Help poorest pensioners first, not all pensioners, says advocacy group

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The federal government must make provision for pensioners experiencing hardship and older jobless Australians in next Tuesday’s Federal Budget, says advocacy group the Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association (CPSA).

While social services minister Anne Ruston has indicated there will be a cash boost for age pensioners in the budget after the September indexation adjustment was abandoned, the CPSA says the federal government must help the pensioners who are doing it hardest and not all age pensioners.

It wants the government to provide an additional permanent pension hardship supplement for the poorest pensioners, singles without assets and without private income, arguing that the living standard of single pensioners with no other source of income hovers just above the poverty line.

CPSA policy manager Paul Versteege says that rather than provide another $750 COVID payment, which would go to all pensioners, the government should target those who are most in need. “The majority of single full rate pensioners are widows and widowers, who have faced a drop in their pension of 40 per cent after the death of their partner,” he said.

The CPSA is also urging the government to continue to assist people over 55 who can’t find a job. A fortnightly COVID-19 supplement to the JobSeeker payment is set to be reduced from $550 to $250 after 31 December.

JobSeeker without the COVID-19 supplement is $565.70 per fortnight, almost 40 per cent less than the pension, the CPSA said in a statement. “Single pensioners know how hard it is to survive on $933.40 a fortnight.”

It says the government must increase the rate of JobSeeker permanently for everyone who is unemployed, including people over 55 who are effectively retired but haven’t reached pension age yet.

“The number of unemployed people over 55 has shot up,” it says, “as unemployment in every age cohort has shot up.

“Before COVID-19, there were 196,000 people over 55 on unemployment benefits. The chance of them finding employment was low then, but now there are 318,000 people over 55 on unemployment benefits, an increase of more than 60 per cent, finding a job has become even harder.”

The CPSA also advocates that the government should put in place a scheme aimed at getting people over 55 back into paid work.

“People over 55 have plenty to offer and will mostly live another 25 to 30 years,” it says. “They should not be relegated to permanent unemployment and mutual obligation ‘volunteer’ work. They need jobs!”

With the aged care royal commission due to hand down its report next February, the CPSA is seeking definitive action on the aged care system – now. “This has been shown up as deficient and failing many of the people who rely on it,” it said in a statement. “More home care packages and more money for more and better qualified nursing home staffing is what is required.

“No need to wait until February next year, when the commission delivers its final report: enough has come out to warrant immediate action.”

Anglicare has also called on the government to provide more support for age pensioners, particularly those who rent, after it released research that found only a small portion of the 77,000 rental listings across the country were affordable for those on a pension.

“Older people and people with disability are at greater risk during this pandemic,” said executive director of Anglicare Australia, Kasy Chambers. “But instead of getting more support, they’ve been left behind.

“Our Rental Affordability Update shows that an age pensioner can afford 0.8 per cent of rental listings across Australia. That’s even fewer than our last snapshot in March. Disability Support Pensioners face an even tougher situation. They can afford just 0.3 per cent.”

Ms Chambers wants the government to address a shortfall of 400,000 social homes, warning that if it fails to do so, Australian pensioners will be “left to the mercy of the market”.

Are you supportive of the CPSA call for a permanent ‘hardship’ supplement? Or should the base rate of the Age Pension be lifted?

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Written by Janelle Ward

93 Comments

Total Comments: 93
  1. 0
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    That seems a good idea and fair.

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      Yes totally agree. We live below poverty now. Paying $700 a fortnight in rent before anything else.

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      Joy Anne–Retired people can move to large regional towns with infrastructure similar to capital cities and rent a 2-bedroom unit for $380 to $400 per fortnight…do your research.

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      Arvo – I hear you but you are wrong about fortnight. I live in one of those regional towns and the rent could be right but it is a WEEK not a fortnight. Live in a unit, value about $475000 but if I needed to rent it the costs would be $500 a week. Simple really: body corp is $3000 and the council rates $2500. Repairs are all extra. The services are here as you say but I am talking about a place that does have more than one pub and it does have public transport.

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      A friend leases a 4 bed/2 bath brick and tile home with large rumpus room, in a prime location, for $300 per week. In the same large regional town, there are lovely 2-bed apartments on offer for $150 per week and even older style worker cottages for around $160 per week.

