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Pensioners feeling the pinch set to get a boost



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Media Release Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services, and Indigenous Affairs - Hon. Jenny Macklin, MP 1 September 2011

PENSIONERS FEELING THE PINCH SET TO GET A BOOST

Australia's 3.4 million pensioners will soon receive an increase in their payments to help them meet increases in their cost of living.

From 20 September this year single people receiving the maximum rate of age, disability and carer pensions, as well as veterans' income support recipients, will receive an extra $19.50 a fortnight. Pensioner couples combined on the maximum rate will receive an extra $29.60 a fortnight.

As part of our historic pension reforms the Australian Government delivered an improved indexation system to ensure the pension keeps up with the cost of living.

Pensions are now indexed twice a year to the higher increase of two measures: the Consumer Price Index or the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index. Pensions are then compared to the Male Total Average Weekly Earnings benchmark and are increased if necessary to meet the wages benchmark.

Over the last two years, two of the four pension increases have been driven by the pensioner living cost index and the other two increases have been driven by the wages benchmark.

This September the pension will be indexed to the rise in pensioners' cost of living. In the six months to June 2011 the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index rose by 2.7 per cent, compared to a 2.5 per cent rise in the Consumer Price Index and a wages benchmark increase of 2.1 per cent.

We know that pensioners on a fixed income have the least room to move in their budgets and that's why it's so important that when their cost of living goes up, their pension payment matches it.

Following these increases, total pension payments for people on the maximum rate, including the base rate and pension supplement, will be:

 $748.80 a fortnight for singles, and  $1,129.00 a fortnight for couples combined.

In September 2009, the Government delivered the most significant reforms to the pension system in its 100 year history. These reforms delivered pension increases, a new pension supplement, a pension Work Bonus and a new indexation system.

The improved Work Bonus which began on 1 July this year gives age pensioners even more help to balance their household budgets, by letting working pensioners keep more of their pension when they work.

Over the last two years the pension reforms have delivered increases to the maximum pension of about $148 per fortnight for singles and $146 per fortnight for couples combined.

MAXIMUM FORTNIGHTLY SINGLE PENSION RATE

The rate from September 2009 includes the base pension and Pension Supplement. The rate prior to September 2009 includes the fortnightly value of Pharamceutical Allowance, Utilities Allowance and Telephone Allowance (at the internet rate).

From 20 September, a further one million Australians will also benefit from increases to income support payments such as Parenting Payment and Newstart.

Parenting Payment will increase by $15.60 a fortnight for singles.

Adult rates of allowances, such as Newstart, and supplementary payments are also indexed on 20 September each year to the Consumer Price Index increase for the previous six months. Allowance rates for single people (21 or over, without children) will increase by $11.90 a fortnight. Rent Assistance will also increase.

Pensions - Fortnightly Amounts Adult Pension Rates Single* Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

base 670.90 $ 689.00 $ 18.10 $ pf

supplement 58.40 $ 59.80 $ 1.40 $ pf

Total 729.30 $ 748.80 $ 19.50 $ pf

Partnered (ea)

base 505.70 $ 519.40 $ 13.70 $ pf

supplement 44.00 $ 45.10 $ 1.10 $ pf

Total 549.70 $ 564.50 $ 14.80 $ pf

* also Illness Separated, Respite Care or Partner in Gaol

Adult Transitional Pension Rate* Resident in Australia Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

Single 650.90 $ 667.20 $ 16.30 $ pf

Partnered (ea) 525.70 $ 538.80 $ 13.10 $ pf

Not Resident in Australia or absent for period > 13 weeks

Single 597.00 $ 611.90 $ 14.90 $ pf

Partnered (ea) 498.70 $ 511.20 $ 12.50 $ pf

* The Transitional Non-residents rate is also defined as the taxable amount for Transitional customers

Adult Pension Supplement Basic Amount* * formally paid as (GST) Supplement. Not applicable for Transitional Rate customers Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

