300,000 to get higher pensions or pension for first time
Three hundred thousand pensioners will receive higher pensions from today or be eligible to access the pension system for the first time as a result of major reform of the pension assets test.
Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Mal Brough, said from today, the rate at which pensions are reduced as a result of assets over limits would be halved.
“Pensions will be reduced by $1.50 each fortnight for every $1000 of assets above the allowable asset limit for full pension, instead of the previous $3 each fortnight,” Mr Brough said.
“This major change is part of the Government’s Better Superannuation reforms, designed to assist older Australians. This is reform that is only possible as a direct result of the Howard Government’s strong economic management. It is reform that would not be possible under the high unemployment, high interest rates and lower wages that is Labor’s hallmark.”
Based on pension rates from 20 September, the assets limits to receive a pension from 20 September are:
- single homeowners: $529,250 (up from $343,750)
- single non-homeowners: $650,250 (up from $464,750)
- couple homeowners: $839,500 (up from $531,000)
- couple non-homeowners: $960,500 (up from $652,000).
“People already receiving a part pension under the assets test will automatically receive a pension increase from today.
“Anyone who thinks as a consequence of these changes they may be eligible for a part pension should contact Centrelink to test their eligibility.”
The Minister said all pensioners would benefit from increased pensions as a result of the twice yearly indexation.
“Pensions are indexed every six months in line with inflation,” Mr Brough said.
“In addition, the Howard Government’s commitment to ensure pensions are at least 25 per cent of Male Total Average Weekly Earnings will see pensions increase above inflation from today.
“The maximum single pension rate will rise by $12.60 to $537.70 a fortnight, while the maximum partnered pension rate for each member of a couple will rise by $10.60 to $449.10 a fortnight.
“As a result of linking pensions to wages the maximum single rate of pension has now risen $72.80 a fortnight above inflation ($1,892.80 a year) and the maximum rate for a couple has risen $122.60 a fortnight above inflation ($3,187.60 a year.)”
For more information about the assets test changes and how to make a claim you can visit your local Centrelink Customer Service Centre, go to the Centrelink website or call Centrelink on 13 2300.