The government’s stern warning to pensioners… 198



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The proposed changes to the pension put forward by the Liberal Budget last month are expected to be passed in the senate later this year. With support from The Greens and the Labor Party, it would seem that all sides of politics are in support of them.

The changes proposed to disqualify couples with more than $823,000 in assets (excluding the family home) from the pension. The current threshold is $1.15 million. Social Services Minister Scott Morrison said that people affected by the changes would be able to maintain their current payment levels by drawing down “less than 1.84% on their additional assets”.

However, during a Senate estimates hearing last night, a Social Services Department Advisor Andrew Whitecross said that doing this could leave pensioners worse off.

According to The New Daily he said, “The commentary has tended to suggest that would be an obvious thing to do”.

“But that’s not really the case, because they would actually be denying themselves resources which they could be using to support themselves in their retirement, and as a result they’d have a lower standard of living”. he continued.

Essentially, trying to keep pension eligibility by selling off personal assets would mean that pensioners risk facing a much lower standard of living – often an unnecessary part of retirement.

One of the key motivators for retaining some assets while receiving the pension is to ensure inherited wealth for future generations. However, is that really worth having a lower standard of living for?

Tell us today, would you rather receive a pension or live on your own wealth in retirement? Is having wealth to pass down to your children important to you or would you rather ensure you have a comfortable standard of living? Share your thoughts in the comments below… 


The proposed changes to the pension in 2015 include: 

  • The asset tests are tightened. The assets-free threshold increased (to qualify for full pension) from $202,000 to $250,000 for single home owners and from $286,500 to $375,000 for couple home owners.
  • Asset taper rates are changed from $1.50 to $3 per fortnight.
  • The threshold for pensioners who do not own their home will increase to $200,000.
  • The maximum value of assets to quality for a part pension will reduce. The part pension will not be available to around 80,000 people after they reduce the asset threshold (excluding home ownership) from $1.15 million to $820,000 for couples and from $775,000 to $550,000 for singles.
  • Those who qualify for the part-pension under the new rules with “modest” assets will receive a small increase to the pension.
  • Pension increases will remain aligned with indexation and not inflation.

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  1. Here’s a stern message for politicians. Stop harrassing pensioners and clean up your own backyards first.

    1 REPLY
    • I agree with you about harrassment Rose – I am sick of pensioners being targeted. However, if I had over $800,000 in savings I certainly wouldn’t expect to receive a pension. I have a small amount of savings and therefore don’t receive a full pension. My sons do not expect me to live in poverty just so that I can leave it to them. I have worked for the past 50 years and they now encourage me to enjoy my retirement. I sent them to a good school and university and have given them a good start in life so that they now have good jobs and a good future and that is their inheritance.

      1 REPLY
  2. Does anyone know are carers receiving their yearly bonus

    5 REPLY
    • You will this year, but who knows about next year. I don’t think there was any mention of it being taken off.

    • Eileen Jan when Rudd came into power he got rid of the bonus in his first budget. There was such an outburst from the carers that it ended up being written into the constitution so it never gets talked about anymore. It is automatically paid in July every year ( around 15th ).

    • Ok thanks Stan Sue Allen,didn’t know it can’t be changed ,thanks also everyone else have a great day

    • Gee whiz Labor cancelled it, Julia also took single parents of Parenting payment & put them on Newstart. I think 80,000 Or 800,K A lot less & J Macklin said she could live on it No problems

  3. totally agree, I heard a story yesterday of a wealthy pensioner couple selling their brand new Mercedes to their daughter for $10.00 she does not drive and is “lending” it back to them

    15 REPLY
    • That’s simply rorting the system. There are questions on the pension claim form which are intended to stop this sort of thing and assuming the story is true clearly this couple is just lying about things.

      Having said that, I read a story this morning about a couple who are unable to retire despite being in their eighties because they are deemed to be “wealthy” and can’t get a pension. Their wealth? three hectares of farmland that they can’t find a buyer for and can no longer farm or get an income from.

      Don’t be fooled. What the government (and a disturbing number of people replying to Facebook posts like this) consider to be “wealthy” is in many cases a long way from the reality of the situation.

