Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Pensions to increase from today

From today more than three million age, disability and carer pensioners, and veterans’ income support recipients will receive an increase in their pensions to help keep up with the cost of living.

On their first payment date after 20 March this year, a single pensioner on the maximum rate will receive an extra $13.20 a fortnight, and couples combined on the maximum rate will receive an increase of $19.80 a fortnight.

This March pension indexation increase is driven by wages growth in the six months to November 2010.

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

  • $729.30 a fortnight for singles, and
  • $1,099.40 a fortnight for couples combined.

We know that pensioners need extra help to keep up with the cost of living. That’s why the improved indexation system is so important and will help ensure this vital support for older Australians is sustainable into the future.

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.

Since the reforms began in September 2009, the pension has increased by $128 per fortnight for singles on the maximum rate and $116 for couples combined on the maximum rate.

These important reforms made the system sustainable for the millions of age and disability pensioners, carers and veterans who depend on it.

March 2011 Pension Indexation rates

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

Under the Government’s historic reforms, pensions are indexed twice a year to the highest increase of two measures: the consumer price index (CPI), and the pensioner and beneficiary living cost index (PBLCI).

Pensions are then compared to the male total average weekly earnings (MTAWE) benchmark and are increased if necessary to bring them in line with MTAWE.

The Government’s pension reforms also increased the MTAWE benchmark for singles from 25 per cent to around 27.7 per cent of MTAWE.

From 20 March a further one million Australians will also benefit from increases to income support payments such as Newstart and Parenting Payment. Rent Assistance will also increase.

Parenting Payment will also increase by $14.00 a fortnight for singles.

Adult rates of allowances, such as Newstart, and supplementary payments are also indexed on 20 March each year to the CPI increase for the previous six months. Allowance rates for single people (21 or over, without children) will increase by $5.20 a fortnight.

Rent assistance will also increase.

Full details of all rates and thresholds to be indexed on March 20 can be found here:

Rates Indexation – March 2011