Age Pension, deeming rates not realistic: poll finds

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The base rate of the Age Pension is not a liveable amount, deeming rates must reflect reality and too many older Australians are hell-bent on leaving an inheritance for the kids at the expense of a comfortable retirement. That was your message from our Friday Flash Poll: Deeming rates and the Age Pension.

New Social Services Minister Anne Ruston was put under intense pressure to reduce deeming rates after the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) cut official interest rates to a record low of one per cent. She responded with the first change to deeming in four years, but were the cuts enough? Your feedback was emphatic.

Asked, ‘Was the deeming rate cut from 1.75 per cent to one per cent for investments up to $52,000 (single pensioners) and $86,000 (couples) enough?’, 76 per cent of respondents said no.

Asked, ‘Was the decrease from 3.25 per cent to three per cent for amounts over $52,000 (singles) and amounts over $86,000 (couples) enough?’ and the response was even louder with 89 per cent of respondents saying no.

We also asked if there should be an independent and transparent process to decide on deeming rates and the result was comprehensive. An overwhelming 96 per cent of the 519 respondents said yes.

YourLifeChoices member Eddy spoke for many when he said: “I am not against deeming rates per se, even though it is the deeming rates that keep me from qualifying for a part Age Pension. However they must reflect reality.” Eddy suggested deeming rates be tied to the official cash rate and go up or down automatically.

Our poll then sought to gauge your views on the Age Pension in the wake of the Federal Government’s announcement that it will conduct a wide-ranging review of retirement income.

We asked, ‘Should there be an urgent review of the base rate of the Age Pension?’ and 93 per cent of respondents said yes. Asked by how much the fortnightly rate should be lifted and 53 per cent said $71-$100, 27 per cent said $51-$70 and 21 per cent said up to $50.

YourLifeChoices member terrib said the basic pension was not a liveable amount. “[The] last increase I did not receive any more money, in fact I am now 60 cents worse off.” Terrib was unsure why that was the case and was not looking forward to trying to find out. “… how I am worse off I have no idea. I guess I will have to contact Centrelink … but the time you spend waiting on hold is daunting to say the least.”

Terrib’s concerns about contacting Centrelink were reflected in another question, ‘Do you trust Centrelink to ensure you are receiving all applicable payments and allowances?’ Again, the response was a roar with 84 per cent of respondents saying no.

So would a universal Age Pension solve many problems? Yes, said 86 per cent of respondents.

Funky referred members to the New Zealand system. “NZ has a simple solution to the ridiculously complicated pension system we have here. That is: ALL over 65 receive full pension irrespective of their wealth, or lack thereof. No asset test, no income tests.”

Thoughtful was another in favour of a universal Age Pension: “A UAP should be a replacement for all tax incentives and then taxed normally on top of any other income received in retirement. Simplifying the tax system and OAP avoids rorting, is an incentive for people to save for their retirement (the incentive being any amount saved is beneficial as it is better than just the pension which everybody would receive), avoids the unbelievable bureaucracy involved with the OAP and keeps funds flushing through the government coffers.”

Arvo said: “The Government is out of touch with age pensioners – not because they are unable to make improvement but by their oppressive design to keep age pensioners on the edge of poverty.”

GeorgeM issued a call to arms. “The Government’s Retirement Incomes Review is coming up soon, and that is the right time for all to act. Too often, people in Canberra claim they did not get much input for such reviews, and that is squarely the fault of inertia among the lazy people. The other option is to start a petition – I have suggested to YourLifeChoices to start one …”

Berryupset followed up with: “ALL these comments should be brought to the attention of the Minister and our rep! I`ve emailed and complained to my fed MP! Please do the same!!!”

Members also used the poll forum to highlight another ‘problem’ – the desire of many older Australians to leave an inheritance for their children.

Tanker said: “The problem with the Age Pension is that so many view their retirement investments as something to be hoarded to pass on to their children.”

In2sunset concurred: “Nothing galls me more than hearing seniors talk about how they are scrimping and saving in order to ‘leave something for the kids’. At the same time, I see them complaining about the cost of running the aircon, or the cost of medication.”

Will you lobby your local member of parliament for a say in the government’s retirement income review?

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Written by Janelle Ward

87 Comments

Total Comments: 87
  1. 0
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    A waste of time talking to this government, especially our local member – new on the job, a simple farmer with no idea who was surprised to get elected, sitting on the back bench, and nodding his head in the background when somebody higher in rank appears.

    The philosophy is: less tax, fewer services, and if you can’t afford to pay for it, you should work longer in a better job. I’m alright, Jack.

