Media Release by The Hon Jenny Macklin MP

Seniors and carers bonus payments

More than 430,000 carers and 2.7 million seniors have started receiving more than $1.8 billion in bonuses from the Australian Government.

All payments are due to be paid by the end of the month. Where possible, the bonus payments will be paid direct into bank accounts.

Bonus recipients will not have to pay tax on the payment and the bonus does not count as income for social security purposes.

Eligible older Australians will each receive a $500 bonus.

Recipients of Carer Payment and Department of Veterans’ Affairs Carer Service Pensions will receive $1000.

Carer Allowance recipients who receive a Wife Pension or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Partner Service Pension will receive $1000.

Carer Allowance recipients will also be paid $600 for each eligible care receiver.

Eligible seniors and carers will also be receiving the June quarter instalment of $125 of the annual Utilities Allowance.

The Rudd Government has delivered on our election commitment and increased the Utilities Payment from $107 to $500 a year.

This is the first year that Carer Payment recipients and Disability Support Pensioners will receive the Utilities payment.

These measures mean that many single aged pensioners will receive an additional $900 this year on top of their fortnightly pension while couples will receive around $1,400 extra between them.

Many carers who receive both Carer Allowance and Carer Payment will receive at least $2,100 on top of their fortnightly benefits in 2008.

The Government knows that many pensioners and carers are finding it tough to make ends meet. These measures go some way to helping them manage cost of living pressures.

While there is more to do to get this right, we have made a start. But to deliver long term security and certainty to pensioners and carers we need to fix the system.

That’s why we are undertaking a review into retirement incomes, including the age pension as part of the Inquiry into Australia’s Future Tax System, announced in the Budget on 13 May.

A key component of the inquiry will be to look at the adequacy of existing support for seniors and carers, and suggest measures which could strengthen their financial security in the long term.

ACT 4,214 24,531
NSW 149,286 783,035
NT 1,928 8,186
QLD 82,044 419,010
SA 36,142 207,879
TAS 12,609 64,361
VIC 114,795 597,894
WA 31,983 206,071
Total 433,000** 2,719, 967*
Grand Total 3,152,967

*Figures are estimates only and include FaHCSIA, DEEWR and DVA customers. State-by-state breakdown of DEEWR and DVA customers has not been provided.
** Estimated number of carers that will receive a 2008 bonus by state.