Home Equity Access Scheme
- What is the Home Equity Access Scheme
- Who is eligible
- What you can use as security for the loan
- How can you receive the loan
- How is the interest calculated
- Supporting documents
- Further information and how to apply
What is the Home Equity Access Scheme
The Home Equity Access Scheme (previously known as the Pension Loans Scheme) lets eligible older Australians access the equity in their home or other Australian real estate through an Australian Government loan.
Participants in the Scheme can choose to receive fortnightly payments to supplement their regular income. There is also an option to receive lump sum advance payments to help with unexpected expenses or fund one-off extras.
Participation is voluntary. Repayments are not compulsory during the loan period but can be made at any time. The debt is generally recovered upon the sale of the secured property (unless it is transferred to a new property) or from the person’s estate.
Compound interest is charged on a person’s Scheme debt and will accumulate throughout the life of the loan.
A no negative equity guarantee ensures participants will not need to repay more than the equity in the property they used to secure their loan.
You should read the 'what do to before you apply' page on the Services Australia website and consider getting independent financial advice before applying. You may also want to speak to a Services Australia Financial Information Services Officer to help make an informed choice and get assistance with the application process. This is a free service.
Contact Services Australia on 13 2300 or visit the Financial Information Services Officers page on the Services Australia website.
Who is eligible
To find out if you are eligible for the Scheme, visit the 'who can get it page' on the Services Australia website.
What you can use as security for the loan
You must offer Australian real estate you own or co-own as security for the loan.
For a property to be suitable, a person must have their name on the title for the land. As loans under the Scheme are generally repaid only when the securing property is sold or out of the person’s estate, this ensures the security is likely to be adequate over the long term and that the debt can be recovered.
Learn more about the terms and conditions on the Services Australia website.
How can you receive the loan
The Scheme allows a person to access fortnightly loan payments to ‘top up’ any pension payment they receive to a maximum of 150% of the maximum fortnightly rate of Age Pension (including the pension and energy supplements, and Rent Assistance, where applicable). Maximum-rate pensioners can receive up to an extra 50% on top of their fortnightly Age Pension payment. Self-funded retirees can receive the whole 150% of the pension rate. Part-pensioners can receive an amount in between.
Participants can also access up to 2 lump sum advances in any 26-fortnight period, to a combined total of no more than 50% of the maximum annual rate of Age Pension. Any lump sum advance will reduce the maximum fortnightly loan amount a participant can take over the subsequent 26-fortnight period.
How interest is calculated
The payments will accrue as a debt secured against the participant’s nominated Australian real estate. This debt will accrue interest. You can find the Scheme’s current interest rate on the Service Australia website.
There are safeguards limiting the maximum loan a person can accrue. The total amount a person can borrow through the Scheme depends on the value of the property. It also depends on the equity they wish to keep in the property and their (or their partner’s) age.
The debt is generally recovered on the sale of the secured property (unless transferred to a new property) or from the person’s estate. Voluntary repayments can be made at any time. Learn more about managing your loan on the Services Australia website.
Home Equity Access Scheme factsheets
- Factsheet 1: Frequently asked questions
- Factsheet 2: General information
- DL brochure: Complementary information
Further information and how to apply
For more information about the Scheme including how to apply, contact Services Australia on 13 2300 or visit the Home Equity Access Scheme page on the Services Australia website.
Customers of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) may wish to visit the Home Equity Access Scheme page on the DVA website.