Nothing to crow about: March Age Pension increase labelled ‘inadequate’

Mar 09, 2021
Pensioners will see an increase to their fortnightly pay packets in an attempt to assist with rising living costs. Source: Getty Images.

More than five million Australians are set to receive a boost to their social security payments in March, however the increase is barely enough for age pensioners to treat themselves to a takeaway coffee each week.

From March 20, the rates for age pensioners, people on the disability support pension and carer payment recipients will increase by $8.40 a fortnight to $952.70 for singles, and $12.60 a fortnight to $1,436.20 for couples combined, inclusive of the Pension Supplement and Energy Supplement.

7News reported that Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) says the rate is still inadequate and is lobbying senators to amend a bill before parliament to be more generous.

Pension payments are reviewed biannually before March and September and assessed on indexation ruling analysing the cost of living and income levels. Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston said the increase will come into effect after indexation and will help recipients keep up with changes in living costs.

“Indexation is one of the regular mechanisms we have built into our social security safety net to make sure rates reflect the prices payment recipients see at the supermarket and at the bowser,” she said.

A total of 2.6 million age pensioners, 750,000 people on the disability support pension and 295,000 carer payment recipients will receive the increase, which comes on top of additional support provided by the Morrison Government throughout the pandemic.

“The fourth and final Economic Support Payment started being paid on 1 March – delivering an extra $250 to over five million Australians,” Ruston said. “For pensioners alone, those four payments over the last 12 months total $7 billion. Between these Economic Support Payments and the latest indexation, we are delivering more support to Australians who need it most.”

The five million Australians mentioned includes 1.4 million JobSeeker Payment recipients and 244,000 Parenting Payment Single recipients, whose payments (pending legislation) will be increased again by $50 on April 1, 2021.

The rate for JobSeeker for recipients aged 22 and over without children will increase by $5.10 a fortnight to $579.60 for singles, and $4.60 a fortnight to $523.30 for each member of a couple – including the energy supplement.

Parenting payment single recipients will receive an additional $7.10 a fortnight to $812.20, including the pension supplement and energy supplement.

Rent assistance and other supplementary payments will also rise, while increases to a range of income and assets test limits will mean that recipients will be able to have higher income and assets before their payment is impacted.

Full details of the new rates and thresholds are available here.

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your financial or legal situation, objectives or needs. That means it’s not financial product or legal advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a financial or legal decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get independent, licensed financial services or legal advice.

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