      Where I live, you can rent a very decent small cottage or apartment for $180 per week and there are lots of opportunities for shared accommodation with own bedroom and bath and often a sitting room as well for $120 per week including power, water, Fox, phone and Internet. I have friends who live in onsite caravans or little cottages in caravan parks that they bought for less than $15,000 and they pay $90 per week for a site with power and water and use of the park BBQ area, laundry and swimming pool. I also know several folk who get FREE accommodation in return for very light care-taking duties on properties or in campgrounds or leisure parks. There ARE options for those with limited means. The problem is that when other people are footing the bill, too many think the money grows on trees and they are entitled to just pluck it off to indulge all their wants.

      A friend’s parents started married life in a tent on the showgrounds, and lived there for 4 years – 2 of that with a baby – while saving a house deposit. Now they are expected to fund a much more comfortable lifestyle for folk who would never dream of tolerating that sort of hardship, but just expect taxpayers to compensate for the fact that they spent like drunken sailors all their working life. I’m not surprised that they are thoroughly incensed at the attack on homeowners and self-funded retirees, and lacking in sympathy for a lot of the renters who are screaming for more.

      Mariner, I hear you, but I don’t see why the taxpayer should supply anyone with that sort of accommodation. Many SFRs own units worth less than $475,000 and get NOTHING from the taxpayer purse.

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      You must live somewhere cheaper, Youngagain. Here you would not get anything like that. Of course you can buy a cottage in a van park but then the fees are $210 a week for which of course you collect rent assistance since you do not pay council rates. Purchase price is from $58’000 to over $125’000. Some parks here have closed on the tenants were told to pack up their manufactured homes and find somewhere else. But good luck to you and your friends for finding a cheaper place.

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    Just wait till the folks on part pensions and SFR start up…. I will be waiting for there obligatory stuff you comments for not saving and not having a house etc etc.

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      On the other hand, pianos, if the government decides to assess everyone’s house then home owners will also be struggling to survive.

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      You won’t have to worry about owning a house when the “One World” agenda kicks in. It will be taken off you and owned by the state. By the way, that spare bedroom you have for the grandkids to come and stay in; that will be gone too. They will give it to some illegal immigrant and their family to use. You will share the bathroom, kitchen and they will get priority over what TV shows will be shown. Communism…a veritable utopia for the lame brained and spendthrifts thats think the government owes them a living.

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      Oh boy this ones a corker, you need not worry. A certain country with a 1.4 billion population will nuke the place before we have to worry.

      If Co-vid 19 does not get you fallout will, they tried with covid now they will try the rest.

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      How about Panos you STOP SCAREMONGERING about the Chinese flu. In excess of 99.75% that contract it only suffer mild symptoms. You are, obviously, one of the 60% that think Chairman “Delusional Dan” is doing a good job; Stockholm Syndrome at it’s worst. Stop listening to main stream media and do some research for yourself; then go lobby your stupid, cowardly politicians to reinstate HCQ as an optional treatment dispensed by your GP. You have succumbed to the lies of Big Pharma and their quest to have you sitting in your lounge room, scared witless waiting for them to ride to the rescue with a vaccine that, in all probability, given previous results, will only work for 40 – 60% of recipients. There is at least two sides to every argument. You need to research before you come to a conclusion, especially if you take your ‘facts’ from Ch. 7, 9 and ABC and the other MSM you plug in to.

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      I suspect Panos that you are one of those that have your hand out, often, judging by a lot of your comments.
      Personally I know plenty who have wasted their opportunities in life and now stand to benefit.
      Is it any wonder people become resentful, after following the advice of previous governments to support themselves, barely.
      I have no truck with widows and widowers getting a more balanced income after the loss of a partner and I’ve now doubt there are other genuine cases. But by heck I do take umbrage on others who have had the good life and now demand support. I make no apology to you or any other, failure to address this disparity is bog standard for political parties and only serves to pit people like you against others. Stop it!

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      You are a grub Panos – I am a self funded retiree and I believe this idea has merit

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      Keep that Red Flag flying Panos. Someone has to re-distrubute the hard won earnings of others and live off the State, having made minimal contributions.
      The low return on shares has upturned the incomes of the elderly placing many SMR under the poverty line

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      Im with you panos and tobymyers, stick it to them . take all the rich of here and their will just be us left.

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      Yes, johnboy, you’ll be left with a lot of poor dumb whingers who can do nothing to help themselves, let alone the nation.

  3. 0
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    To get the young unemployed off Centrelink, they should be doing farm fruit and vegetable picking. It is bloody good work and money. Get them moving. That would help ease up more money for disability and age pensions.

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      Have you ever, ever been picking until you have make no comment…..