Single 20.40 $ 20.90 $ 0.50 $ pf

Illness Separated, Respite Care or Partner in Gaol 20.40 $ 20.90 $ 0.50 $ pf

Partnered (ea) 17.00 $ 17.40 $ 0.40 $ pf

Adult Pension Supplement Minimum Amount Family Situation Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

Single 31.40 $ 32.20 $ 0.80 $ pf

Illness Separated, Respite Care or Partner in Gaol 31.40 $ 32.20 $ 0.80 $ pf

Partnered (ea) 23.70 $ 24.30 $ 0.60 $ pf

Pension Disqualifying Income Limits Family Situation Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

Single 1,608.60 $ 1,647.60 $ 39.00 $ pf

Single + 1 dependent child 1,608.60 $ 1,647.60 $ 39.00 $ pf

Couple (combined) 2,462.80 $ 2,522.00 $ 59.20 $ pf

Illness Separated couple (combined) 3,181.20 $ 3,259.20 $ 78.00 $ pf

Transitional Disqualifying Income Limits Family Situation - Resident Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

Single 1,777.25 $ 1,818.00 $ 40.75 $ pf

Single + 1 Dependent Child 1,801.85 $ 1,842.60 $ 40.75 $ pf

Couple (combined) 2,892.50 $ 2,958.00 $ 65.50 $ pf

Illness Separated couple (combined) 3,518.50 $ 3,600.00 $ 81.50 $ pf

Family Situation - Non-Resident Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

Single 1,642.50 $ 1,679.75 $ 37.25 $ pf

Single + 1 Dependent Child 1,667.10 $ 1,704.35 $ 37.25 $ pf

Couple (combined) 2,757.50 $ 2,820.00 $ 62.50 $ pf

Illness Separated couple (combined) 3,249.00 $ 3,323.50 $ 74.50 $ pf

Pension Disqualifying Assets Limits Family Situation Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

Single, homeowner 673,000 $ 686,000 $ 13,000 $

Single, non-homeowner 808,000 $ 821,000 $ 13,000 $

Couple, homeowner (combined) 998,000 $ 1,018,000 $ 20,000 $

Couple, non-homeowner (combined) 1,133,000 $ 1,153,000 $ 20,000 $

One partner eligible, homeowner 998,000 $ 1,018,000 $ 20,000 $

One partner eligible, non-homeowner 1,133,000 $ 1,153,000 $ 20,000 $

Illness separated couple, homeowner 1,237,500 $ 1,263,500 $ 26,000 $

Illness separated couple, non-homeowner 1,372,500 $ 1,398,500 $ 26,000 $

‡ Disqualifying Asset Limits include consideration for Pharmaceutical Allowance prior to 20 September 2009

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Transitional Rate Pension Disqualifying Assets Limits Family Situation - Resident Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

Single, homeowner 620,750 $ 631,750 $ 11,000 $

Single, non-homeowner 755,750 $ 766,750 $ 11,000 $

Couple, homeowner (combined) 966,000 $ 983,500 $ 17,500 $

Couple, non-homeowner (combined) 1,101,000 $ 1,118,500 $ 17,500 $

One partner eligible, homeowner 966,000 $ 983,500 $ 17,500 $

One partner eligible, non-homeowner 1,101,000 $ 1,118,500 $ 17,500 $

Illness separated couple, homeowner 1,133,000 $ 1,155,000 $ 22,000 $

Illness separated couple, non-homeowner 1,268,000 $ 1,290,000 $ 22,000 $

Family Situation - Non-Resident Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

