Home Equity Access Scheme

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This page explains what the Home Equity Access Scheme (HEAS) is, who is eligible and how you can apply.

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What is the Home Equity Access Scheme

The Home Equity Access Scheme (HEAS) is a voluntary scheme for older Australians. You or your partner can use this scheme to supplement your retirement income through a loan from DVA.

You can apply for non-taxable loan payments from us by using your property as security.

You choose how long you want to receive loan payments. It could be for a short time for particular expenses, or indefinitely. You can repay the loan in full or part at any time.

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Who is eligible

To be eligible for a loan under the HEAS, you must be one of the following:

  • a veteran who has reached qualifying age and is eligible for service pension
  • a partner of a veteran who is eligible for partner service pension where the veteran has reached qualifying age
  • a widow(er) or ex-partner of a veteran who has reached pension age and is eligible for partner service pension
  • a war widow(er) who has reached qualifying age and is eligible for income support supplement
  • entitled to receive an age pension from us.

You also need to have property in Australia you can offer as security for the loan.

You cannot be bankrupt or subject to a personal insolvency agreement (PIA).

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What you can use as security

You can offer real estate which you and/or your partner own in Australia as security. This includes the home you live in. If your property is owned with someone who is not your partner, jointly or as tenants in common, we may not accept the property as security for the loan. 

When you apply for the loan, DVA will arrange for the property to be valued. If the loan goes ahead we will arrange for ongoing annual valuations of the property.

We register a debt against the property. You will need to pay for the cost for this. You can choose to either pay this amount up front or add it to the total loan amount.

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How much you can receive each fortnight

Your combined loan and pension payment each fortnight can be up to 150% of your maximum pension rate.

If your pension changes, your loan payments will automatically adjust. This makes sure it doesn’t go over the 150% of your pension rate, or the payment rate you choose.

If you don’t receive a pension you can access up to the maximum amount of the Home Equity Access Scheme as a loan payment.

You can receive loan payments until your total loan balance reaches your maximum loan amount. This includes interest and costs.

Example:

John is a single pensioner who currently receives $120 service pension per fortnight.

150% of the maximum single rate service pension $1,481.40 
Less service pension John receives $120.00
Equals amount of HEAS loan payable $1,361.40

John can receive a HEAS loan of up to $1,361.40 per fortnight. This is in addition to the $120.00 of service pension he already receives.

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Your maximum loan amount

The maximum loan amount you can receive depends on:

  • the value of the property you offer as security
  • your nominated amount i.e. the equity you want to keep in the property
  • your age.

You can choose to offer the whole value of your property as security or choose an amount which allows you to keep some equity in the property. We refer to this amount as the nominated amount. We do not include the nominated amount when we calculate your maximum loan amount.

For example, if your property is valued at $500,000 and you nominate $90,000, we base the maximum loan amount on the remaining $410,000.

When you reach your maximum loan amount we stop making loan payments to you. We will ask whether you want to change the value of your nominated amount.

The loan will incur interest each fortnight until it is repaid in full. This means your loan balance can increase above your maximum loan amount.

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Taking part as a lump sum

You can request to receive a portion of your fortnightly loan payments as a lump sum. This is capped at 50% of your annual maximum pension rate. Any lump sum you receive will reduce the fortnightly loan payments you can receive over the following 12 months.

If you want to request a lump sum payment you need to complete the Advance Payment Request form.

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How is interest calculated

Interest is calculated fortnightly each pension pay day. It is based on the amount of loan payments you received plus accrued interest, less any repayments.

The interest rates are published in the Australian Government Gazette. The current interest rate for the HEAS is 3.95%per annum.

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Selling or transferring ownership of your home

If you want to sell or transfer your home you will need to repay your HEAS loan in full. If your loan balance exceeds the value of your equity in the secured property, you will not need to repay more than the value of the secured asset.

If you die, we usually recover any outstanding loan from your estate. Interest will accrue until the loan is repaid. If you have a surviving partner who is eligible, they can choose to stay in the scheme. If they do, we will continue to make loan payments to them. On their death we will recover the loan from the estate.

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HEAS and the Pension Concession Card

Having a HEAS loan does not entitle you to a DVA treatment or concession card. 

Go to Veteran Cards for more information and to find out if you are eligible for other DVA benefits.

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How to apply

To apply for a HEAS loan you need to complete one of the following forms:

Email us your completed form to Income.Support.New.Claim.Enquiries.QLD [at] dva.gov.au or mail to GPO Box 9998 Brisbane QLD 4001.

Once we receive the form we may contact you to ensure you are aware of the terms and conditions associated with payment of the loan and its recovery.

If you need further information you can contact us on 1800 VETERAN (1800 838 372) and say ‘Home Equity Access Scheme’ when we ask why you’re calling.

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