Pension up but ‘not enough’

Pension up but ‘not enough’

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From September 20, the age pension, veteran payment, disability support pension and carer payment will be increased but National Seniors Australia chief advocate Ian Henschke said it was not enough.

The maximum rate of the single age pension will rise by $32.70 per fortnight (taking it from $1064 to $1096.70) and for couples, by $49.40 per fortnight (taking their combined payment from $1604 to $1653.40).

Mr Henschke said under the current system pensioners are still behind, especially when inflation is unusually high.

Several other government payments will also be increased on September20  in line with announcements made in the May Budget.

Single JobSeeker Payment recipients will receive a base payment of $749.20 per fortnight, a $56.10 increase.

For JobSeeker recipients aged 55-59 unemployed for more than 9 months, the payment increase will be $96.10 per fortnight.

Commonwealth Rent Assistance will increase by 15 per cent with the maximum rate for a single renter to rise by $27.60 to $184.80 per fortnight, for a couple by $26 to $174.

“It’s a good start but more needs to be done to help renters,” Mr Henschke said.

“We recently heard from a couple paying $920 a fortnight in rent. As pensioners, this leaves them with only $907.40 a fortnight to pay for food, fuel, utilities, and other expenses.”

Income limits for eligibility for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card are increasing by $5400 to $95,400 per annum for singles and by $8,640 to $152,640 for couples combined.

With deeming rates frozen for two years, more self-funded retirees could now be eligible for concessions.

“More can be done to support older people doing it tough. As recent National Seniors research showed, a greater proportion of people with low incomes and those who are renting are suffering from cost-of-living pressures,” Mr Henschke said.

“For example, 39 per cent of older renters told us they were experiencing severe cost-of-living impacts compared to only 11 per cent of older homeowners.

“What we need is additional targeted support for people with limited means and to stop punishing those who need to work.”