Let’s talk: Should you lose your pension for having a roof over your head?

A new report into Australia’s pension system has courted controversy over claims the benefit is costing Australians too much money.
Let's Talk

A new report into Australia’s pension system has courted controversy over claims the benefit is costing Australians too much money.

Yesterday is was reported that Centre for Independent Studies (CIS) claimed people receiving the pension expect too much money from taxpayers and should be content with less.

Now, the CIS report is now recommending people’s homes be included in the pension assets test, which will make it more difficult for thousands of Australians to qualify for the payment.

The report says 25 per cent of pensioners are among the wealthiest 40 per cent of Australians, with many of them owning their home outright.

It also recommended lifting the pension age in line with the rising life expectancy rate.

The CIS says continuous increases to the pension over the years has seen the system turn into a burden on taxpayers.

“What we see under the current policy settings is that by 2055 the average worker might be expected to contribute more to other people’s pensions than they would be expected to contribute to their own retirement,” said Simon Cowan, research fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies.

“Each generation is demanding the next generation pay more for their retirement than those workers were willing to pay the generation before.”

When recommending the changes to the assets test, Mr Cowan said the current system was not fair on younger Australians trying to break into the housing market.

“We really need to make sure everyone is given a fair go – not that people who are locked out of the housing market who are struggling to get by in work are having their incomes transferred to people with substantial asset holdings in retirement,” he said.

The report’s recommendations have been met with outrage by many pensioners who say they already struggle to get by and warn that these types of changes would damage the quality of life and living standards for many older people.

National Seniors CEO Michael O’Neill pointed out that if the pension age was to be lifted, and Australians were forced to stay in the workforce for longer, something would have to be done about age discrimination against older workers.

“The very stark statistic that underlines this is that if you lose your job at age 55, you’ll be out of work on average in this country for 72 weeks. The likelihood is you won’t get another job,” Mr O’Neill he told the ABC.

The government has so far said it is not looking to include homes in the pension asset test, but is addressing a number of other findings in the CIS report.

Do you think homes should be included in the pension assets test? Do you think taxpayers contribute too much money to the pension system?

  1. Terrible thought if these rules changed now. So many of us would feel despair and get depressed (how will that help our Health budgets). Can’t imagine how we older citizens could compete with younger ones, e.g. technology has made great changes and usually we are not as quick on the uptake. We have done our turn at working for a living and we did usually even working Mums so deserve consideration now.

    • Who worked hard and paid taxes when our politicians were still in nappies or were not even born. How soon they forget.

    • Laurel  

      What about the taxes pensioners paid for all their working life. I had to go to work at 13 years of age (full time) so pensions should for the aged should stay the same. We are being too generous with refugees who don’t care about Australians, just getting what they can from our country.

  2. Not good. At 65 yrs you would expect to fully own your home.Our generation worked very hard and mostly were happy to buy used. now everything is brand new when setting up a home.

    • Not necessarily own your own home at 65. I am 65 and in my second marriage and we still owe money on our house. Not that it matters anyway as I will never get a pension due to the fact I have a younger husband that works. My point was just saying not everyone at 65 will have their house paid off!

      • Judy Sweeney  

        Thats for sure. We too are on our second marriages and still owe a lot of money on our mortgage. We will be downsizing but still will have to go the country as we will have no where near enough money to buy is Sydney. My hubby is 64 and in poor health and wont be able to work passed 65. It puts many in a very difficult position

  3. Your home is your asset to get you into a nursing home if needed. Mine paid for my cottage in a retirement estate. If we stay in the workforce longer where are the jobs for younger generation?

    • You can bet if there were too many elderly in the workforce they would start saying we were taking jobs from the young! I agree that youth unemployment is an issue that needs to be tackled, not forcing older people to stay in the workforce.

    • Yes have a work colleague whose mother went into a nursing home recently and they had to sell her home & pay around $350k bond & they don’t get any interest on that either.

    • Just for interest sake as my husband and I have been struggling with poor health lately I decided to look into age care prices.. One top room was a MILLION DOLLARS at another place in our area was $750 so how do we pay for that.. ?? No fun in aging only more worries and loss of control of our lives..

    • Kay Eller that’s exactly what happened to my mother in 2001. We were forced to sell the family home to fund the nursing home fees 250K bond. They kept her pension payments and also took a small sum ftom the $250 K as well.By the way that house we were forced to sell is now worth $1.3M.

