Retirees crying out for Age Pension support from their super funds

Aug 31, 2022
Of those surveyed, 70 per cent claimed they wanted direct support from their super fund in accessing the age pension. Source: Getty Images.

Retirees are calling on their superannuation funds to offer much-needed support accessing the age pension to ensure a healthy retirement, according to recent research commissioned by Link Advice.

The Retirement Reality: Advice and the Age Pension whitepaper, which examined the retirement needs of approximately 1,000 Australians aged 65 to 75, found that 70 per cent of those surveyed claimed they wanted direct support from their super fund in accessing the age pension, and 4 out of 5 retirees reported wishing to access that support as soon as they are eligible for the pension.

Link Advice General Manager Duncan McPherson pointed to “the combination of the challenges navigating the process and delaying the application for the Age Pension can create a real cost to retirees’ outcomes and entitlements” which could “potentially” impact “their quality of life going into retirement”.

“What is positive is that 7 out of 10 retirees want their super fund to provide more retirement and Age Pension support. The trust is there and the opportunity to help is huge,” McPherson said.

The whitepaper’s findings lined up with the Government’s Retirement Income Covenant (RIC) which requires superannuation fund trustees to provide support to members by offering a retirement strategy.

Director of Retirement Essentials, Jeremy Duffield said “retirees just can’t afford to miss out on any benefits” due to more time being spent in retirement and no back pay being offered on the Age Pension.

“That’s why we think it’s so important for super funds to offer help and education about the Age Pension while keeping member needs front of mind,” he said.

In light of the whitepaper’s findings and the growing calls to make managing retirement simpler, McPherson stressed that “there are numerous opportunities for funds to make the transition into retirement easier through more accessible and affordable advice and guidance options”.

“By considering the entire journey and more complete needs of members today, we can create a better retirement tomorrow for everyone,” he said.

The discussion around making the transition into retirement easier comes after retirees were recently dealt a devastating blow when the Association of Super Funds of Australia (ASFA) revealed that retirees will now need to spend more in order to retire “comfortably”.

The ASFA Retirement Standard June quarter 2022 figures, released on Thursday, August 18, found couples aged around 65 now need to spend $66,725 per year to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle in retirement while singles would be met with an annual cost of $47,383.

These figures indicate a jump of 2.0 per cent for couples and a 1.9 per cent rise for singles from the previous quarter.

budget table
Budgets for various households and living standards for those aged around 65 (June quarter 2022, national). Source: Association of Super Funds of Australia

ASFA Deputy CEO, Glen McCrea pointed to the “ever-increasing health costs” that retirees are faced with as a major contributor to the increased cost of retirement.

Costs associated with healthcare aren’t the only expenses impacting retirees with increases in non-discretionary items such as groceries and fuel hitting seniors’ hip pockets.

According to ASFA, The price of fuel has shot up 32.1 per cent over the last year while vegetables and beef have seen increases of 14.6 per cent and 9.4 per cent respectively. Even a daily cup of tea has been impacted with a 9.3 per cent price hike on coffee and tea products.


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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