One in three pensioners are suffering: Are you one of them? 363



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A new OECD report, Pensions at a Glance 2015, has compared Australia to 33 other countries. And what it found was something we’ve been telling the government for years.

More than one-third of Australian pensioners are living below the poverty line, making the country among the worst performers in the world, reports Fairfax.

Sadly, Australia was ranked second lowest on social equity, with a whopping 36 per cent of pensioners living below the poverty line – around half our country’s median household income.

The report, released last month, found the Australian government contributes much less to their senior citizens’ livelihoods than other OECD countries. While the Australian Government spends 3.5 per cent of GDP on the pension, this is actually below the OECD average of 7.9 per cent.

The annual payment for a single person is about $22,000 and $34,000 for a couple, with 2.25 million Australians claiming the pension.

Council on the Ageing chief executive Ian Yates said the report has proven that the pension is not enough.

“Claims that the age pension is somehow too extravagant and unsustainable do not bear out,” he said.

“We have always argued for progressive improvements to the pension but at the moment an increase to the pension is highly unlikely and more focus ought to go towards building superannuation contributions”.

Chief executive of Vision Super Stephen Rowe told Fairfax, “Are we generous enough with the pension? I don’t think so”.

“The basic cost of living in Australia is quite high, compared with some other OECD countries”, he said.


These latest findings show what so many have been trying to tell anyone who will listen: the pension is not enough – especially when the cost of living keeps rising.

Here’s hoping Malcolm Turnbull will consider the report when pension increases are announced next month.


Tell us: do you live below the poverty line? How do you get by?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Pensioners struggle, they rob Peter to pay Paul to make ends meet, if you are in Private rental you have to cope with high rents but even if you own your own home , there are still rates and insurance and a lot of added costs you have to pay before you can even think of buying the basics like food, YES we need a Pension increase but NO there will not be an increase under the Liberal Government.

    5 REPLY
    • Angela Christmas perhaps you have been overseas and out of touch but the Liberal Government wanted to cut the small CPI rise pensioners get, it was only The Greens and the ALP and Independents in the Senate that stopped it. Pensioners would far worse off than we are now if they had cut doesn’t even cover the rise in the cost of living

    • No use telling us that Angela Christmas we know that is not the truth, many have been fighting the cut to the CPI rise since the Liberal first budget, most of us had never complained about anything in our lives before but we can’t afford this

    • Angela Christmas where were you when the Rudd / Gillard government increased the pension by over $100 per fortnight …… Oh, that’s correct, you have probably chosen to forget !!!

      1 REPLY
      • They must have forgotten me then as I didn’t get an increase like that!!!

  2. How true, we walk around with the arse hanging out of our pants because we can’t afford new ones and The Liberals wanted to cut the CPI rise on us 😡

    6 REPLY
    • grace Boland it is common expression and one that most Aussie know, the term is not vulgar..the Government is

    • Grace Boland if you took offence at that you obviously live a very sheltered life, because that is not what I would class as vulgar just listen to some people and you will learn what VULGAR IS.

    • Grace Boland Rosalinds expression is the least of pensioners worries, David is right it is this Liberal Government that is vulgar and trying to keep us in poverty

      1 REPLY
      • Leanna,…this govt. is not “trying” to keep us in poverty,…they’re actually doing it!!

    • rich people Liberal voters like you Grace Boland have no idea what it is like to live in the real world us workers have lived in and why are you not protesting Peter Dutton who called a reporter and effing witch? why worry about me, what I said is minor compared to that

    • My mother always taught me, ‘Anyone with class never puts others down, it is not a respectful or ‘classy’ thing to do’.

  3. Ladies Ladies, we can’t expect our GOVERNMENT to increase the PENSION, BECAUSE THEY HAVE JUST GRANTED THEMSELVES a healthy pay rise which means there is nothing left for us. We have to feel sorry for these poor buggar’s I don’t know how they make ends meet.

    25 REPLY
    • That’s ok Rosalind, I guess that sounds a little sarcastic however I’m not sorry if it does.😡😡😡😡

    • the aged pensioners who should be targarted are the ones who live in multi million $$ homes … and the ones who have LARGE amounts of money in the bank oh that right they DONT tell centerlink like the person i know …. and she still whinges she cant live on the aged pesnion but can buy a new car every couple years that right the the interest she gets from her invested money

    • Be absolutely sure of your facts Cheryl Rajamae, then if you are you OWE IT TO THE AUSTRALIAN PENSIONERS who are being honest, to tell CENTRELINK. This is Fraud and should be stopped and the perpetrator made to PAY BACK EVERY CENT.

      1 REPLY
      • Absolutely report fraud. Those ripping into the system are part of the cause of no rises for the honest pensioners.

    • Sorry Trish, the Government does not grant itself pay rises, the Remuneration Tribunal is responsible for that. A government body, but not the government of the day.

    • Just wondering how this woman can have large amounts of money in the bank and Centrelink aren’t aware of this …… Centrelink know everything about me ! 🙁

    • And me Victoria, however it is happening because I recently saw a story that referred to the severity of the problem and Centrelink have had to involve the Federal Police. Obviously their staff are not doing the proper checks because they sure as hell know what I have.