  4. Put the politicians on the pension and see them change there mind quick

    • Exactly!! unless they walk in the Pensioners shoes they wouldnt have a clue…well said

    • Exactly they are the ones in the top percentage of the rich and still the taxpayers have to fork out an exhorbitant superannuation payment with perks for them! If they want to cut costs why don’t they just get the same pension as everyone else and with the same means test!

  5. We worked our whole life to pay for our home, the interest rate in those day was horrific, but we did it, we both worked, we had next to nothing in govt assistance, we bought up our children successfully, we didn’t take holidays, we didn’t go out for dinners, we did very very little as we couldn’t afford to, all we wanted to do was pay off our home which we did, it was a really hard slog but much like thousands in our generation we all did, so surely we are entitled to now enjoy our homes without the govt making us suffer more for having done the right thing

    • Julie Apap  

      I totally agree still working, and because we worked hard went without many luxuries and supported the dole bludgers, saved for a rainy day I’m expected to work till I’m 66 and won’t be entitled to nothing. It really sucks.

      • Michelle  

        Also our generation has supported children until they’re 25 (government deemed children to be dependents until that age) and we’ve cared for our ageing parents, worked from an early age AND still working…please!

      • Marilyn Edwards  

        100% with Vivian & Julie – we are also both still working – educated our children without handouts, university we contributed for first 12 months then children worked part time to pay their way – no government handout – worked to pay off our home with mich higher interest rates, looked after children on one wage with no handout – no compulsory super from employer prior to having children – still both working hard to be self funded (with almos zero interest rates) and still paying private health, whereby if we need to use will have to pay varying degrees of gaps!
        AND it is perceived by some out there that we seniors/baby boomers are LUCKY!!!!! Really!

        • Phyllis Bremner  

          My husband & i both worked hard to pay off our mortgage & we brought up three children while doing it .We have always paid for private health insurance. When we had our first child you didn’t even get child endowment as it was then called for your first child , no government hand outs , or super paid by your employer .On the rare occasion when my husband was unemployed we could not get dole money as i worked part time , we never even qualified for sickness benefits when my husband was recovering from open heart surgery as i was still working part time. My husband never even got to enjoy his retirement which we worked so hard & saved for as he died four years ago four & a half years after he retired . We have paid our taxes & done without government benefits until retiring. I say let the pollies give up all their lurks & perks then the country would be better off.

        • Marilyn  

          HAs anybody really thought about how many of these pensioners (only the lucky ones ) came to have a good retirement fund? It was funded by old superfunds for lengthy service. Additionally many of those pensioners went without to raise families many with 5-6 children. No govt handouts except for an endowment. So!!!! Let’s see what happens down the track to those whingeing about us ‘pensioners” and the millions they will retire with paid by their employers’. Let’s bet they have a few investment properties as well as their own multi -million dollar properties, boats, cars, etc.

    • Janelle P  

      Totally agree… We worked hard and did without a lot to pay our mortgage. We started our lives with second hand furniture and ‘hand-me-downs’ to make ends meet. Making people work longer limits opportunities for Young people in an economy where jobs are ‘drying up’… The whole system needs an overhaul!!

    • Anna Kudray  

      I can really identify with what has been written here, as we did all of that too – second hand furniture – and clothes, no holidays, no restaurant outings, etc. We both worked our entire lives – paid our taxes right up until we had to retire at 65 (I say “had to” because Age Discrimination takes many guises out there in the workplace). Of course there is the dilemma, as mentioned by others, of older people working and therefore perhaps denying the younger generation work opportunities and I, for one, would not want to contribute to that situation. It seems we cannot win, whichever way we turn – continue to work until we keel over (and that is if we can get past age discrimination), or receive the Age Pension and be accused of being a burden on the taxpayer. As for our homes being included in the Assets Test – the government doesn’t give a hoot about how hard we all worked to pay them off. They will do what they want to do anyway, won’t they?!

  6. I don’t believe that pensioners are DEMANDING the next generation pay more for their pensions, however without an increase in the pension, PENSIONERS will not be able to survive. The rising cost of living has already out grown the PENSION to the point that many PENSIONERS can no longer afford their everyday BILLS let alone have money to buy food, clothing, medical bills, or a small treat for themselves on the odd occasion. NO PENSIONERS ARE NOT GREEDY, they just want to be able to live with some dignity and to be able to afford the basic things in life in the homes they worked so hard all their lives to pay for, we all have to live somewhere and WHY should any of us be FORCED out of homes, I’m sure if our POLITICIANS were FORCED to sell off their homes to pay for their RETIREMENT instead of the LIFETIME TAX FUNDED PENSIONS they expect the NEXT GENERATION to provide for them, we would not be having this discussion now or perhaps EVER.

