Significant changes were made to Australian pensions, as part of the Australian Government's Secure and Sustainable Pension Reform. Most of the changes came into effect on 20 September 2009.
How do these changes affect me?
If you, or someone you know is receiving the Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, Wife Pension, Widow B Pension, Carer Payment, Service Pension or Income Support Supplement, these changes may apply.
What are the changes?
The changes include:
- an increase on 20 September 2009 in the maximum pension rate of $70.83 a fortnight for singles and $29.93 a fortnight combined for couples, including indexation
- the introduction of the Pension Supplement which combines the GST Supplement, Pharmaceutical Allowance, Utilities Allowance and internet rate of Telephone Allowance into the new Pension Supplement and an additional increase, which will be paid fortnightly
- new indexation arrangements for the base pension to better reflect changes in pensioners' living costs
- the introduction of the Seniors Supplement which combines the Seniors Concession Allowance and Telephone Allowance for Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders and eligible Department of Veterans' Affairs Gold Card holders.
- the introduction of the Work Bonus for pensioners who have reached qualifying age for Age Pension and have employment income.
- changes to the income test, which may affect how the rate of your pension payment is determined. Existing pensioners at 19 September 2009 did not receive a payment reduction because of changes to the income test. The Department of Human Services will assess all current pensioners under both the old income test rules and the new rules.
- closure of the Pension Bonus Scheme to new entrants who did not qualify for Age Pension before 20 September 2009
Other changes include:
- enhancements to Advance Payment for pensioners from 1 July 2010 with an increase in the amount of pension that can be advanced and multiple advances made each year
- a gradual increase in the qualifying age for Age Pension from 65 to 67, increasing by six months every two years - these changes will start from 1 July 2017 and will not affect anyone born before 1 July 1952
- an annual Carer Supplement for Carer Payment and Carer Allowance recipients. The next annual payment will be made to eligible recipients from July this year. Carer Allowance recipients will also receive an additional supplement for each eligible person in their care.
- Age Pension
- Pension Indexation
- An Increase in the Pension Rate
- The Pension Supplement
- Quarterly Pension Supplement
- Work Bonus
- Pensioners overseas
- New Transitional Rate
- Changes to Pension Advance Payments
- Contact details for more information
For further information about pensions, visit the Department of Human Services website.
Veterans, War Widows and War Widowers can visit the Department of Veterans' Affairs website for more information.