THE policy co-ordinator for the country’s pensioner advocacy group is unsurprised by small increases to Australian pension payments.
Changes to rates took effect last month, meaning about 4.8 million pensioners and allowance recipients will receive increases to their payments.These include an age pension rise of $8.70 for singles and $13.20 for couples a fortnight.
Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association policy co-ordinator Paul Versteege said that considering pension rates were linked to prices and wages, the increase was “what we expected with wage rises not on the horizon”.
Mr Versteege said as foreboding as it might seem, what pensioners should be looking for was a rise in inflation – “a sign that the pension might increase”.
However Mr Versteege said the news was worse for those receiving Newstart allowance.
“Newstart is always a disappointment – half the increase for both singles and couples,” he said.
Newstart increased by $4.40 a fortnight for singles with no children and $3.90 a fortnight for each member of a couple.
This will take the fortnightly allowance to $595.10 for those aged 60 and over (after nine months) and $496.70 for each member of a couple.
Rent assistance rates have also increased.
There are also changes to the income and assets test for age pensioners.
Single homeowners will be able to have $564,000 in assets before their pension is disqualified, up $2750.
For non-homeowners the figure is $771,000.
For couple (combined) homeowners the limit rises $4000 to $848,000, while for non-homeowners it is $1,055,000, also up $4000.
AT A GLANCE
Single age pensions
Energy supp: $14.10
Energy supp: $10.60