Sunday, 18 May 2014

Will asset-less single aged or disability pensioners who rent be forced onto the streets after 2017?

In May 2014 the full Aged Pension (single person over 65 years with no assets) or full Disability Support Pension (single person over 21 years with no assets) is $776 a fortnight, or  $842.80 when Pension and Energy supplements are included. This totals $21,912.80 per annum.

The Abbott Government’s 2014-15 Federal Budget Papers contains this table in Detailed household outcomes - Pensioners and CSHC holders:

The Abbott Government has stated in the budget papers that it will change how pension payments are indexed in September 2017 in order to slow the rate of pension increases.

The table above shows pension increases over three financial years, for a single person with no assets, will total $2,219.20 by 2017-18 or an est. $28.45 per fortnight.

The Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association of NSW has modelled this new indexation regime and, on the current base rate for single pensioners it would mean a difference of -$74.05 per fortnight on indexation in place now.

I am at a loss to understand how members of the Abbott Government expect the most vulnerable of pensioners - those who rent accommodation - to be able to house, feed and clothe themselves once current indexation is changed, given all the other budget measures which will impact on even modest household expenditure, travel or medical outlays between 2014 to 2017-18 and beyond.

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