Sixty something: Being on a pension 6



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Today I’m going to write to you about how I feel being on a pension. I am on a disability pension as I have Chronic Bronchitis. I never would have imagined ten years ago, being on any sort of a pension at age 63. I have never had many illnesses and I have always worked hard, either in the home, or out. When my husband and I split up five years ago, I worked even harder. This is what I want to talk to you about. Working hard, still ending up on a pension and being looked down upon, even by some other pensioners, because of it. Also being made to feel the least important of pensioners so to speak.

Now my disability is nothing you can see or notice if you are just standing there looking at me. However, if you’d like to walk with me, you will soon notice how hard it is for me to breathe. Breathing is not something you think about – unless you can’t. It affects everything you do. However, I am in the mild category and most certainly feel so sorry for anyone who is worse than me. Still, there are things I can’t manage anymore hence a pension and I have been told I will get worse, although how quickly is up to me I guess.

Pension. It’s not a word I like. It automatically makes people think you are old or dying and even to some, ripping off the government. Here’s the thing, I hate the term “self funded” just as much. No offence to all those self funded retirees out there. Good luck to you all that life has worked out for you this way. The thing is, those of us who are on pensions be it disability or aged and not self funded seem to be forgotten a little.

Often, even on this site sometimes, discussions turn to how the economy is affecting self funded retirees. The low interest rates etc seem to be the main instigator in taking money from the hard earned resources of the self funded. I have heard some of these people saying how unfair it is to them, as they are losing from their super ect. Discussions are more often than not about the self funded retiree when the pensions mentioned.

I don’t, through no fault of mine, have enough super or anything else to help me through my older years, but I have to pay the same for a loaf of bread as anyone else. I pay a lot of my pension in rent. I don’t want the interest rates in particular to go up. This not only makes it hard for young or older to buy a home or live comfortably but it makes it hard for me and people like me also. If interest rates rise, then the owner of my home will put up the rent. If interest rates rise then the produce grower will charge more. If interest rates rise, then it affects us all none way or another. So when someone discusses how unfair it is for the self funded retiree, please give a thought for those of us not fortunate enough to have that little extra. Remember that whether you work or not, whether your life turned out pretty much as it should or not, whether your life is just starting or nearly over and no matter what sort of government assistance you are on, interest rates and any other factors affect all of us in one way or another. So please stop emphasising the woes of the self funded retiree and fight for all Australians.

Yes I am on a pension, yes there are lots I could still do, but gave up after my 800 something job application, but no I shouldn’t be made to feel inferior because circumstances took away my chance of not having to rely on the government. No I haven’t been lazy or just “expected” to be given a handout. Who in their right mind wants to live off the pittance the government keeps making us feel guilty for taking? Let’s not have disability, aged ourself funded retirees. Let’s just have Australians.

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Fran Spears

Born in 1953. Came to Hobart from the north west coast of Tassie to be closer to my son as I have mild chronic bronchitis. Mild and chronic in same sentence – even that makes me laugh. Have just completed and passed my diploma in Public Relations. Love to write and have lead a reasonably interesting life. My motto: "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn!"

  1. Good on you for speaking up. No one should be made to feel inferior for living on a pension. I believe in higher taxes and pensions for everyone. You work your whole life dodging scam artists trying to separate you from your money. The scam artists are rewarded by government and applauded for being entreprenuial. I too worked hard all my life and have ended up with very little because of the scam artists. Is there no one you can trust?

  2. I know many pensioners who have worked all their life, paid taxes and help support all the people who didn’t want to go to work – these people are getting a pension, why shouldn’t the hard workers who have actually earned it?

  3. Your lucky you have a disability pension. I have multi morbidities, including breathing problems, yet don’t qualify for the disability pension, so I have to live on Newstart, which is quite a bit less. Also left with nothing after a marriage breakup, including no assets of any sort. Have worked for as long as I could, am now totally unemployable, between physical things and medical appointments. After my rent, I have $ 115 a week, out of which I pay electricity, gas, phone, funeral insurance (no one else to pay for it) public transport costs and food. Thank god for free libraries.

  4. Nothing wrong with being on a pension, Australians have lived on pensions for generations. Too bad if someone has a problem with that, but some people care little for anyone, aged pensioners, refugees and disability pensioners alike. It’s not until you are in a fix that you realize how lucky you were.

  5. I will not be a self funded retiree…. I am 61 & have moderate osteoarthritis & work full time at one of the larger supermarkets. My osteoarthritis will probably cause me to retire early, and I will rely on my payments from my superannuation to live on until I receive the age pension at age 66. So I need interest rates to go higher so my payments are higher so I can pay my bills, and be able to put food on the table. So Fran, even though I feel for you, you must understand that the water flows both ways here. I need higher interest rates for me to have a decent life. So stop feeling sorry for yourself and get on with your life as I have to do. You say that people don’t see your disability, with mine people do, as I limp to work, & after an 8 hour day I hobble out of the supermarket. I push myself every day and take it day by day, as my husband is unemployed after being laid off after 27 years in a job, he is considered too old to employ. Do I push myself to keep working full time even though people tell me I am crazy?….sometimes I think I do, as I cry most nights because I am in so much pain. So please don’t make yourself out a victim when there are us walking wounded out there trying to keep the side going.

  6. Fran, being in receipt of a pension does not equate to being old or dying. I am proud to be receiving an age pension, I am proud that I live in a country where this possible, I am proud that I worked from 15 to 65 to pay taxes to enable this to happen to me and generations before me that my taxes allowed to live. I am proud of the young Australians of today who are now paying their taxes to enable our generation to survive. While the pension is small, we find that we can live ok.

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