$2.10: Do you call THAT a pension increase?

If you’re a pensioner like me, you would have been looking forward to the pension increases that occurred last week, if only to see if you’d get more than the standard couple of bucks. And like so many my pension didn’t really go up – unless you can call $4.40 a fortnight something to celebrate.

Now, it might sound like I’m whinging. I know I must sound like an old fuddy duddy, shaking my cane about not getting more money from the government. I’m actually very grateful that our government gives us a pension, as I’d be on the streets otherwise, but what I’m disappointed by is how our bi-annual increase is little more than some chump change.

I know that the twice-yearly pension changes are caused by an increase in the cost of living, i.e. food, housing, health, clothing and transport, but I don’t know why we’re told we should be grateful for any extra money when it really is just a tiny bit more. If you have no superannuation like me, you rely on the pension to get you by. Having around $400 to live on a week doesn’t exactly leave you with a lot when you have a mortgage or rent to pay, not to mention want to enjoy your life.

I would work if I could. I’m 61 and I didn’t plan to retire until I was 65. It was only when I was in a car accident at 57 that I couldn’t work any longer. I want more than anything to work but I’m in chronic pain and my husband is my full time carer. The car accident took away everything from me and I ploughed through any savings I had due to appointments and mobility equipment. I long for that life before my accident but I know I can’t bring it back, I just want to enjoy life now and I’m getting out more and more, but my pension restricts me. Having the two of us at home every day is really a drain on our money and my husband can’t gain an income elsewhere.

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$2.10 extra per week is insulting to someone like me, and I know there’s many others in my situation who want to work, who want to be independent from government money but we can’t. Even if I was able-bodied I would probably not be able to get a job – I know over 60s with three degrees and a doctorate and they can’t even get work. We face so much adversity, yet the government doesn’t seem to be listening. Help us, because the pension isn’t. I fear not being able to enjoy my life because I’m constantly scrimping and saving. I fear being homeless if the pension has any sort of dramatic change.

I’m a real pensioner, just like millions of other Australians. We want you to hear us, or at the very least make sure none of the future generations end up like this.


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