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      It’s curious that some farms have a few difficulties attracting pickers year after year when they provide appropriate pay and conditions (and avoid misbehaving towards the pickers) and others struggle to find backpackers and migrant workers. It is scarcely surprising some farms in need of pickers cannot attract workers when the backpackers and migrant workers are not around.

      Don’t expect young people to enthusiastically up stumps if they cannot expect to make minimum wage after factoring in relocation and living costs.

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      Totally agree

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      panos – I did work in wineries, picking grapes, carrying them in hods up or down the slopes in Europe but then I grew up in a country where you got no money as a young person. You found a job and should you lose it you then got unemployment benefits. If you found it hard as a bloke you could apply to do your compulsory army service early, thus you were in accommodation and tucker and a sum of money enough to get you a beer and a pack of cigarettes a day. After 18 years of age you could not live in a town with no work – you had to follow the work. Most probably was not different here in the 50-60s (before Whitlam and Jim “mudbath” Cairns).

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      Helen -you are entitled to your view ignore panos –

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    WE should never forget that a very large and influential group within the Liberal Party is completely opposed to any and all forms of “welfare” support. Don’t ever expect fairness or compassion from the LNP – its in their genes to deny support to the poor, those out of work, the aged, people with disabilities etc. By the way, this same LNP group word dismantle Medicare and the PBS if they could get away with it – yet many of us in need keep voting them into power. Where’s our common sense?

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      You are welcome to vote for “Two Way” Albo. The last time I checked it was a free country…but only just…Victoria has fallen and Queensland is on the brink. The other states are teetering. Communist utopia. Where everyone, apart from the ruling class, are relegated to the lowest common denominator. Try moaning about the lack of money to play the pokies then. Ask Victorians how the world’s longest lockdown and punitive measures imposed for dumb regulation breaches are going.

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      Old Silver Fox, going well, actually! We are nearly there. Forget the stupid politics as it won’t work with this virus but not moving will work. It is fine, we are going well, now people understand the lives of the disabled and people who are too poor to have the many choices of movement. Go to Russia or China to really see communism. We are so lucky to be in Australia at the moment as not even the UK or the US are safe. Off topic to boot!
      Yes, give some extra money to single renters with no house or assets. Fine with me!

    • 0
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      Farside you need to redo your checking.

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      The way our politicians have cooked the electoral system, with preferences, you only ever vote for one or other of the major parties, it’s just so well camouflaged, most people never see where their vote really goes. To the politicians who sell out the country and have put in place an aged pension for themselves and a much lesser one for the rest of us.

  5. 0
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    But how are you going to define that? Just like everything, there will be those who can slip through the cracks.

  6. 0
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    This is not a good idea I have seen well to do pensioners rort the system quite easily and I can’t see this changing if more money is fed to those with less because we will see a lot of horse trading going on in families to maximize their pension .

    The simple way to fix pensions , and I get sick of saying it , is to simplify the payments .One single pension means tested on income …..end of story .

    • 0
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      You are spot on. Our poor neighbors in NZ have a universal OA Pension. Everyone gets it and everyone puts in a tax return. The infrastructure is there already. Then, those who have other income from assets or other sources pay tax, which means they give more back. Overall their taxation system is simpler and their health and aged care is better. What could be fairer?

  7. 0
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    Yes another looney lefty idea. Reward the dopey decisions and “hard luckers”. Make the thrifty pay for the idle. Communist utopia is upon us. If you really want to see it in action then move to North Korea and experience it first hand…if not wait a few more years and you’ll have it in Australia…then you’ll be sorry. It’s already a reality in Chairman “Delusional Dan’s” Victoria and probably coming to Pallet Chooks Queensland.

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      Old silver Fox, the Super Rich, the Multi-Billionaires who own the Multinational corporations now own the world, and certainly Australia, what is this “Communist takeover” nonsense you are spouting, – at least, if we are to be taken over, let’s be aware who it is that is doing it.
      Communism, – hardly any young people know what it means, nor give a duff, – things have changed silver Fox, – who you thought would save you are now owning you, wake up yourself.
      Growing old is mandatory, growing up is a choice requiring lots of hard work.

