There’s good news for the millions of Australians receiving the Age Pension and welfare payments this month as the rates are set to increase again from September 20.
While the base pension rates will rise, there will also be a boost to welfare payments such as Newstart, Widow, Partner and Sickness Allowance, offering much-needed support to Aussies relying on the fortnightly payments to get by.
According to the latest indexation rates, fortnightly Age Pension payments will increase by $7.20 to $933.40 for singles and by $10.80 a fortnight to $1407 for couples combined – with both figures including Pension Supplement and Energy Supplement.
Elsewhere, those receiving Newstart Allowance, Widow Allowance, Partner Allowance and Sickness Allowance on a fortnightly basis will also see a small increase too. For a single person aged 60 or over, after nine months, the payments will increase by $3.60 to $604.70 – the same amount as a single person, 22 or over, with children. Those in the same age bracket without kids will see a boost of $3.30 to $559. Meanwhile, members of a couple will see an increase of $3 a fortnight to $504.70 each.
Every March and September, payment rates for pensions and allowances are adjusted. The pension increases are linked to prices and wages and allowances are linked to the Consumer Price Index.
Currently, the Age Pension’s income test permits pensioners to earn no more than $174 per fortnight before their pension payments are impacted, according to the Department of Human Services’ website. While couples can take home $308 a fortnight (combined) before incurring any reductions.
There’s a boost to rental assistance too as a single person with no children will see a small increase of $0.80 to a round $138 per fortnight, while a single person sharing will have an increase of $0.53 to take them to a fortnightly payment of $92.
Couples without children will receive a fortnightly payment of $130 each – up by $0.80 – while partners who have been temporarily separated and don’t have children will see the same increase. Elsewhere, partners who have been separated by illness who don’t have children will get $138 each – up by the same amount.
The rate of Rent Allowance you receive is dependent upon your individual circumstances, as well as the amount you are paying to live in your home. For example if you are single your fortnightly rent must be at least $123.20 to qualify. For single Australians to receive the maximum Rent Assistance payment of $138 every two weeks, their rent must be $307.20 or more per fortnight.
The figures differ for single sharers and couples, including couples who may be separated temporarily perhaps due to illness. Couples must pay combined rent of at least $372.73 per fortnight to receive the maximum fortnightly Rent Assistance payment of $130. The figures also change if you have dependent children living with you.
And of course not everyone fits Centrelink’s cookie cutter mould, for example those who pay board and lodging are advised to call Centrelink to discuss their eligibility. If you do pay board and lodging, your claim will be assessed purely on the amount you pay for lodging alone. And if you’re unsure, this will be worked out as two thirds of the total amount you pay.
It is also worth noting that the amount of Rent Assistance you receive may change, for example if your rent payments go up or down, you move house or your family circumstances change. The amount of Rent Assistance is also updated twice a year by the government in line with the Consumer Price Index. To find out all of the increases, visit the Department of Social Services’ website here.