Home loans for Centrelink recipients

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Centrelink recipients still have a wide range of choices when taking the step toward owning their own home.Home loans for centrelink recipients

Obtaining a home loan through a traditional bank is challenging for those receiving Centrelink benefits. If you do your research, however, you will find that receiving Centrelink benefits doesn’t necessarily mean you have to give up the dream of owning your own home.

You'll need to do some research or contact a mortgage broker to find out which lenders accept Centrelink benefits as your sole source of income.

It’s important to note that some payments are considered more permanent than others by lenders, and can help you build a case for your home loan application.

How does a mortgage for people on Centrelink work?

A home loan that is designed for a Centrelink recipient works in the same basic way as a home loan offered to other Australians, in that money is borrowed and paid back with interest. One of the major differences is that the application process may be more difficult, because you’re trying to find a lender who understands your situation. These lenders will allow certain Centrelink benefits to be counted as income. Other types of information will be used by the lender to decide whether the applicant will be capable of making timely monthly repayments.

A Centrelink recipient will need to be specific about which benefits they are receiving and for how much. Centrelink recipients who already own a home can also use this type of loan to refinance their current home loan.

Jane is currently receiving Centrelink benefits and applies for a home loan

Jane is a divorced mother of two children, who in addition to income from her job receives Centrelink benefits in the form of Child Support. After saving for five years she felt confident that she had the money needed for a deposit and began to investigate home loan lenders who would be willing to consider her Centrelink benefits as a reliable source of income.

Jane calculated what she could borrow based on her income alone and found that she would only be able to look at homes that cost around $396,000. Once she added the additional $200 she received weekly through her Centrelink benefit that number jumped to over $415,000. Since her children were still young, she was able to find a bank that met her in the middle and allowed her to borrow $400,000 to purchase a new home.

What are the risks?

  • Overapplying. Be sure that you do your research before you begin applying for a home loan if you are including Centrelink benefits as income. Too many rejected applications will further damage your credit history.
  • Ensure you can make your loan repayments. While the idea of owning a home may be enticing, you should first make sure you're able to take on that type of financial commitment. It may be a good idea to try smaller personal loans at first to help build your credit and possibly qualify for a loan with lower rates later on.

Pros and cons of getting a home loan while receiving Centrelink benefits

Pros
  • Accessibility. A home loan that has been structured for Centrelink recipients gives them an opportunity that many lenders are not willing to afford them.
Cons
  • Harder to qualify for. Lenders will be strict about which types of Centrelink payments are considered income. For example, if you receive rent assistance, that cannot be considered as the funds are designated for a specific payment and are not disposable income. See below to find out which types of Centrelink benefits lenders will accept.

Is your Centrelink benefit accepted by lenders?

Not all Centrelink benefits will be considered by a lender as an acceptable form of extra income. Those that are designated for a specific purpose, such as for pharmaceuticals, will not be added to your monthly earnings. Others may be considered, but only under certain conditions. The information below is a general guide only. Please remember that each lender might treat the below benefits in different ways:

Age pensionYesAge pension will only be considered as a secondary form of income. You must have another source of earnings in addition to the benefit.
Carer’s AllowanceYesThis type of benefit will require that you have an additional source of income. Earnings from a job would be your primary source, while the allowance is considered supplemental.
Child SupportYesYou will need to provide documentation including the Family Law Court Order, bank statements showing a steady deposit history, a letter from your solicitor and a letter obtained from the Child Support Agency (CSA).
Disability PensionYesIf you receive a disability pension you will need to show proof of a second source of income.
Family Tax BenefitsYesThis applies if you are receiving Family Tax Benefits part A and B. Lenders will look at the age of your children before deciding if this is an acceptable form of income.
Foster Care AllowancesYesAllowances for foster care are accepted so long as you are receiving another source of income.
Overseas PensionYesOnly in the event that your pension is coming from one of the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea Republic, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland or the United States of America.
Veterans and Widows PensionYesWhile there are typically no conditions to be met, your application will be better received if you have another form of income as well.

If the benefit you receive from Centrelink is not listed on the chart above, then it may not be considered by lenders as a genuine form of income. In this case it might be best to speak to a lender directly about your options and eligibility.

What you should look for in a home loan

You have many options available to you in a home loan, even if you are receiving Centrelink benefits. To ensure that you are getting the right home loan for your circumstance make sure that you are comparing the criteria and what is being offered by different lending institutions.