    • yep our p.m.just got a nice rise an extra $10,000.and then there’s the rest of the pollies.cure don’t vote people into power on on what helps you.

    • Anne Mitchell the tribunal recommend what the pay rise should be, then the pollies vote on whether to accept it or not. It’s the only time they all vote together from what I’ve seen. They have the option to reject the pay rise, lolololololololololololol

    • I did a rough estimate the other day on how much pollies cost us in wages. It worked out at around 36 million. Then yesterday figures were released that show it also costs us an average of 2.2 million per politician in perks. They have no interest in doing anything but stuffing their bank accounts

    • I also did that a few months back, it’s mind boggling just what these leeches get. And they are not worth half of that.

    • That’s correct Anne Mitchell, however considering their expectations of the public they are in a position to refuse it.

    • Everyone is talking about Mr Turnbull’s pay rise. But remember that they all got a rise regardless of party. So it seems that they all voted for it. Must be the only time when they all vote the same. Correct me if I am wrong.

    • Correct Debbie, every single one of them, that’s why they choose to shut up and not make an issue of it.

    • Yes Sue Todd.”Stuff their wallets” indeed and at the same time stuff up our country..and get paid handsomely for running the country into massive debt…which not one of them takes responsibility for..

    • I don’t think we will be spitting on Trish Marlene I am assuming this is a typo and you mean spot on Trish..and yes she got it right

  4. I struggle, with rates insurance , petrol , bill electricity ect whatever is left I buy food and that can be as little as $50 a fortnight

    9 REPLY
    • The only way i can pay my electricity and gas is to have centrelink take an amount out of my pension each fortnight and dinate it to the ekectricity and gas supplier.

    • Same here Kelly Food is always the last on the list Shouldn’t be like that I carnt even us a food bank nearest one is 70ks away and that costs petrol which I carnt justify spending unnecessarily

    • For me too Angie Wood food isnt a priority and Iike you dont waste money on unnecessary things as there isnt any left over …We are not living we are just surviving

    • Same as you Angie I get to hate the supermarket as I feel like a second class citizen scrounging for few and far between specials for meat and vegetables no luxuries adding up as you go along I live in private rental through no fault of mine I live on very little and try not to use heating or cooling never thought it would come to this

    • Know what you mean My son and his mate cut up wood and brought it to me last winter as I had no heating and am recovering from a Mastectomy due to Breast Cancer he was worried about me (He lives 3 hours away) it was the best surprise all year My evaporative cooler has packed in I have no way of getting it fixed even though it uses little Power Ended up suffering from Heat exhaustion a couple of weeks ago as temps up in the 40s

    • Hope your recovery is going well Angie ….I have a hard time paying for meds as I had a double lung transplant and Im on heaps of medication and sometimes have trouble paying for it

    • Cruel isn’t it and we are loosing claimable treatment from Medicare I had to pay for Chemo tablets as they are not on PBS now on Hormone therapy hope they stay on the PBS Oh my goodness I hope you recover well too You have to take rejection drugs Fingers crossed for both of us God bless you Kelly The Angels will take care of you 💞💕

  5. Pensioners are an easy target. They are the group most fixed in their voting patterns and least likely to be swinging voters. That many are doing it tough is not acknowledged by this government nor that their policies around pension and health care are making it worse.

    5 REPLY
  6. My hubby and I are 66 and 69, we are in pensions but both have part time jobs so we can have done savings, have a holiday and be able to afford some treats in life. We are healthy do will do this as long as we can, we will miss that little extra when we retire.

  7. And one-in ONE unemployed people suffer the same – on $300 a fortnight LESS. What about them, for a change, eh?

    7 REPLY
    • I agree. However, they get more than $300 per fortnight. It’s $533 for singles and $566 for over 60 singles. Not a lot I know but not quite as low as you stated. I’m not defending the payment. I think it is dreadful. But when we start claiming that things are worse than the fact, that’s when these damn government smart arses start shooting us down.

      1 REPLY
      • Ruth, I think you overlooked the word LESS, not stating unemployed get $300.

    • I think Max meant they get $300 less than pensioners. Both amounts are disgraceful, and I get really snarly about the fact that pollies claim $600 a night TA and meal allowance

    • Unemployed should be same as pension. If pensioners struggle how on earth are unemployed going to manage as they have the same wants and needs.

    • Well I know of a person who is living in a defacto relationship and centrelink do nothing about it.

  8. Politicians don’t truly understand how quickly any super, savings or investments are depleted once aged Aussies have to stop work. Not by indulging themselves, but by increase in expenses to daily living over which we have no control.

    2 REPLY
    • Many Pensioner don’t have even have any super as back up, I am not sure Beth if they don’t understand or they just don’t care

    • they just dont give a rats about the agen pensioners… i have to do the school xing just soI can eat.. and I DONT smoke,… drink and hardly go out anymore…..

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