Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Indexation delivers increase to Pensions and other Income Support Payments

More than 3.4 million Australians will receive an increase in their pensions and other income support payments and allowances from 20 March 2009.

Indexation will deliver an increase of $7.70 a fortnight in the maximum single pension and $6.40 in the maximum partnered rate for each member of a pensioner couple.

The single pension is rising in line with its benchmark of 25 per cent of Male Total Average Weekly Earnings, with a proportional flow on to partnered pensions.

The maximum single pension rate will now be $569.80 and the maximum partnered pension rate will be $475.90 a fortnight for each member of a pensioner couple.

Adult rates of allowances and some family and supplementary payments are also indexed on 20 March each year, based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) percentage increase for the previous six months.

These payments will rise in line with a 0.9 per cent increase in the CPI for the six months to December 2008.

Allowance rates for single people, (21 or over, without children) have increased, to $453.30 per fortnight up from $449.30.

CPI increases will also apply to Newstart Allowance, Partner Allowance, Sickness Allowance, Widows Allowance and Parenting Payment Partnered.

People eligible for the Aged Pension (including those eligible for Rent Assistance), Special Benefit , Wife Pension, Widow B Pension, Carers Payment, Maternity Immunisation Allowance, Disability Support Pension, Bereavement Allowance and Rent Assistance (FTB recipients), will all benefit from the increases.

These increases in income support payments will be accompanied by an increase in the income and assets cut out amounts for these entitlements.

The Government has taken a number of steps to ease the financial pressure on pensioners’ budgets.

Following the dramatic falls on share markets, on October 2008 the Government asked Centrelink to review the value of listed securities and managed investments with the revised values taking effect from 3 November 2008. Another regular revaluation of all shares and managed investments held by pensioners will be undertaken by Centrelink on 20 March 2009.

The Government has also lowered the deeming rates to take account of lower returns on investments.

Around 290,000 older Australians will benefit from the Government’s $42 billion Nation Building and Jobs plan.

Self-funded retirees who paid tax in 2007-8 through investments or other income and part pensioners who paid even $1 of tax, will get a tax bonus of up to $900.

In total, excluding normal indexation, the Rudd Government has provided an additional $2,337 of assistance to single pensioners and $3,537 to pensioner couples since coming to office.

The Australian Government is committed to long term pension reform in the 2009-10 Budget.

Payment Rate, Threshold and Limits changes effective 20 March 2009

Summary of Changes – Pension
Adult Pension Basic Rates – Fortnightly Amounts
Previous Amount 20 Mar 2009 increase
Single base $542.80 $550.30 $7.50 pf
supplement $19.30 $19.50 $ 0.20 pf
Total $562.10 $569.80 $7.70 pf
Couple base $453.30 $459.60 $ 6.30 pf
supplement $16.20 $16.30 $ 0.10 pf
Total $469.50 $475.90 $ 6.40 pf
Youth Disability Support Pension Basic Rates – Fortnightly Amounts
Previous Amount 20 Mar 2009 increase
Member of a couple under 18 $469.50 $475.90 $ 6.40 pf
18 – 20 years $469.50 $475.90 $ 6.40 pf
Pension Disqualifying Income Limits – Fortnightly Amounts
Family Situation Previous Amount 20 Mar 2009 increase
Single $1,558.25 $1,577.50 $19.25 pf
Single + 1 child $1,582.85 $1,602.10 $19.25 pf
Couple (combined) $2,602.50 $2,634.50 $32.00 pf
For each Additional Child add $24.60 $24.60 $- pf
Illness Separated couple (combined) $3,080.50 $3,119.00 $38.50 pf