  • Eligibility criteria. Certain lenders will only accept applications if you are only receiving Family Tax Benefits, while others may count a large family supplement. You will need to look at the restrictions very carefully before applying for a home loan if you are receiving Centrelink benefits. Many lenders will even look at the age of the children in your household and base part of their assessment on that information.
  • Lender. Make sure you choose a lender that you think will be understanding of your situation. You’d want a lender to look after you from the start of your mortgage to the end. In the event that you can’t make your repayments, you’d want your lender to understand why, and to know if they offer a repayment holiday.
  • Employment. In most cases, Centrelink benefits will only be considered as a secondary form of income. Check to see if you have to be employed as well. If you're filling out a joint application, make sure you determine if your partner needs to hold a steady job.
  • Interest rates. Due to your unique circumstances, lenders may attempt to take advantage by offering home loans at a higher rate. Compare rates from lender to lender to make sure you are getting the best deal.
  • Extra fees. A lender may impose extra fees for the paperwork involved in considering Centrelink benefits as a second form of income. Read the fee charts carefully and calculate what yours will be for each lender that you are interested in.

Don’t let the pension get in the way of getting a loan

Frequently asked questions about taking out a home loan with Centrelink benefits

First you should get in touch with a few lenders or a mortgage broker to discuss your options and eligibility. After you’ve found a lender who is willing to assist, you can proceed with the regular application process. Note that you will need to provider extra information about your income.

This will depend on your income, combined with the income from your Centrelink benefit. Your other expenses will also be considered. You can use our borrowing power calculator to give you an indication.

Shirley Liu

Shirley is finder.com.au's publisher for banking and investments. She has completed a Masters in Commerce (Finance) and is the author of hundreds of articles. She is passionate about helping Aussies make an informed decision, save money and find the best deal for their needs.

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78 Responses to Home loans for Centrelink recipients

  1. Default Gravatar
    Bree | June 16, 2017

    I’m on Centrelink benefit family tax A and B. I pay 800 a month in rent for a housing commission.

    • Staff
      Rench | June 17, 2017

      Hi Bree,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      You can still apply for a home loan even when you are receiving Centrelink benefits. Please visit this page to get helpful info and compare your options. You can also make use of our loan calculator from there to give you an idea on how much you can borrow. Please click the name of your preferred lender to find out the details and the minimum eligibility of the lender. You may then click the green “Go to Site” or “Enquire Now” button to submit your loan application online.

      Before applying for any loan, please ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria and requirements of the loan option or lender and make sure to read the details, as well as the relevant PDS/ T&Cs of the loan option before making a decision and consider whether the product or option is right for you.

      Hope this helps.

      Best regards,
      Rench

  2. Default Gravatar
    dee | May 3, 2017

    when applying for a home loan what expenses do you have to disclose eg. health cover, child care, loans

    • Staff
      Anndy | May 3, 2017

      Hi Dee,

      Thanks for your question.

      When you apply for a home loan, generally, you’ll have to disclosed your credit information including your personal and car loan repayment per month, total credit card limit and number of dependents among others. Other types of home loans may require other information so they can assess your capacity to pay for the mortgage.

      If you are interested to know your borrowing power, you can use our calculator on this page.

      You may want to get in touch with a mortgage broker who can give you more information on the needed information depending on the lender.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

  3. Default Gravatar
    Jay | April 21, 2017

    I want to buy land to live at first in a caravan on, then later perhaps in a non DA tiny house kit home.I receive the full DSP and have capacity to work a little to recieve maxamin allowable amount of $80 per week without affecting my DSP payments. I have saved 20% deposit and can afford a $900 abouts a month morgage. I have been to 3 banks and 1 lender and no help. Do you think I can find a lender and if so could you suggest someone?

    • Staff
      Anndy | May 7, 2017

      Hi Jay,

      Thanks for your question.

      Generally, a home loan that is designed for a Centrelink recipient works in the same basic way as a home loan offered to other Australians, but with a more difficult application process.

      If you are looking to buy a land, you may compare vacant land home loans here.

      Alternatively, you may also get in touch with a mortgage broker who will consider your personal circumstances and help you find a suitable home loan option for your specific situation.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

  4. Default Gravatar
    tj | April 20, 2017

    I own outright a unit- value $820 000 in Sydney.
    I want to get a line of credit to pay off some credit cards and do some renovations- $60 000. I currently receive Carer Payment, Carer Allowance, Family Tax Benefit A and B. I also work part time and earn about $20 000 per year.
    Is this possible to do?

    • Staff
      Harold | May 4, 2017

      Hi Tj,

      In general, applying for a credit card while you are receiving a Carers benefits are handled on a case by case basis by banks/ lenders. Your application requirements on each credit card provide an indicator to whether you are eligible to apply. For any further inquiries can coordinate to the bank directly either through customer service centre or local branch. For a list of providers that you might be interested in, you may want to consider the options provided on this page.

