Jettys Journal - August 2017


Pension age on its way north IF YOU’RE about to turn 65 and hoping to become eligible for an age pension or part pension, you’re out of luck. From July 1, the pension age rose by six months to 65 years and six months as part of the federal government’s attempts to cut back on welfare spending, particularly across the ageing sector. The pension eligibility age will continue to rise by six months every two years until it reaches 67 in July 2023.

There are no changes for anyone born before July 1, 1952. For these people the age pension qualifying age remains 65.

The federal government has also confirmed that its proposal to raise the pension age to 70 by 2035 is still policy although not yet legislated.

ALL THIS LIVING! Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association policy co-ordinator Paul Versteege described the plan as “a cynical money-saving policy that will throw tens of thousands of post- baby boomers on the Newstart scrap heap”. “Blue-collar workers, tradies and people in disrupted industries who don’t make it to 70 in their jobs, may face well over a decade on Newstart, which is 40 per cent lower than the age pension for singles and 22 per cent lower for couples,” he said. In effect, it means unemployed older people who can’t find a job, or who are no longer physically capable of working in their chosen field (but not eligible for a disability support pension), will be paid the Newstart allowance – about $579.30 a fortnight at today’s rates for a single person after nine continuous months on income support, and dependent on assets. They may be able to draw on superannuation but will risk exhausting this funding by the time they become eligible for a pension, leaving them solely reliant on the welfare payment. In some circumstances money taken out of superannuation for day-to-day living may also be considered an asset. The move to age 70 pension eligibility has remained on the Coalition’s books since the 2014 budget, despite other unpopular measures being axed. It is opposed by Labor. “How does [Prime Minister] Malcolm Turnbull expect construction workers, miners, nurses and farmers to work until they’re 70? He’s completely out of touch,” said shadow social services spokesperson Jenny Macklin.

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August 2017 | Volume 14 | Issue 8

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