    The majority voted for this, so suck it up. Regrets? Always remember, half of the population has an IQ lower than average.

    • 0
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      I couldn’t agree with you more. It was reiterated again to me during the recent election that voters are generally ignorant, easily influenced by four word slogans and believe a Facebook meme that turns up on their feed. Many voters don’t bother to ask the most basic questions of candidates just blindly cast their vote. I have no sympathy for many retirees who just swallowed up Palmer advertising and similar and LNP rhetoric.
      We are supposed to grow wiser with age. Not the case for many.
      So you silly oldies that believed the death tax, the retirees tax, franking credit line when you have no entitlement, if your pension is being stretched beyond its capacity to pay rent, food, medical, transport, power bills, it’s your own fault. YOU VOTED FOR IT!

    • 0
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      Perhaps a well organised petition to the governments retirement income review with some balanced ideas and no party political bias would be worth a try. Remember half of the population has an IQ above average and I suspect probably more of a percentage in the older age groups.

    • 0
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      .. and never forget that 98% at least have an IQ lower than mine…

    • 0
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      **pats self on back and checks tickets on self**

      Right – that’s the comedy segment done and dusted – now for the real issues… I vote for Independents, BTW… anything to bring the bastards down..

      We need The Trebor Scheme of a fully independent, untouchable organisation that will handle retirement package funding for all on equal terms…

    • 0
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      Chooky, I don’t think too many people “swallowed up Palmer advertising”.

    • 0
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      I agree Chooky. I can never understand why older people, unless wealthy, vote for the coalition.

      I also love Janus’ idea of a universal pension.

    • 0
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      TREBOR you were doing so well meeting the IQ requirements but alas fell into party politics trap. The biggest advantage of having a secret ballot is that nobody knows who you vote for unless you chose to tell them. Let them all consider all seniors as swinging voters who require being wooed. It really is our greatest power.

    • 0
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      I don’t vote for any party….. just saying… I vote for every alternative I can see… in the eternal hope of a change…

      Nobody really knows who I vote for – I could say anything online….. maybe I’m a hardened Morrison fan or something….

  2. 0
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    I get the full aged pension with supplements, I RENT and I can still save $7000 or more a year from the payment.

    • 0
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      Please tell me how you do that??? I get the full pension, and the most I have saved in a year is less than $1000, which ended up being spent on car repairs……..I have a housing loan, don’t smoke, drink or gamble……seldom buy new clothes, don’t eat out……

    • 0
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      In fact rent costs me nothing at all, that’s one of the boons of getting the pension

    • 0
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      One of your comments states you rent, PIXAPD, and the next seems to say you live rent free. I would imagine everyone here could save if they lived rent free.

    • 0
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      In order to get the rent supplement the rent must cost above a certain amount so PIXAPD you make no sense. I am sure pensioners are paying $7000 and more for rent per year.

    • 0
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      I said…’rent costs me nothing at all, that’s one of the boons of getting the pension’ try and understand the comment please

    • 0
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      Try and explain it instead… rent can’t cost you nothing.. if it costs nothing it’s not rent….

    • 0
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      The dull mind comprehends not a simple comment

    • 0
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      And bad manners don’t make you look intelligent, PIXAPD.

    • 0
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      Triss, You comprehended my comment completely?

    • 0
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      PIXAPD, your comment “rent costs me nothing at all, that’s one of the boons of getting the pension” is perhaps too obtuse for some readers. Perhaps you should have said you receive the supplement (mentioned this on a previous post). Nevertheless you are doing well to save as you do and I again think it would be worthwhile YLC telling your story.

    • 0
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      Farside: Indeed, it seems some readers are ‘obtuse’ I shall allow for that in the future.

      Yet I can say that rent, expenses, daily living, travel, power, even savings, etc etc COSTS ME NOTHING, it’s all free. Also the more I give away to charities the move I have left over, God is no mans debtor

    • 0
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      How on earth can you get all those things for free PIXAPO?, you don’t get allowances for daily living included in the pension, do you live with family members who allow you to live with them without paying board of any kind, how else is it free?

    • 0
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      Ah well….smiles. I think sausages mash and gravy for supper.

    • 0
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      …just ignore…we have been down this path with pixapd before

    • 0
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      Farside: YLC would not do my story, because they are as THICK as folks here. they have no interest about how to save free money, But thanks for your kind comment that YLC should.
      I’ll remove notifications on this issue for folks are NOT WORTHY to be taught, they are just rude, ignorant folk

    • 0
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      Misty the taxpayer is paying for PIXAPD as he saved nothing and owns nothing. Unlike other countries in Australia savers are harshly penalised while those who spend everything or fall on hard times are treated to the largess of the welfare payment system.

