The Pension Boost HEAS Service
What is the Home Equity Access Scheme (HEAS)?
The Home Equity Access Scheme (HEAS), formerly known as the Pension Loan Scheme (PLS), is a loan issued by the Australian Government that allows Australian homeowners aged 67+ to boost their retirement income using the wealth in their home.
Pensioners and self-funded retirees can apply and, if eligible, could receive up to 150% of the Age Pension entitlement, less any Age Pension received.
The HEAS can be paid as fortnightly payments or as a lump sum, twice a year.
What is the Pension Boost Service?
The Household Capital Pension Boost service helps eligible Australians access their home wealth through the HEAS.
As specialists in the government scheme, we take care of the application process and remove the barriers that sometimes arise when dealing directly with Centrelink. Importantly, we keep you informed throughout the process.
The Pension Boost service costs $440 for pensioners or $660 for non-pensioners, payable when a HEAS application is lodged.
Unlock A Better Retirement
Improve your cash flow
Receive up to 150% of the maximum Age Pension (less any pension received)
Stay in your home
Avoid having to sell your home, downsize or relocate to a retirement home
Access specialist support
We take care of the application process and continue to review your entitlements
How A Household Loan Differs From The HEAS
- Income stream
- Mortgage refinance
- Aged care RADs and DAPs
- Income stream or a capped lump sum advance payment
- Personalised HEAS Report
- HEAS Specialist consultation
- Preparing your HEAS application form
- Lodging your HEAS application
- Tracking progress of your HEAS application
- Responding to Centrelink/DVA queries
- Reviewing your HEAS approval
What’s not included?
- Certificates of Title: $10 – $50 (per title)
- Postage and handling: $40
- Variation of HEAS property security $330 (eg discharges, revaluations, transfers)
- Variation of HEAS payments $110
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Frequently Asked Questions
Who is eligible for the Home Equity Access Scheme (HEAS)/Pension Loan Scheme (PLS)?
Please note: The Centrelink Pension Loan Scheme (PLS) is now known as the Home Equity Access Scheme (HEAS) as of January 2022. There’s a range of eligibility criteria to qualify for the Centrelink PLS / HEAS reverse mortgage. These include:
- You must be of Age Pension age
- You must qualify for or receive an eligible payment; this includes the Age Pension, disability support pension and widow’s pension
- You must own real estate in Australia with enough equity to secure the loan
- You must have adequate insurance covering the secured real estate
- You must not be bankrupt or subject to a personal insolvency agreement
- While Centrelink PLS / HEAS reverse mortgages do provide occupancy and No Negative Equity Guarantees, Centrelink officers who administer Centrelink PLS/HEAS reverse mortgages are not subject to responsible lending laws.
What is the HEAS/PLS interest rate?
On the 1st of January 2022, the Pension Loans Scheme (PLS) was renamed the Home Equity Access Scheme with an interest rate of 3.95%.
While there are no establishment fees or monthly account fees, Centrelink may charge costs including legal fees. These costs are determined once the loan application is made and can either be paid immediately or added to the loan balance.
Learn about our Household Loan interest rates.
How does the government get its money back from a PLS/HEAS reverse mortgage?
Please note: The Centrelink Pension Loan Scheme (PLS) is now known as the Home Equity Access Scheme (HEAS) as of January 2022. The Centrelink PLS / HEAS reverse mortgage is enforceable against your property. When the last borrower leaves your home, or it is sold, you need to repay the principal and accrued interest to the government. The government can enforce the Centrelink PLS / HEAS reverse mortgage against the departing owners or the estate upon death. Try our equity calculator or call us on 1300 622 100. See how using your Household Capital could improve your retirement income. Live Well At Home™
What is the difference between the PLS/HEAS and a reverse mortgage?