      • I agree Trish – what continuous increases over the years? In September and March each year we get what is called a CPI increase which amounts approx to $3.00 per fortnight – not even a cup of coffee. Many pensioners may only have their homes and nothing else whereas some as asset rich but cash poor. Leave the homes alone – it is hard enough for young people to afford a unit how would a pensioner go in trying to get one. I think the pensioners are long over due for one of the many so-called’ continuous increases’ we are supposed to be getting. A work on lowest minimum wage gets more than a pensioner.

    • Trish Daley – I couldn’t agree more. If there are any changes to be made surely it is with the system (or so -called system) of after retirement benefits that politicians get. It is also a joke that you can be in Parliament and retire at say 35 on a life time “pension” – along with the other rorts of higher than usual medical benefits subsidies, and if you are even higher up the food chain – lifetime existence in your own office, secretaries, funded travel including overseas travel, all whilst you possibly have another government or well paid job.

      We as “pensioners” definitely need a voice at government level to help fight this injustice. What happened to the fairness & equity of it all??

      Malcolm Turnbull retires with a golden handshake of over 1/2 million dollars each year for the rest of his life, along with all the other gratuities stated above with a mere $200,000 milllion in assets in the Caymans along with his little place in New York etc.

      This is not to mention all the other “free-loading”past politicians we are still paying for – where else can you have a job – leave & still be paid all those benefits????

    • Hilry  

      Absolutely agree with you Trish., I have my home but nothing else other than the aged pension, and do struggle to meet all needs. I would hope that pensioners can be respected for their past worthwhile efforts and achievements without any further indignities being forced upon them.

  7. I guess they will pressure pensioners til we disappear.We given all our life for this country now they want to screw us all f… Em

  8. Disgusting ! The Government wastes Billions on Climate Warming research and grants to Wind Farms ! This is where Our Hard earnt Pensions are being Sqaundered ?

  9. You work hard all your life.Pay your taxes.Often have no child support and then when you retire you are agai penalised because you did the right thing and bought your own home.You usually pay private health insurance also.Gee it’s great to do all this and then get penalised for it when you finally thought you could take things easy and enjoy life.WELL DONE POLITIANS.you really give us an incentive to work hard all our lives!!!

    • The wealthy people receiving a pension should be hung out to dry as far as I am concernedπŸ˜©πŸ‘Ž

    • I should have added that I do not get a pension or health card from the government. .Luckily I have my super which I paid while I was working which I had to pay tax on until I turned 60.

  10. Definitely not we worked hard to get a roof over our head and now that we have retired and own our own house, this is supposed to be the pinnacle of our life we need to have some help from government 😑😑

  11. I think I’d like to see a graph of the pension rates over the years compared to the politician pays over the years and see which one has the highest increase.
    My bet is on the politician’s

    • Dot  

      Chris , I agree with you whole heartedly , there are many other areas the government could cut corners on , lots of areas money is waisted, like the fox task force that has been going for a couple of years in Tasmania. and of course none have been found

    • Not only politicians but their advisors and the members of the ‘think tanks’ who come up with these ideas.

    • Definitely …. Their costs and future entitlements go up and up ..pensioners are blamed for being a drain on society

    • The issue is that you are talking about job values and remuneration indexation and pension indexation which is income support. There are also very few politicians compared with about 3,500,000 welfare recipients.

      • mareela  

        Ross Smith, an aged pension is NOT a welfare payment. I wouldn’t be at all surprised when you work out how much welfare and tax payers money our politicians get it would equal if not surpass what pensioners get. Strange how our government always attacks the most vulnerable in our society as they know it’s hard for them to fight back. However, corporations are not attacked for paying no tax, and billions are given away in coal and fuel subsidies. Now I wonder why? Could it be they pay donations to the corrupt LNP to maintain the status quo? Please, I am heartily sick of this government coming after the less well off. I can’t believe anyone would vote for them. At least that don’t have a majority in both houses. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we’re back at the polls within 12 months. Turnbull and co are not known for their negotiating skills so legislation will be stuck in the Senate. And who’s fault is that ? Oh that’s right, Turnbull’s. Thought he’d pull a swiftly and its backfired big time. Oh dear! Fun, fun, fun

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