.  Household types

An applicant’s ‘household’ includes all people living together with the applicant as a family.

A person lives with the applicant if that person spends at least five nights a fortnight with the applicant.

A ‘couple household’ is a household which includes two adults who are married or in a de facto relationship.

Date last published: 01 May 2023