‘Too little, too late’: Seniors weigh in on the recent age pension increase

Mar 25, 2023
The increase in the age pension is expected to alleviate financial strain for retired individuals, however many felt it wasn't enough. Source: Getty Images.

It’s anticipated that the recent rise in age pension payouts will provide relief for the financial burdens experienced by numerous retired individuals who have been struggling to cope with the rising cost of living.

Those on the age pension were among the over 4.7 million Centrelink recipients who received a boost to their social security payments when indexation of their payments occurred on Monday, March 20, 2023.

Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, or Carer Payment recipients received a fortnightly boost of $37.50, while couples together received an additional $56.40.

The maximum fortnightly rate of pension will increase to $1064 for singles and $1604 for couples, including Pension Supplement and Energy Supplement.

Minister for Social Services, Amanda Rishworth, said the Government knows that Australians “are feeling the pinch” and the increase will support those in need.

“Indexation is a pillar of our social security system and we want more money in the pockets of everyday Australians so they can better afford essentials,” Rishworth said.

“The increase is an important part of the system and helps those doing it toughest.”

Source: Getty Images.

Rishworth’s optimism regarding the recent increase offered little comfort to our Starts at 60 readers, with many feeling the increase was not enough to cover the increasing expenses associated with day-to-day living.

Susan* felt that the increase “still doesn’t really help those single pensioners”.

“Rates, Insurances, rent/mortgages all still the same whether one person or two,” she said.

Although Cheryl* was “grateful” for her pension she did admit to “tightening the belt as so many items & costs have gone up and the interest on any savings is nothing to write home about either”.

Christine* explained that “while any increase is gladly accepted” with rises in rent, power, and food the age pension “does not cover how fast inflation is moving.

“It’s becoming to expensive to live,” she added.

Gail* said the increase was “greatly appreciated” but agreed with others that it didn’t meet rising expenses.

“If the Government thinks that $18.75 per week covers rising costs, they are living in pixie land,” Gail said.

After the move was announced, Michael* asked “why is it always, too little, too late, too often??”

For all those who took umbrage with the rise, there were several who had a more positive view.

Pauline* held the view that it “may not be much but it’s better than nothing. Be thankful for small mercies.”

Lynne* was grateful to get any increase, revealing she wasn’t one to complain.

“I am grateful for what I get, I don’t whinge and complain about it like so many others do,” Lynne said.

While Suzie* said, “they don’t get much in USA be grateful for what we get here.”

Council on the Ageing (COTA) Australia Chief Executive Officer, Patricia Sparrow shared similar sentiments to the majority of over 60s, claiming that a small rise in the aged pension will not suffice for many older Australians and that there is an urgent requirement for additional measures such as enhanced rental assistance to assist seniors in dealing with financial pressures.

“A boost to the pension is certainly welcomed, especially at a time when so many older Australians are doing it tough, but it’s certainly not going to solve all of our problems at once,” Sparrow said.

“The pension increase will go some way to easing the pain many people are feeling at the moment. However, the age pension is designed to ensure that no older Australian lives in poverty and with things like rent skyrocketing over and above CPI, small increases to the pension simply aren’t enough for many people.

“Every little bit helps, but we need to be looking at how we can support older Australians better.”

The age pension is the most common form of income support available to those aged 65 and over. According to the latest data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, as of March 26 2021, approximately 2.6 million people received the age pension or 62 per cent of the population aged 65 and over.

You can find out what payments and services you are entitled to via the Services Australia website.

*surnames have been removed for privacy reasons.

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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