Aged pension, Newstart increase a disappointment

DISAPPOINTING: The Newstart increase takes the fortnightly allowance to $595.10 for those aged 60 and over.
DISAPPOINTING: The Newstart increase takes the fortnightly allowance to $595.10 for those aged 60 and over.

THE announcement of an age pension rise of $8.70 for singles and $13.20 for couples has come as no real surprise for Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association policy co-ordinator Paul Versteege.

While one caller to The Senior described the rise, due to take effect on September 20, as “a disgrace”, Mr Versteege was philosophical.

Considering that pension rates are linked to prices and wages, he said the increase was “what we expected with wage rises not on the horizon”.

As foreboding as it may seem, Mr Versteege said what pensioners should be looking for is a rise in inflation – “a sign that the pension might increase”.

The news was worse for those receiving Newstart allowance.

“Newstart is always a disappointment,” Mr Versteege said, “half the increase for both singles and couples.”

One saving grace was Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s backflip on raising the age pension qualifying age to 70.

However, even at 67, that could mean many years struggling on an inadequate allowance. 

Newstart increased by only $4.40 a fortnight for singles with no children and $3.90 a fortnight for each member of a couple, taking the fortnightly allowance to $595.10 for those aged 60 and over (after nine months) and $496.70 for each member of a couple.

From September 20, higher limits will apply to the income and assets test for age pensioners.

Full details of new rates and thresholds HERE

What you say

The Senior’s Facebook page lit up following the pension announcements. Many followers took Mr Versteege’s approach:

“Anything is better than nothing.”

“More than I thought so I’m happy.”

Others, however, weren’t as forgiving:

“Bloody joke.”

“Not enough for scone and tea.”

“A very small muffin.”

And, on the opposite side:

“Little fish are sweet – STOP WHINGING.”

This story Pension rise small, Newstart a “disappointment” first appeared on The Senior.