South Australia has the most generous social housing requirements. Image – Canva.
  • Income limits have fallen by about 30%
  • Asset limits have been smashed significantly - to 10% of what they were previously
  • In theory, SA couples with up to $616K in assets were eligible for social housing

As a measure to ensure social housing is available to the most vulnerable, the South Australian government has today slashed income and asset limits.

In a statement, the South Australian government said it has the most generous criteria for social housing in the nation, and the changes will now bring it in line with other states and territories.

It should be noted the reforms don’t result in anyone already in social housing losing their tenancy.

In terms of income, the limit for a single household income is now $715.05 per week – a near 30% decline compared to the previous level of $1,023.36.

For couples, the limit is now $1,112.30 – compared to $1,338.24 – with a $1747.90 for households with children – although the number of children doesn’t change the amount.

The asset limits, however, have witnessed the greatest tightening of limits.

For single households, the asset limit is now $48,250 – a far cry from the $482,500 that was previously allowed.

For couples, this is $61,600 – compared to $616,000.

The South Australian government added the criteria was cut following extensive consultation with the community housing sector and tenant bodies.

It is argued the new asset limits mean for those who own a car, have some savings or/and modest assets can still be eligible for social housing.

Michelle Lensink, the Minister for Human Services, said reform in the social housing arena was long overdue.

Under the previous arrangements, South Australian couples with up to $616,000 in assets could access social housing – significantly more than the metropolitan Adelaide median house price of $540,000 recorded during the June quarter.

Ms Lensink acknowledged this was limit was too high.

“Social housing should be a safety net for our most vulnerable and that’s exactly why we are drastically reducing income and asset social housing eligibility criteria,” she said.

“The old, overly generous social housing eligibility criteria means we were not targeting our services to those most in need.”

Michelle Lensink, Minister for Human Services

South Australians who don’t meet the new limits may still be able to register for social housing if they have a high housing need – such as those experiencing domestic and family violence, those living with disabilities and the elderly on fixed incomes.

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