Single, homeowner 584,750 $ 594,750 $ 10,000 $

Single, non-homeowner 719,750 $ 729,750 $ 10,000 $

Couple, homeowner (combined) 930,000 $ 947,000 $ 17,000 $

Couple, non-homeowner (combined) 1,065,000 $ 1,082,000 $ 17,000 $

One partner eligible, homeowner 930,000 $ 947,000 $ 17,000 $

One partner eligible, non-homeowner 1,065,000 $ 1,082,000 $ 17,000 $

Illness separated couple, homeowner 1,061,000 $ 1,081,000 $ 20,000 $

Illness separated couple, non-homeowner 1,196,000 $ 1,216,000 $ 20,000 $

Pension Bonus Scheme* Single Years (Bonus Periods) Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

1 1,689.50 $ 1,735.00 $ 45.50 $

2 6,758.10 $ 6,940.00 $ 181.90 $

3 15,205.80 $ 15,615.00 $ 409.20 $

4 27,032.60 $ 27,759.90 $ 727.30 $

5 42,238.40 $ 43,374.90 $ 1,136.50 $

Partnered (ea) Years (Bonus Periods) Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

1 1,277.50 $ 1,311.90 $ 34.40 $

2 5,109.90 $ 5,247.80 $ 137.90 $

3 11,497.30 $ 11,807.50 $ 310.20 $

4 20,439.70 $ 20,991.00 $ 551.30 $

5 31,937.00 $ 32,798.50 $ 861.50 $

* No new entrants if not eligible post 20 September 2009

Pension Supplement Component for Pension Bonus Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

Single 530.40 $ 543.40 $ 13.00 $ pa

Illness Separated, Respite Care or Partner in Gaol 530.40 $ 543.40 $ 13.00 $ pa

Partnered (ea) 442.00 $ 452.40 $ 10.40 $ pa

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Allowances - Fortnightly Allowance Rates (NSA, WA, PA, SA) Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

Single, 21 or over, no children 474.90 $ 486.80 $ 11.90 $ pf

Single, 21 or over, with children 513.80 $ 526.60 $ 12.80 $ pf

Single, 60 or over, after 9 months (PhA incl.) 513.80 $ 526.60 $ 12.80 $ pf

Partnered (each) 428.70 $ 439.40 $ 10.70 $ pf

Single, principal carer of child, exempt from activity test* 625.90 $ 641.50 $ 15.60 $ pf

* Rate includes amount of Supplement (for under Age Pension Age recipients)

Allowance Supplement Amount (NSA, WA, PA, SA: Over Age Pension Age) Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

Single Allowance Supplement 58.40 $ 59.80 $ 1.40 $ pf

Partnered Allowance Supplement 44.00 $ 45.10 $ 1.10 $ pf

Youth Allowance Rates

Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

Single, principal carer of child, exempt from activity test* 625.90 $ 641.50 $ 15.60 $ pf

* Rate includes amount of Supplement (for under Age Pension Age recipients)

Income Test Cutoffs for NSA, WA, PA, SA# Family Situation Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

Single, 21 or over, no children 884.84 $ 904.67 $ 19.83 $ pf

Single, 21 or over, with children 949.67 $ 971.00 $ 21.33 $ pf

Single, 60 or over, after 9 months (PhA) 959.67 $ 981.00 $ 21.33 $ pf

Partnered (each) 807.84 $ 825.67 $ 17.83 $ pf

Single, principal carer of child, exempt from activity test 1,136.50 $ 1,162.50 $ 26.00 $ pf

# Income cutouts for Allowance recipients of over Age Pension age may differ from these amounts

Family Payments - Fortnightly Parenting Payment Basic Rates Under Age Pension Age Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

Single Parents (includes supplement) 625.90 $ 641.50 $ 15.60 $ pf

Partnered Parents 428.70 $ 439.40 $ 10.70 $ pf

Over Age Pension age Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

Single Parent Base Rate of Pension 605.50 $ 620.60 $ 15.10 $ pf

Supplement Amount 58.40 $ 59.80 $ 1.40 $ pf

Total 663.90 $ 680.40 $ 16.50 $ pf

Partnered Base Rate of Allowance 428.70 $ 439.40 $ 10.70 $ pf

Supplement Amount 44.00 $ 45.10 $ 1.10 $ pf

Total 472.70 $ 484.50 $ 11.80 $ pf

Income Test for Parenting Payment# Partnered Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

