Asset testing

From 1 July 2019, asset thresholds for Residential Care Subsidy  are as follows:

  • $230,495 for a single or widowed person in care
  • $230,495 for a couple with both partners in care
  • $126,224 for a couple with one partner in care (house and car remain exempt). Couples can choose to be tested under the $230,495 threshold, but the house and car will not be exempt.

Asset thresholds increase on July 1st every year. 

Income testing

A person receiving Residential Care Subsidy is required to contribute income toward the cost of care. This includes NZ Super, pensions and other sources of income.  A small amount of income from assets is exempt. Earnings of a partner in paid employment, NZ War Disablement pension and 50% of private super schemes are not counted as income.


You are required to complete a declaration of assets sold or gifted and you will need to provide trust documents if you have set up a trust. In some cases, assets you have transferred to a trust can still be counted as yours. Work and Income will require more information if you or your spouse/partner have ever transferred or sold assets to a trust,  been the settlor, trustee or beneficiary of a trust.

Pre-paid funeral trusts

Pre-paid funeral expenses up to $10,000 for each partner are not counted as assets by Work and Income. The trust must be a Work and Income approved trust, you can check with them on 0800 999 727.


The rules relating to gifting for someone who applies for Residential Care Subsidy are quite different to those used by Inland Revenue. Discuss with Work and Income Residential Subsidy Unit on 0800 999 727.

Residential care loan

Your home counts as an asset for single people or couples where both are in long term residential care. If you are not financially eligible for Residential Care Subsidy, have other assets of $15,000 (per person) or less, you can apply for an interest-free Residential Care Loan [PDF, 44 KB].  


For more information on the Residential Care Subsidy - see the Work and Income(external link) website