35,000 pensioners left high and dry as government cuts bite

Centrelink has confirmed that tens of thousands of retired teachers, nurses, police officers, firefighters and other public servants have had their

Centrelink has confirmed that tens of thousands of retired teachers, nurses, police officers, firefighters and other public servants have had their pensions either reduced or cut off entirely, leaving many struggling for money at a time when they should be able to relax and enjoy life.

Fairfax media reports that 35,000 public sector pensioners have been affected by the social service minister’s changes to their pension.

From January 1, the rules were changed so that only ten percent of income from state or federal defined benefits super schemes is exempt from public servants’ income; until now, 50 per cent of this income has been exempt from the pension assets test.

The government says the change makes the pension more fair overall, evening the playing field for public and private sector workers.

A spokesman for Christian Porter said, “This change is about ensuring fairness in how income is treated when deciding how much taxpayer income support a person should receive.

“We are fixing an unintended consequence of a previous change to enable fairer assessment of a person’s need for income support.”

However, for those affected, the new rules can hardly seem “fair”, coming out of the blue and hitting people at a time when they have most likely planned their retirement budgets based on previous rules.

National president of the Australian Council of Public Sector Retiree Organisations says these pensioners will feel the cuts on the first pension day of 2016.

“The policy seems to have been based on either a misconception or prejudice,” says Richard Griffiths, who urges pensioners to petition their local federal politicians.

The Welfare Rights Centre argues that the new rules should have been”grandfathered” to protect those who have already retired.

“The thousands of retirees who will be negatively impacted are not in a position to change their circumstances. They made retirement decisions based on the rules currently in place and are unable to reverse those decisions,” director Aaron Neal told Fairfax.

“Many of these people aren’t wealthy retirees, and the average annual income drawn from defined benefit schemes is only $27,550. Couples impacted are often living on modest incomes, so there will need to be some belt-tightening all around,” he added.

Are you affected by these changes to the pension? Do you think it’s fair to change the rules for people who have already retired? Are you nervous about what will happen to your pension in the future?

  1. I won’t be affected but with the price of shares tumbling I would be worried if I was self funded

    • Kevin it affected everyone super in the GFC, many lost thousand of $, I can’t imagine if this goes on it will be much different

    • Agree Libbi. This is why my husband got out of the stock market some years ago and we have instead invested in a start business. We will either be very rich or very poor. But at least if we lose our money we have lost it and not someone else.

    • I was talked into taking additional private superannuation and since having it I have watched its value plummet. Interest rates are low so cash in the bank is no good. We are ex public servants but have never received the age pension so these changes won’t impact us yet. We did think we’d survive on what we already have for the next fifteen years but that looks less likely every day. I expect by the time we need to seek some level of welfare help, if people are foolish enough to keep voting the Liberal Party in, we will have to have absolutely nothing to our name at all. I can’t help but think working hard and paying tax is a mugs game if when we get to the point of needing some of that money back just to live we have no chance.

    • thank you Deb and Barb sorry it took so long to get a thank you but have had some personal Problems xox

  2. Yes we are affected. Still have part pension, but a lot less. What hurts most is the retrospectivity. You work hard, you contribute to the superannuation all your working life and retire with a known income and a small part pension. Then suddenly, poof! Much of that part pension is gone. No warning – well a few weeks only. Really helps planning for your retirement.

    • Yep Robert we were all sucked in with the advent of superannuation. Hopefully those of us that suffered the most, can pass on to the rest that super is a waste of time. How many have seen their super drop dramatically in the past few weeks? Everyone Id guess. And its happened constantly over the years. Thanks Keating, for nothing.

      • My mum said it many years ago. She said they would find away to tax it. Lose it in recessions. Sell it off to banks to make you boatbuilders it use the funds themselves and lose it for you.

  3. Im not effected because I am on pension alone but it is so unfair. Why are they treating pensioners so bad.! the cost of everything will go up so everyone will be effected.

    • cost of living continually goes up and pensions dont keep pace. I used to pay 50 a fortnight for electric and telephone now it is closer to 100.also all insurances are going up every year. a necessary evil but soon we will have to cut them back.

  4. Of course ALL Pensioners will suffer, as they do now – cost of living goes up all the time while the aged pension doesn’t keep pace with these everyday increases.

    • Irene  

      Yes should be a grace period of time when rules change but most on just a pension don’t have to worry about it they just have to try and make ends meet without too much of a pension rise every year – my yearly rent rise is bigger than my pension rise so I live behind the eight ball all the time – and please remember that we are not all as fortunate as each other – some have worked very hard and had little super at the end of the day.