Partner's Free Area 808.00 $ 826.00 $ 18.00 $ pf

For part payment of additional rate all of the following conditions must be met:

- customer's income must be less than 807.84 $ 825.67 $ 17.83 $ pf

- partner's income must be less than 1,522.50 $ 1,558.33 $ 35.83 $ pf

- combined income must be less than 1,615.84 $ 1,651.67 $ 35.83 $ pf

If partner is on pension, couples combined income must be less than 1,615.68 $ 1,651.34 $ 35.66 $ pf

Single Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

- under age pension age 1,739.35 $ 1,778.35 $ 39.00 $ pf

- under age pension age, inclusive PhA 1,754.35 $ 1,793.35 $ 39.00 $ pf

# Income cutouts for Allowance recipients of over Age Pension age may differ from these amounts

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Rent Assistance - for Payments under the Social Security Act Maximum Payment per Fortnight Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

Single, no children 116.40 $ 119.40 $ 3.00 $ pf

Single, no children, sharer 77.60 $ 79.60 $ 2.00 $ pf

Couple, no children 109.80 $ 112.60 $ 2.80 $ pf

Partnered, illness separated, no children 116.40 $ 119.40 $ 3.00 $ pf

Partnered, temporarily separated, no children 109.80 $ 112.60 $ 2.80 $ pf

Rent threshold

Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

Single, no children 103.60 $ 106.20 $ 2.60 $ pf

Single, no children, sharer 103.60 $ 106.20 $ 2.60 $ pf

Couple, no children 168.60 $ 172.80 $ 4.20 $ pf

Partnered, illness separated, no children 103.60 $ 106.20 $ 2.60 $ pf

Partnered, temporarily separated, no children 103.60 $ 106.20 $ 2.60 $ pf

Minimum Rent to get Maximum Payment Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

Single, no children 258.80 $ 265.40 $ 6.60 $ pf

Single, no children, sharer 207.07 $ 212.33 $ 5.27 $ pf

Couple, no children 315.00 $ 322.93 $ 7.93 $ pf

Partnered, illness separated, no children 258.80 $ 265.40 $ 6.60 $ pf

Partnered, temporarily separated, no children 250.00 $ 256.33 $ 6.33 $ pf

Rent Assistance - for Payments under the Family Assistance Act - pf

Maximum Payment per Fortnight

Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

Single, 1 or 2 children 136.78 $ 140.14 $ 3.36 $ pf

Single, 3 or more children 154.56 $ 158.48 $ 3.92 $ pf

Couple, 1 or 2 children 136.78 $ 140.14 $ 3.36 $ pf

Couple, 3 or more children 154.56 $ 158.48 $ 3.92 $ pf

Couple, Illness Separated, Temporarily Separated Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

1 or 2 Children 136.78 $ 140.14 $ 3.36 $ pf

3 or More children 154.56 $ 158.48 $ 3.92 $ pf

Rent threshold

Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

Single, 1 or 2 children 136.36 $ 139.72 $ 3.36 $ pf

Single, 3 or more children 136.36 $ 139.72 $ 3.36 $ pf

Couple, 1 or 2 children 201.74 $ 206.78 $ 5.04 $ pf

Couple, 3 or more children 201.74 $ 206.78 $ 5.04 $ pf

Couple, Illness Separated, Temporarily Separated Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

1 or 2 Children 136.36 $ 139.72 $ 3.36 $ pf

3 or More children 136.36 $ 139.72 $ 3.36 $ pf

Minimum Rent to get Maximum Payment Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

Single, 1 or 2 children 318.73 $ 326.57 $ 7.84 $ pf

Single, 3 or more children 342.44 $ 351.03 $ 8.59 $ pf

Couple, 1 or 2 children 384.11 $ 393.63 $ 9.52 $ pf

Couple, 3 or more children 407.82 $ 418.09 $ 10.27 $ pf

Couple, Illness Separated, Temporarily Separated Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