      I hope this information has helped.

      Cheers,
      Harold

  5. Default Gravatar
    Joanne | April 7, 2017

    Hi, I currently have a home loan of 146000 and would like to refinance and borrow extra to finish renovating my home. I am a Single parent who’s child is 8 and I earn approx 38000 per year. Would banks consider me for a refinance loan. Property is valued by council at 365000.

    • Staff
      Anndy | April 13, 2017

      Hi Joanne,

      Thanks for your question.

      Some lenders may consider you for a loan but subject to stricter eligibility criteria. Unfortunately, we don’t have a comparison page for banks that may consider you. You’ll need to contact the lenders you are interested in or get in touch with a mortgage broker to find out which lenders accept Centrelink benefits as your sole source of income.

      You may also check our single parent home loan guide to know your options.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

  6. Default Gravatar
    Rebekah | February 27, 2017

    How do i apply? I receive the family tax benefit part A and B i receive Child support?

    • Staff
      Anndy | February 28, 2017

      Hi Rebekah,

      Thanks for your question.

      If you are receiving Family Tax Benefit, certain lenders will accept your application even if you don’t have other source of income, while others may count a large family supplement. Normally, lenders will also look at the age of the children in your household and base part of their assessment on that information.

      You also mentioned receiving child support, in that case, you will need to provide documentation including the Family Law Court Order, bank statements showing a steady deposit history, a letter from your solicitor and a letter obtained from the Child Support Agency (CSA).

      You can compare home loan products on this page. Please check the related terms and conditions of the home loan product before clicking the ‘go to site’ button to submit an application.

      Alternatively, you may also consider getting advice from a mortgage broker on which home loan product is more suitable for your situation.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

  7. Default Gravatar
    ishtiaq.ahmed | February 11, 2017

    I am on Dsp pension my wife on carer allowance and pension and I have 9 years old student daughter which I received family benefit received fortnightly from Centrelink and after 2 months I am around 3000 from job I am new and first home buyer with no minimum deposit . can I buy house and home loan under above circumstances thanks

    • Staff
      Anndy | February 12, 2017

      Hi Ishtiaq,

      Thanks for your question.

      Based on the information above, those who are receiving disability pension and carer’s allowance and generally required by lenders to show proof of a second source of income.

      On the other hand, those receiving Family Tax Benefits part A and B may be accepted, but the lenders will look at the age of your child/children before deciding if this is an acceptable form of income.

      Unfortunately, as we do not represent any financial institution, we can’t assess if you can or cannot qualify for a home loan. You may want to get in touch with a mortgage broker to discuss your situation and borrowing needs as they can assist you in finding a suitable home loan product.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

  8. Default Gravatar
    helen | November 25, 2016

    Hi there. I am a 38 yr female on a disability pension due to multiple sclerosis. I own my home outright and owe nothing on it. I need some renovations to make my life easier. Could i get a loan to assist with renovations

    • Staff
      Harold | November 25, 2016

      Hello Helen,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      There are providers that offer loans for house renovation.

      1. Before you compare different providers that offer loans for house renovation you may want to read this article for your guide to successful home renovations.

      2. Here are your options for where you can review different providers that offer loans for house renovation.

      I hope this information has helped.

      Cheers,
      Harold

  9. Staff
    Anndy | November 14, 2016

    Hi Dorothea,

    Thanks for your question.

    If you are receiving Centrelink pensions, please note that not all Centrelink benefits will be considered by a lender as an acceptable form of extra income. Kindly refer to our list above to know if your benefit is accepted by lenders.

    You can then compare home loans here.

    You may also consider getting advice from a mortgage broker who will consider your personal circumstance in finding home loan options.

    Cheers,
    Anndy

  10. Default Gravatar
    Mary | November 5, 2016

    Hi,
    I’m a single mother of one and earn a reasonable income. I’m wondering about going for a mortgage with my mother who is in receipt of an age pension. She lives with us already. Would a lender take account of her pension in determining how much money we could borrow?

    Thanks

    • Staff
      Jason | November 6, 2016

      Hi Mary,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      Some lenders will treat age pension as an acceptable form of extra income and that may also be taken into account to determine how much you can loan from the loan provider. Please note that each lender has their own lending policy which will take into account a range of factors, including income, assets, debts and liabilities to decide the amount that they can lend to you.

      It would be good idea to speak to a mortgage broker for this concern. A broker will compare your options and suggest the best loan for you, and will usually not cost you anything, as they receive a commission from your lender. They can also help with the paperwork.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Jason

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