      There is no discrimination there. No proving why you blew all your money. Just save and be damned.

      It’s free if someone else puts the money in your bank every fortnight.

    • 0
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      My God tell me how you do that as I am soley dependent on the OAP ans no way could I save that and I am in a government housing home !
      I don.t drink ,smoke ,or have a social life and the only asset I have is a 32 years old car that gets me from A to B !
      But then again it does cost me a wack each fortnight on Medication !
      Dotty

    • 0
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      Maybe Pixapd is in prison. that’s free.

    • 0
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      NanNorma – spot on! Prisoners have it better than most pensioners.

      Here’s a good solution – let’s put the pensioners in jail and the criminals in a nursing home, this way the pensioners would have access to showers, hobbies and walks, they’d receive unlimited free prescriptions, dental and medical treatment, wheel chairs etc and they’d receive money instead of paying it out, they would have constant video monitoring, so they could be helped instantly, if they fell, or needed assistance, bedding would be washed twice a week, and all clothing would be ironed and returned to them, a guard would check on them every 20 minutes and bring their meals and snacks to their cell, they would have family visits in a suite built for that purpose, they would have access to a library, weight room, spiritual counselling, pool and education, simple clothing, shoes, slippers, PJ’s and legal aid would be free, on request, private, secure rooms for all, with an exercise outdoor yard, with gardens, each senior could have a PC a TV radio and daily phone calls, there would be a board of directors to hear complaints, and the guards would have a code of conduct that would be strictly adhered to.
      The criminals would get cold, bland, cheap reheated food, be left all alone and unsupervised, lights off at 7pm, and showers once a week, live in a tiny room and pay $450.00 per week and have no hope of ever getting out.

  3. 0
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    Totally agree with you Janus and Chooky. I’m sure the people who voted for this lot of incompetents looked at the biased press headlines and never looked beyond that to realise pensioners are living poor and the economy was in dire straights. They believed all their lies about being in surplus – not – and not likely to be any time soon. Recession yes, already technically there. All those worried about what they were going to lose in franking credits are probably much worse off now the interest rates have dropped so far, and not finished yet. Tell me the Government had no idea that was going to happen, as the pigs fly off to put their snouts in a public funded lunch trough somewhere today. Meanwhile pensioners all around this country are wondering how they’re going to pay their bills or buy a basic loaf of bread or milk, while sitting in the cold too scared to put on the heater.

  4. 0
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    PAXD. A real please explain this one. Seems you are smug about the free rent.
    Please explain.

  5. 0
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    The spin for the changes to the 2017 Assets Test was based on lies and broken promises.
    I’ll never vote LNP or Greens in any election be it Federal, State or Local.

    • 0
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      Nor I – and nor will I ever vote Labor while ever they cling like a drowning barnacle to their social policies, which are really only a disguise for their current elitist betrayal of the common people for their own benefit …

    • 0
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      Agree with both – that rules out Liberal, Labor & Greens…Next question is how do we unite the Retirees to get rid of these 3 anti-Retiree parties’ MPs?

  6. 0
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    I agree with Tanker and In2sunset in the article. Spend your savings on your retirement living costs. The kids will be just fine.

  7. 0
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    This government has ripped off pensioners and part pensioners by $1Bn dollars over the past 5 years, due to lack of appropriate management of deeming rate system which amounts to theft!

  8. 0
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    Both LNP, Greens and Labour have all been complicit in the fraudulent ‘Deeming Rate’ for cash Term Deposits. Not one of these parties demonstrated leadership on this issue and stepped forward to argue that we were been robbed for the past five years!

    • 0
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      bit rough to spread the blame on this issue as neither the Greens nor ALP had any power to change the deeming rate in the past five years

  9. 0
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    I suggest that those who are pushing for a Universal Pension already are better off than those who are currently on a pension and probably don’t need the money. I emphasise don’t need but they do want it.

    • 0
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      Jealous! Don’t worry, if you don’t unite to go for Universal Age Pension and get Govt out of the habit of using Age Pension as a cash cow to be attacked whenever they want to, your turn will come and soon you will be paid only Newstart say till 75!

  10. 0
    0

    I suggest that those who are pushing for a Universal Pension already are better off than those who are currently on a pension and probably don’t need the money. I emphasise don’t need but they do want it.

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