The PLS/HEAS is a government administered home equity scheme that enables Australians of Age Pension age to draw a modest income stream or capital payment each year. Unlike a reverse mortgage, it is not covered by the National Consumer Credit Protection Act, although the ‘no negative equity guarantee’ was recently adopted. Commercial reverse mortgages are generally more flexible in terms of the amount of income and capital available.
How long might I be able to access the Home Equity Access Scheme (HEAS)?
The term over which you could potentially receive payments under the HEAS 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 Home Equity Access 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 Home Equity Access loan payments can be made.
Why are retirement villages and relocatable homes excluded under the Home Equity Access Scheme (HEAS)?
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 Home Equity Access loans.
Can I change the Home Equity Access loan as my circumstances change?
Of course you can! You just need to ensure you communicate your changes to Centrelink/DVA. The HEAS 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
- Request a lump sum advance
- Select a ‘Requested Amount’ or not
Pension Boost can assist you in relation to managing your Home Equity Access loan on an ongoing basis to ensure you remain in control of your finances.
What can I use the funds from the Home Equity Access Scheme (HEAS) for?
You can use the payments you receive each fortnight under the HEAS 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.
Is the Home Equity Access Scheme (HEAS) just for people who own expensive properties?
No. We’ve now run literally 10,000’s of 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 Home Equity Access Scheme (HEAS) impact my income tax position?
No. The Home Equity Access 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.
Does the Home Equity Access Scheme (HEAS) affect my Age Pension eligibility?
No. Whilst the Home Equity Access Scheme is linked to the Age Pension (by the maximum payment level being tied to 150% of the Full Age Pension), accessing the HEAS does not impact your Age Pension entitlements.
What if I don’t need to access the maximum level under the Home Equity Access Scheme (HEAS)?
No problem – just select the level of payments you need each fortnight. You can always change the level of payments by notifying Centrelink/DVA. Household Capital can assist you to determine the level of Home Equity Access loan that you’d be comfortable with.
What about my family? Will my Home Equity Access Scheme (HEAS) impact my estate plans?
Household Capital recommends you discuss your situation with your family before considering applying for the HEAS. 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 HEAS 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.
Can I (or my estate) end up owing the Australian Government more than my property is worth?
No. The HEAS now comes with a No Negative Equity Guarantee which means you will not be liable for a HEAS debt that exceeds the value of your property when sold.
Do I have to take out a mortgage under the Home Equity Access Scheme (HEAS)?
No. Rather than a full registered mortgage the government secures its Home Equity Access loan to you via a ‘registered lien’ or ‘registered charge’ over the property you put up as security for your Home Equity Access loan.
What supporting documentation is required when applying for the Home Equity Access Scheme (HEAS)?
You will need to provide copies of the below when you start your HEAS 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 Home Equity Access loan application usually take?
Approval of a Home Equity Access loan application is made in writing by Centrelink / DVA and this usually occurs in 10 – 14 weeks, depending on the complexity of the application.
How does the new lump sum option work?
The HEAS now provides a lump sum option which works like an advance payment and is available to all HEAS borrowers including existing borrowers.
The maximum lump sum you can access in a twelve month period is 50% of the full annual age pension which (as at 20 Sept 2022) is:
- Couples lump sum maximum – $20,852
- Singles lump sum maximum – $13,832
If you draw a lump sum from the HEAS this will reduce your HEAS fortnightly payments over the next 12 months.
1. Couple on the full age pension wishes to access $13,000 as a lump sum and draw the maximum HEAS payments. Their maximum HEAS payments of $802 / fortnight will be reduced by $500 ($13,000 / 26). Over the year they will receive $20,852 in HEAS payments (being the current maximum for full age pension couples).
2. Single self funded retiree wishes to access maximum lump sum and HEAS payments. Their lump sum of $13,832 will reduce their HEAS fortnightly payments by $532. Over the year they will receive $41,496 in total HEAS payments (being the current maximum for a self funded single).
My property is co-owned with another person – am I still eligible?