1 or 2 Children 318.73 $ 326.57 $ 7.84 $ pf

3 or More children 342.44 $ 351.03 $ 8.59 $ pf

Default Minimums for Shared Care Situations Maximum Payment per Fortnight Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

Single 117.18 $ 120.12 $ 2.94 $ pf

Partnered 110.04 $ 112.84 $ 2.80 $ pf

Partnered, Partner in Gaol, Illness Separated Couple, Respite Care Couple 117.18 $ 120.12 $ 2.94 $ pf

Partnered, Temporary Separated 110.04 $ 112.84 $ 2.80 $ pf

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Rent threshold

Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

Single 103.46 $ 105.98 $ 2.52 $ pf

Partnered 168.98 $ 173.18 $ 4.20 $ pf

Partnered, Partner in Gaol, Illness Separated Couple, Respite Care Couple 103.46 $ 105.98 $ 2.52 $ pf

Partnered, Temporary Separated 103.46 $ 105.98 $ 2.52 $ pf

Minimum Rent to get Maximum Payment Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

Single 259.70 $ 266.14 $ 6.44 $ pf

Partnered 315.70 $ 323.63 $ 7.93 $ pf

Partnered, Partner in Gaol, Illness Separated Couple, Respite Care Couple 259.70 $ 266.14 $ 6.44 $ pf

Partnered, Temporary Separated 250.18 $ 256.43 $ 6.25 $ pf

Miscellaneous Amounts Telephone Allowance

Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

Annual Amount (single or couple combined) 96.80 $ 100.80 $ 4.00 $ pa

Quarterly Payment (single or couple combined) 24.20 $ 25.20 $ 1.00 $ pq

Single rates shown. Each eligible member of a couple on max rate may receive half the single rate per annum.

Higher Rate Telephone Allowance Req. Home Internet Access Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

Annual Amount (single or couple combined) 145.60 $ 151.20 $ 5.60 $ pa

Quarterly Payment (single or couple combined) 36.40 $ 37.80 $ 1.40 $ pq

Single rates shown. Each eligible member of a couple on max rate may receive half the single rate per annum.

Seniors Supplement - Annual Replaces Seniors Concession Allowance and Telephone Allowance for CSHC holders from 20 September 2009

Annual Amount Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

Single 816.40 $ 837.20 $ 20.80 $ pa

Partnered 616.20 $ 631.80 $ 15.60 $ pa

Illness Separated, Respite Care or Partner in Gaol 816.40 $ 837.20 $ 20.80 $ pa

Utilities Allowance (paid quarterly: 20 Mar, 20 June, 20 Sept, 20 Dec) Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

Payable to Widow and Partner Allowance customers under Age Pension Age and DSP under 21 without children - Annual Amount (single or couple combined) 544.00 $ 557.60 $ 13.60 $ pa

- Quarterly Payment (single or couple combined) 136.00 $ 139.40 $ 3.40 $ pq

People in receipt of an income support payment that attracts a Pension Supplement do not receive Utilities Allowance

Health Care Cards (HCC)

Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

Average weekly income for eight weeks previous to applying:

- Single (no children) 470.00 $ 480.00 $ 10.00 $ pw

- Couple, combined (no children) 816.00 $ 834.00 $ 18.00 $ pw

- Single, one dependent child 816.00 $ 834.00 $ 18.00 $ pw

- For each additional child add 34.00 $ 34.00 $ - $ pw

CDEP Participation Supplement (CPS) Income Test Previous Amount 20-Sep-2011 increase

CPS is payable if income is below:

- Single 1,078.00 $ 1,103.00 $ 25.00 $ pf

- Couple 990.00 $ 1,013.00 $ 23.00 $ pf

Total income of both partners must be under 1,980.00 $ 2,026.00 $ 46.00 $ pf

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