The Age Pension was established in Australia more than a century ago and there have been calls recently to modernise and increase the payment, with many people across the country suffering from what is known as ‘pension poverty’.
However, Aussies are seemingly better off than retirees living in many other countries, with the United Kingdom actually having the lowest pensions in the developed world, according to a report in The Telegraph, with recipients receiving on average more than $300 less than Australian pensioners per fortnight.
Those over 65 in Australia receive a maximum sum of $916.30 per fortnight for individuals, while couples are paid as much as $1381.40. However, single pensioners in the UK take home a sum of just £164.35 (AU$296.57) each week, which equates to around AU$592.78 per fortnight.
The pension age is the same in both countries, with people qualifying for the state-funded pension once they reach 65. However, that only changed recently for women in the UK as, until this year, female workers could retire once they reached the age of 63.
New Zealanders are also eligible for their state superannuation scheme at the age of 65 and individuals can pocket NZ$400.87 (AU$367.25) and couples, where both parties qualify, will receive NZ$616.72 (AU$564.78).
However, according to the most recent figures from the Melbourne Mercer Global Pension Index (MMGPI), it’s pensioners in Denmark who have the best deal, despite not being eligible for the payments until their 67th birthday.
Taking into account factors including adequacy, sustainability and integrity, Denmark scored 78.9 per cent, while Australia’s age pension came in third at 77.1 per cent. New Zealand came in ninth (67.4 per cent), however the UK fared much worse, scoring just 61.4 per cent, falling behind the likes of Chile and Colombia.
According to the Mercer Index, Denmark’s system, along with those of Australia and New Zealand, “has a sound structure, with many good features, but has some areas for improvement that differentiates it from an A-grade system”.
While the UK’s pension scheme was classified as: “A system that has some good features, but also has major risks and/or shortcomings that should be addressed. Without these improvements, its efficacy and/or long-term sustainability can be questioned.”
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