    • the norn we are led to believe is that everything every years go up 3 % , not sure if we all agree

  5. I don’t believe this is the finish of these cuts for pensioners..vote them out, if they get back into power they will claim a mandate and hit us again

    • Diane  

      Im afraid that even the opposition wont turn the clock back, all these politicians are in it for one thing to feather their own nests and build their own empire. They retire on Huge money so dont give a fig about those ordinary people like, Ambulance Officers, Police, Nurses, Council workers (the ones that Work I mean) They dont seem to be serious in looking in to the Dole Bludgers, We have too many on Welfare who could be doing some sort of work instead of sitting at home watching TV or playing Video Games on their X box. How they can afford that technology while getting the dole.

      • ginnyjan49  

        Diane not all welfare recipients are welfare bludgers. This is what the LNP want you to think and then blame a blow out in the budget so they can then blame the so called welfare bludgers!! Sure there are always some who abuse the system but if the LNP were serious about revenue they would tighten up Super concessions for high income earners and legislate for corporations to pay their fair share of tax like the rest of Australians.

  6. Those people PAID for those Public Service pensions — both in deductions and in remuneration foregone. When I was in the PS (decades ago), they were paying about $20K less than the going rate for someone in my position.

  7. It doesn’t affect me, however yes there will be many people who have worked hard during their life time to make this country what it is today who will be affected, this Government has a lot to answer for. I WON’T be voting for them, nor do I think many seniors or low income earners will either.

  8. This is why my husband is still working and intends to work for as long as possible. They keep changing the rules. I know people who will be affected by this.

  9. Not fair to those already retired on their previous scheme – it should be gradually introduced – if at all !

    • My husband was forceably retired and then found out that he was born one month too late to be on the scheme we planned by. Our saving time was cut short – and on top of that the rules changed after we stopped earning.

  10. Well this is what you get when a thieving scum Lib government is elected. Far right elitist PIGS who gave no conception of how the ordinary people of Australia live. Get them OUT at the next election.

    • and replace them with what??? I cant see any alternative party that would make for good govt. The Libs are the best of a bad bunch, sadly.

      • ginnyjan49  

        Wayne Ferne are you serious or delirious if you believe The LNP are the best of a bad bunch. So you think what they’re doing to pensioners and low income earners is fair? Well all I can say is you’re a rusted on Liberal voter who just doesn’t care about this country of ours. So according to you a rise in GST, higher taxes, lower pensions, high unemployment, super concessions for the rich, corporate welfare, cuts to health and education, cuts to women’s health and indigenous health, a joke of a policy for climate change, financing new coal mines, promoting 457 visas for overseas workers when our unemployment rate is the highest it’s been in fifteen years not to mention attempting to destroy Medicare and workers rights?? Seriously you think all of the above is OK? Well all I can say is you obviously don’t care for your country or your fellow man. And that is truly sad.

        • Bev Seton  

          Did she really say all that in three small sentences??? Her opinion is valid, none of them are any good, they are all weak individuals who have absolutely no idea how to run a country, ruin it YES? save it NO we may as well go to the polls and draw from a hat… No faith at all..

    • Yeah ! Let’s put that corrupt thieving lying billy bob shorten in , why not make the rest of the world see just how stupid we are .
      Not likely !! If it were not for the Rudd/ Gillard regime , we would not be in this mess .

      • ginnyjan49  

        So sad Carolyn Brown that you can’t think for yourself and believe all the propaganda in the Murdoch press. As a rusted on Liberal voter I guess you believe anything you’re told. At least in the Rudd/Gillard era they were able to run the country effectively and pass legislation with a hostile Opposition. What has the current crop of Libs done that is so good? I’d really like to know. Never mind you obviously only read the Murdoch papers and are very gullible when you can’t believe independent economists who say this current LNP Govt is the worst in living memory!! Hope you’re not a pensioner trying to survive. 😬

    • Labour, liberal, greens, independents. Doesnt matter who is in they all get greedy. They will never give up their pension “entitlements” (and I use that word loosely). They will look after themselves first.

  11. This is just unfair, Malcolm you should hang your head in shame. Not that it will bother you as you will retired very wealthy, you don’t even need the money you earn now

  12. I wont be affected either but if you want stability and trust you will never get it with this govt believe me if they retain power things will be a lot worse be very careful who you vote for

    • Yeah having a corrupt lying weasel like shorten will make ALL the difference ! Where do you think he will get the money from ? His reduced pay or pension or the payoff to the unions ? Sure , someone with a short term memory loss ? Great !! A real winner , NOT

      • ginnyjan49  

        B. Carolyn Brown you really shouldn’t believe all you read in the press. At least nothing was proven with Shorten. So you’re clutching at straws and had better be careful what you say publically. Have your facts straight before you slander people.

      • Susan Bell  

        Is that the truth or did you read it in theHerald?

    • Well i believe you will eat your words especially if it effects you if this incompetent govt is returned they are taking from the poor to give to there rich mates how fair is that

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