Provided you meet the residency, pension age and property ownership criteria if your property is co-owned with a third party then you are still eligible for the HEAS but only for your relevant pro-rata share of the net equity in the property.
The co-owner(s) need to consent to your applying for the HEAS and they must sign their section of the HEAS application in front of a suitably qualified witness (eg Justice of the Peace).
Who is Pension Boost and what role do you play in the Home Equity Access Scheme (HEAS)?
Pension Boost is a subsidiary of Household Capital, an Australian independent retirement funding provider founded in 2016 with a mission to help retired Australians Live Well at Home. It offers retirees a responsible, sustainable, and flexible financial solution that allows them to bundle their superannuation savings, equity in their home and their Aged Pension to achieve their retirement goals while continuing to live at home.
There are 1.8 million seniors on the Age Pension who own property, many of whom could use additional cashflow to better enjoy their retirement.
Pension Boost are specialists in the Australian Government’s Home Equity Access Scheme (HEAS). 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 HEAS (one of the government’s best kept secrets)
- Educating seniors on what the HEAS is, its ‘rules’ and how it works
- Assisting seniors and their families decide whether the HEAS may be of benefit to them
- Determining the type of Home Equity Access 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 HEAS
- Dealing with any questions or queries raised by Centrelink/DVA
- Providing ongoing reporting and reviews of a senior’s cash flow needs and Home Equity Access loan level, to ensure they remain in control of the net equity in their home, and have the funds to make ends meet
My property is in the name of my private company or trust – am I still eligible?
Provided you meet the residency, pension age and property ownership criteria then if your property is owned by a closely held private company or private trust then you are still eligible for the HEAS.
There maybe additional forms that may need to be lodged in relation to the company or trust and the company or trustee will need to provide a written guarantee in relation to the HEAS debt.
Is the HEAS regulated in the same way as commercial reverse mortgage loans?
No. Based on our legal advice and discussions with DSS, Centrelink and ASIC, while the HEAS is a ‘reverse mortgage like’ scheme, the HEAS is technically a ‘welfare claim’ under the Social Security Act and therefore is not subject to the regulations applying to commercial providers of reverse mortgage loans. The exception is the ‘no negative equity guarantee’ protection, which was applied to HEAS from 1 July 2022 (and which has applied to commercial providers since 2012).
Do I need to arrange a valuation of my property?
No. Centrelink/DVA will arrange for an independent valuation of your property before your loan is approved. Centrelink/DVA pay for this valuation and not the applicant(s).
During COVID-19, to protect seniors health and safety, many valuations are being done as either desktop valuations (using averages for your style home in your area) or drive-by valuations.
If you disagree with the Centrelink/DVA valuation you can request another valuation.
Am I eligible for the Home Equity Access Scheme (HEAS)?
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 HEAS 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:
(note: at least one applicant must meet this criteria if applying for the HEAS as a Couple)
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)
Who provides the Home Equity Access Scheme?
The Australian government is the provider of the Home Equity Access 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 Home Equity Access Scheme (in various forms) since 1985. The scheme was previously known as Pension Loans Scheme (PLS) until 31 December 2021.
Do I have be on the Age Pension to be eligible for the Home Equity Access Scheme (HEAS)?
Can I make repayments and how?
Whilst there is no obligation to make any repayments of the HEAS until you either permanently vacate your property or you, or your estate, sell the property you can make voluntary repayments of some or all of the HEAS loan at any time without penalties or fees. HEAS borrowers can make repayments using a credit card, debit card or BPAY through their Centrelink online account. For those who do not have a centrelink online account you need to mail a bank cheque to Centrelink with your name and Customer Reference Number (CRN) details.
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Disclaimer: Comparison rate based on a secured loan of $150,000 over a 25 year term. WARNING: This comparison rate applies only to the example or examples given. Different amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates.
Costs such as redraw fees or early repayment fees, and cost savings such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan. ^Amounts spent will be added to your Household Loan and accrue interest like any other funds drawn via your Household Loan.