There’s some bad news for Australians who rely on the Age Pension this week as it has now been confirmed that the payment will not increase as usual in September.
The Age Pension sum is adjusted in March and September each year in line with indexation, along with the JobSeeker payment, as well as the Widow, Partner and Sickness Allowance..
However, due to a drop in the consumer price index, likely as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the scheduled rise will not take place next month, and pensioners will have to wait until February next year to find out if indexation will go ahead in March 2021.
Nathan Williamson, from the Department of Social Services, confirmed the news to a senate inquiry on Tuesday. He said: “Based on the calculation for indexation, if it’s negative we don’t reduce the pension but we also don’t increase it.”
The current rate of pension, following the last increase in March, is $944.30 for single pensioners, and $711.80 each for couples. While the pension supplement increased to $24.90 for singles and couples who are separated, and $28.20 each for couples.
Senator Anne Ruston also addressed the senate committee and discussed the JobSeeker payment. The minister said she is unsure how the unemployment benefit will be affected in the long-term, after the coronavirus pandemic.
Prior to the outbreak of Covid-19, JobSeeker – formerly known as Newstart – paid out at a rate of $40 per day, however Senator Ruston said it is too soon to say whether it will return to that rate.
“Right now I don’t know whether we’re going to have a situation where we have clarity around what post-coronavirus Australia is going to look like by the end of the year or not,” she said. “I don’t have a crystal ball.”
Starts at 60 has contacted the Department of Social Services for comment.
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