  8. 0
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    The base rate of the aged pension is too low. The aged pension should not be seen as a welfare payment, but a payment of support for our elderly who have reached the end of their working lives, and who are deserving of our support during their pensioner years. This support should include a fortnightly payment amount which would allow our elderly to live a comfortable life, free from financial stress. The base rate of the age pension needs to rise to allow all our elderly, who are eligible for the old age pension. Should those amount them are doing it tough, due to reasons beyond their control, then further support in the form of affordable and subsidised housing, health discounts, and energy discounts could be provided. As far a welfare payments go, the government needs to cut back in certain areas as to not create an ‘entitled’ society. As far as welfare payments go, the government needs to get back to basics, and wind back all those payments that are contributing toward us becoming an ‘entitled’ community who think the government has plenty of money and should be supporting us during our working lives. No more money for having children, no more extravagant maternity or paternity leave, no more money for subsidising child care, and a more strict ‘work for the dole’ scheme for those who cannot, or will not, find paying work. Our federal government’s main priorities should be aged care (including aged pensions) and disability payments for those who cannot genuinely work, along with providing health care and building the necessary infrastructure our country desperately needs. It is called ‘Getting back to Basics’ or a ‘Federal Government Reset’ if your like.

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      None of you thought it was a good idea to support Australian manufacturers did you. Just beetle off to the Reject shop or similar hole to spend what the state has given you there expect the government to pay for your lifestyle. A lot of pensioners needn’t have finished up on the “old age dole” if they had thought about their future; however they chose to think that the government was responsible for their lives in old age. They were totally unaccountable for their own decisions, burdening the workers instead. Very selfish attitude. CoogeeGuy you are espousing your theories on what welfare should be on one hand and on the other saying it shouldn’t give rise to an “entitled” mentality. You can’t have a dollar each way, so make up your mind as to which side you are on. In your communist utopia I can assure you there will be no luxuries and you will live at a subsistence level. None of your comments address how the governments, state or federal, are going to fund your dream.

    • 0
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      None of you thought it was a good idea to support Australian manufacturers did you.

      What are you gabbing on about, the good old bosses and share holders are the ones that took everything to do with manufacturing overseas to guess where. FOR PROFIT.

      Now china has the money and is flexing it’s muscle thanks to bosses and shareholders..

      ARE you one Old Silver Fox

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      Let’s not forget, the Age Pension was first introduced in Australia in June 1908, delivering support for older generations and helping people to live more comfortably in later life.
      The rhetoric surrounding the release of the Age Pension was that people had a right to live out their old age free from poverty because of their contribution to the community through a lifetime’s hard work. There was later a change to remove the stigma of charity by adopting a universal 7.5% contribution from all workers.
      But a series of Governments and crooked or incompetent politicians over the years, have raided the pot of gold created by Australian tax payers. But they didn’t stop there: they’ve also sold off all the assets our taxes paid for that once produced income and committed future generations to pay for their reckless spending. Australians have been stripped of assets and committed to endless debt by politicians and Public Servants who have a guaranteed retirement stream while they sold the rest of us down the drain.
      Now they’re looking for how to steal more from we oldies to fund their generous, life-time pensions that we could only dream of.
      I’d love to see a politician try to correct the system, but those who are making millions as a result of our politician’s decisions and paying no taxes other than the little bit the give to the pollies, will make sure the system keeps going till there’s nothing left. Then they’ll just move elsewhere. Sadly people in power can’t resist the temptation to abuse that power and we the people keep getting poorer as a result.
      I remember going off to fight for the right to a fair go and to keep Australia the lucky country, but wonder: lucky for who?
      I buy Australian and New Zealand by choice, but sine the Lima Declaration, our politicians have made it almost impossible to do this. They even penalized those who wanted to manufacture here by imposing tariffs while issuing rights to provide goods into Australia at tax-free rates. It seems we can’t even survive a month without imported medicines!

  9. 0
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    Agree totally with Coogee guy views. And I agree that the poorer aged and disability pensioners (non home owners ) should be catered for first. Alot of these people are in this position due to reasons beyond their control. No one chooses to be homeless ,rent unable to afford decent meals. Getting these people to a basic standard of living is humane and how can others say, they don’t deserve help.

  10. 0
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    Hi Pano & Helen probably picking is hard work how about packing .My idea would be to
    “ allow”fit healthy pensioners to pack fruit maybe just a couple of half days a week ,without being penalised . My biggest concern would be the resume mm who can remember what yr they left school ,time between jobs A,B,C alto I fail to understand why you need references ect to pack fruit & vegs. Mm waiting for the omgs re this idea

    • 0
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      justjanet, I went fruit picking with a group of mates, – some of us were good, some not worth paying and some kept putting bad fruit amongst the good, – we only got paid for what we picked, if we only earnt a dollar a day we were in the way, fruit picking is a skill like most jobs, very few old people will be good at it unless they already are.

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