      2 REPLY
      • Andy….these people should be applying to Centrelink under Asset Hardship. Designed for people with unsaleable assets

      • Real estate assets
        The value of any real estate apart from your own principal home is considered an asset under the assets test. To be exempt from the assets test, your principal home and adjacent land, up to 2 hectares, must be on a single title block and the land must not be used primarily for commercial purposes. Any additional property or part of your own principal home, over 2 hectares will be assessed as part of the assets test. In some circumstances all of the land on the same title as the principal home may be exempt from the assets test.

    • Pensioners doing that will get caught in the “Gifting” net by doing that. It won’t work. Let’s get real and understand that if you have more than $1m in financial and other assets you should be drawing down on those rather than expecting the taxpayer to fund your retirement lifestyle. Just saying.

      1 REPLY
      • Agree Ann so long as people aren’t caught in the situations described by others here. The main issue for me is that the middle class are being saddled with these restrictions and the mega rich with higher Super balances and more assets stashed on the side who would never ever qualify for any pension just continue to get the tax breaks unabated. Americans removed these taxes 15 years ago I believe but there is a push to re-introduce them as they struggle with their debt.

    • I can imagine they will get caught because I heard this at a pensioner group and everyone was furious..people will talk and they will report you after all the stress this Government has caused us all

    • The family home should not be included as it is an asset that unless it is sold does not give them an income so even if the home is worth $800,000 they cant live off it if they have investments that earn them an income then yeah fine adjust their pensions accordingly are our politicians going to be under the same conditions or will they still get their full pensions regardless

      2 REPLY
    • All well and good in theory Ann Drohan … but read my post above. That couple in their eighties can’t get a buyer … not even at a fraction of what their bit of land is worth. How can they draw down on that? They can’t get a pension and they can’t go down to the supermarket and pay for their groceries with a handful of dirt or a few blades of grass.
      As I said, sometimes what is seen as “wealthy” and having assets is a very long way from actually being able to live from day to day.

    • It is a good example Andy but there will be others out there who can sell, perhaps they should get a loan from the bank and pay it bck when the property is sold or after death..just a suggestion

    • people with a very large asset in their home can always do the reverse mortgage thing and use their house to live on…..and it has to apply to all…..even the most wealthy

    • How about we leave the poor bloody pensioners alone and go after the big corporate tax evaders. And by “go after” I don’t mean the pathetic few million that the current government “hopes” to recoup over many years. I mean the billions that they’re actually ripping this country off for. Do that and I doubt many would then argue against welfare cuts … which just might not then need to be quite so targeted.

    • I agree with you Andy but I never voted for This Government, I think it is shameful we are in this position but we are… and better the rich that can afford to pay for themselves rather than the poor.

    • I was told by someone yesterday during a conversation (when I was explaining how confused I was about how the British Pension isnt treated like this Australian ‘it’s a charity you are so lucky’ thing and how has this come about) that a Government in the 1950’s (Conservative) actually took the pension pot, or such a large amount that it had ruined it. Does anyone here know if it is true and if so, why don’t we all just demand it back so everyone can stop treating us like society leeches?

      2 REPLY
      • The pension is definitely not a ‘tug your forelock and be grateful’ payout, Linda.
        In 1945 a pension fund was set up and every Australian worker contributed 7.5% of their gross income into it, that 7.5% levy was used to pay pensions.
        This fund was to be specifically owned by the workers and government could not meddle with it or borrow from it. Money could only be paid out as an indexed and non-means tested pension on retirement age, 65 for men and 60 for women.
        In 1976 the historical balance of that pension money was taken from the workers by the government of the day and put into consolidated revenue.
        Unfunded ex-politicians’ and judges’ huge pensions are paid out of consolidated revenue which perhaps explains why a certain section of people now have to have five years of their legal pension diverted into the $100,000 pensions plus perks of retired and/or sacked ex politicians, many of them only in their 40’s.

      • I forgot to say that I have a copy of the letter from government, dated 1989, that confirms the fate of the National Welfare Fund…even though the politicians of today deny it ever happened.
        I agree with you we should band together and demand it back.

    • Well if they deliberately rip off the TAX payers they deserve to be dobbed in, that is just pure GREED.

