Almost 5 million Australians are set to benefit from the largest increase in social security payments in almost a decade as the government seeks to help recipients keep up with the rising cost of living.
Those receiving the Age Pension, Disability Support Pension and Carer Payment will, from March 20, receive an extra $20.10 a fortnight for singles to $987.60 and by $30.20 a fortnight for couples combined to $1,488.80.
Asset test limits have also been increased which will allow more senior Australians to access a part pension.
Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston said the increase was “the largest increase since 2013.”
“Pensioners will see a 2.1 per cent increase to their payments,” she said.
“This is putting money in the pockets of all Australians who rely on our social security system and, in particular, older Australians,” she said.
Senator Ruston said the increases had taken into account “the actual expenses of senior Australians.”
“It gives us a higher weighting to fuel and transport costs in recognition of their significance to pensioners, which helps ensure the rate of the age pension maintains senior Australians’ purchasing power in the economy,” she said.
Financial advice firm Tribeca Financial CEO Ryan Watson told The Australian that the current rise in the cost of food, fuel and other everyday items meant “a 2 per cent pension increase just simply doesn’t cut it” for many Australians.
The announced increase in pension payments comes as official data from consumer network One Big Switch revealed a “shocking” rise in the price of grocery products and the cost of living.
Our official cost of living data does not pass the pub test! The #truecostofliving is up to 74% higher than the Govt says.
— One Big Switch (@OneBigSwitchAU) March 1, 2022
One Big Switch examined the price of products on shelves at Woolworths and Coles and compared them from one year ago, finding a rise in the cost of meat, pantry items and drinks.
Drinks saw a price of 7.7 per cent while fruits and vegetables along with pantry items followed by close behind with a 5 per cent increase.
Meat products also saw a considerable price increase with diced beef rising by 22 per cent in cost and basic beef mince up by 14 per cent.