Australian seniors sure are being targeted at the moment — from superannuation laws being changed to tighter pension asset rules; just when you think things are meant to become easier in retirement, both the Federal and State governments swoop in, making an already horrible year for seniors, even worse.
Yesterday, prosperous seniors in Western Australian were left reeling after Treasurer Ben Wyatt unveiled how more than one-third of the WA Budget savings would directly hit WA Seniors Card holders who didn’t get a full or part Commonwealth age pension.
More than $460 of annual rates rebates will be lost for these people plus, they’ll have to pay the extra fixed charges on power, water, sewage and licensing in a bid to make up the $234 million Wyatt is trying to save over four years.
While WA is the first Australian state to penalise well-heeled seniors this severely — is this a sign of what’s to come for the rest of Australia?
Things were already not great for WA seniors after the assets test for the pension was considerably tightened on January 1.
The assessable assets cut-off for a couple who owned a home and received a $74 part-pension was cut from $1.18M to about $816,000 — costing thousands of WA seniors their part pensions.
On top of all this, the Federal Government’s announcement during this year’s Budget revealed massive changes to superannuation laws — including imposing a new tax on people with transition-to-retirement super arrangements and slapping a cap on the amount that can be stashed into accounts supporting tax-free private pensions.
Read more: Your guide to the upcoming super changes
And for those of you who worked hard and contributed extra to your super — you’ll also be penalised if your super balance is more than $1.6 million.
So what’s the solution?
Read more: The ultimate guide to seniors’ discounts
For WA seniors, if you lost your pension when the assets test was tightened up, but hold a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card in addition to a WA Seniors Card, you can still get up to $1350 of seniors’ rebates on water and council rates.
But for Western Australians with similar assets who don’t have a legacy Commonwealth card, you’ll only qualify for a measly $200 of rebates.