    • Any person who has worked for many years & paid tax in this country is entitled to an aged pension,but there has to be a cut off point for the wealthy,it should be looking at the dole & stop giving it to people who just don’t like work & families of people who haven’t worked for 3 generations & not paid one cent in tax,sick of the bleeding hearts,if able bodied they can work,I worked to 70 retired 6 years ago,it pissed me off that I & my family were working to help keep those lazy bastards they deserve nothing,it’s about time governments of this country stopped penalising those doing the right thing & work hard & stop giving to those who don’t,make them work as the dole only came in as a temporary measure in the 70s what happened,they have been doing it for many years all parties are guilty…

    • I have worked hard all my life since I was 16 and now at 61 having to find work again as I moved from the city and my partner not quite earning enough for us both as his shifts get cut (they don’t employ on full time basis anymore so they can drop days without impunity), I cannot find work as a mature worker at the moment and getting some Newstart Allowance which helps, not much though and we have to pay rent as well.
      I will be old enough for the pension in nearly 3-1/2yrs but not sure if will actually get any as my partner is younger than me & take in his earnings.Most probably be the same as Newstart, OR most probably have to work for another 7 years if I do find work GOD help me.
      All my working life I thought if you needed it you would be able to go on the pension & retire, so what has happened with the money? I am disgusted that politicians and young people think we are bludging or inept if we have not provided for ourselves by the time we cannot work anymore. MOST of us HAVE worked hard all our lives, but super only came in later in my working life & not enough to support me for the rest of my life, also havent been able to pay off a mortgage.

  4. May be we should all be put down at 60.Yes i am 60

    3 REPLY
    • dont put us down joan all politicians should be put down

    • Yes they say get the pensioners of the pension i am only 60 and can’t get a job and i am a cleaner i thing cleaning toilets is as low as you can go.The government needs to get there head out of the hole.

  5. The wealthy are the biggest rorters of the lot..hope they are all caught

    5 REPLY
    • Not Necessarily. While I do believe in looking after our returned Soldiers when they die their wives receive the Veterans Pension of around $1500 a fortnight. They also have a GOLD Card which entitles them to so much FREE stuff it isn’t funny. Thats the Pension that should be looked into

      1 REPLY
      • Look up the taxpayer funded pensions of judges and their wives, Maureen.

    • this should all be looked into Maureen, you can’t threatening to cut the CPI of the poor and let others rort they system

    • Maureen
      They only receive a veterans pension if they have fought in a war zone.
      My mother couldn’t get it as my dad had been on a hospital ship during the war so never actually served in a war zone.
      And, it IS NOT $1500 per fortnight.

    • Maureen it is means tested and depends on circumstances, so not every war veteran’s wife will receive a pension.

  6. There will always be those that rort the system. I think the govt has to be very careful with this. A check should be done to see what people have done with their assets to enable them to get the pension. That being said some people spend their lives working hard for what they have. Forget leaving an inheritance, I’m all for the ski life style.

  7. When we talk of “children”, we are talking about “adults” who should be providing for themselves, as adults do, aren’t we? Mine does, not expecting any handouts from us, just as it should be. I agree also with Andrew Whitecross.

  8. If you can afford to retire on your own money you should do so. Most people who have large super funds have been fortunate to have had higher incomes and have had a higher standard of living so they expect more in retirement. For the majority of us we just want to be able to survive.

  9. Surely this cannot be so, because those same wealthy pensioners came in here and called the poor greedy and leaners because they could not manage without the CPI rise !! If you can afford to pay for yourself, put your hand in your pocket and pay!!

  10. I am amused about people fighting each other over the pension! This country earned billions and billions of dollars out of resources only for it to be squandered by respective governments!
    Politicians retire on big benefits and set the so called rich pensioners against the poor! But always making sure their pensions are never mentioned! I personally don’t worry about the government pension but have friends who are worried what their lifestyle will be when the changes come in!

    3 REPLY
    • Heidrun Kneebone. What no politician will tell you is that in January 1946 the Old age Pension was established by John Curtin, of which Bob Menzies commented. ““The stigma of charity should be removed from the Age Pension. “It should be an entitlement earned by the person’s personal contribution to the fund.”
      A 7.5% tax was added to fund it.
      It was plundered mercilessly for political reasons til it became an embarrassment, & Malcolm Frazer closed the trust & dumped the money into Internal revenue, & his successor, Bob Hawke removed all reference to it. However, the 7.5% tax still remains.
      They all know this but they make out like it’s charity to try a BS us into believing they are trying to help us..
      They are unpatriotic chiselers.

    • Some of us are blessed enough to worry that it will change our life style and others of us wonder how we will live on the little that greedy government throw at us!

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