Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

More flexibility for pensioners from 1 July

From 1 July 2010, 3.3 million pensioners will have access to a more flexible advance payment system as well as the option of quarterly Pension Supplement payments, as part of the final stage of the Australian Government’s Secure and Sustainable Pension Reform.

From 1 July, pensioners can receive advance payments of up to a maximum amount of $1,005.75 for singles and $758.10 for each member of a couple in a six month period. This is a significant increase on the previous maximum advance of $500 a year for singles and each member of a couple.

Part-rate pensioners will also have access to increased advance payment amounts, depending on the amount of pension they receive.

For the first time, pensioners can receive multiple advance payments each year up to the maximum rate, compared to only one advance payment under the old system.

This means that pensioners now have more financial flexibility to deal with unforeseen circumstances, such as replacing a broken refrigerator or buying new tyres for their car.

The improved advance payments will be available to Age Pensioners, Disability Support Pensioners, and people receiving carers, wife and veterans’ pensions. The advance payments will be repaid from subsequent pension payments.

The advance payments will increase in line with adult pension rate increases in March and September each year.

In addition, pensioners can now choose to receive around half of the new Pension Supplement on a quarterly basis.

We recognise that pensioners are the best judge of managing their own budgets and some pensioners prefer organising their budgets on a quarterly basis.

The first quarterly Pension Supplement payment will be available from 20 September this year.

This final stage of the Government’s reforms gives pensioners more financial security and flexibility in how they receive their payments.

The reforms have simplified pensioner payments and will ensure the system is fairer and sustainable into the future.

Since the Government implemented the reforms in September last year, the maximum rate of pension has increased by around $100 a fortnight for singles and $74 a fortnight for couples combined.

For more information please visit: Centrelink website