It will be a merrier Christmas for millions of older Australians all over the country as Centrelink boosts pension payments in time for December festivities.
The increased payments were awarded back in September but are hitting bank accounts this week, just as Queensland reopens its borders to New South Wales residents after five long months of closure and as Australians hit the shops en-masse to buy up for the Christmas season.
In the biggest boost since 2014, the federal government has increased payments to keep up with inflation and the cost of living, particularly, to help older Australians.
‘We are ensuring pensioners maintain their purchasing power in the economy, which is bouncing back strongly,’ Social Services Minister Anne Ruston said during the initial announcement.
The maximum age pension for a single person has increased by $14.80 for a grand total of $967.50 a fortnight, while couples will enjoy the benefits of receiving an extra $22.40 combined. Annual pension rates are now $25,155 for a single person and $37,923 for couples.
National Seniors Australia told 7News that the increase should be a “reminder” for older Australians to check what concessions they’re eligible for.
“I urge all pensioners and self-funded retirees to use our Concessions Calculator to see what discounts they can get,” National Seniors Chief Advocate Ian Henschke said.
Jobseeker and other social security allowances have also increased by $11.90 a fortnight, with parenting payment and rent assistance also receiving a boost.
According to government figures, there are currently around 2.6 million Australians on the age pension.
This year’s payment increase has been the largest since 2014.