Thousands of Australians have had their Centrelink cost-of-living concession doubled in a move aimed at providing some relief for all those experiencing hardship.
Ahead of the twice-yearly review of Age Pension rates, which takes effect on 20 September, some state governments have been making additional cost-of-living payments to pensioners and low-income earners.
Pensioners and low-income earners in South Australia have begun receiving up to $449 directly into their bank accounts, under a scheme introduced in this year’s state budget.
Under SA rules, the cost-of-living concession is an annual payment made to holders of the Pensioner Concession Card, DVA Gold Card, Low Income Health Care Card and the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC).
The usual rate is $224.50 for homeowner-occupiers and $112.30 for self-funded homeowner-occupiers with a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, as well as renters.
But this year those payments have been doubled to $449 and $224.60 respectively.
SA Premier Peter Malinauskas told News Corp it was the largest payment to concession card holders and low-income earners ever from a state government.
“With the rising cost-of-living pressures, inflation and an influx of [increased] interest rates, this payment could not come at a better time,” he said.
“This one-off, doubled cost-of-living concession payment was what we promised – and we’re now delivering on it.”
The SA move has brought into focus concessions available to pensioners and concession card holders in other states.
Up to 30 June 2023, all Victorians can apply for the $250 Power Saving Bonus simply by visiting the Victorian Energy Compare website to compare energy offers. The payment is limited to one per household.
On top of that, holders of a Pensioner Concession Card, DVA Gold Card or Low-Income Health Care Card can apply for the Electricity Concession. This provides a discount of 17.5 per cent off your annual electricity bill, if your bills are under $2948 annually.
New South Wales
In NSW, the Pension Supplement is intended to help those living on a pension with their bills, including energy bills.
But there is help for self-funded retirees in the form of the NSW Seniors Energy Rebate. This $200 payment is to help pay for electricity costs; gas accounts aren’t included.
The NSW Seniors Energy Rebate is available for eligible independent self-funded retirees to help cover the cost of electricity. Gas accounts are not included.
To be eligible you need to hold a CSHC.
From September, all Queensland households that are charged separately for electricity (i.e., electricity isn’t included in your rent) will automatically receive the $175 Cost of Living Rebate for households.
This is on top of the existing electricity and gas rebates for Queensland seniors. The seniors’ electricity rebate works out to $372.20 per year, while the gas rebate is $80.77 per year.
Eligible recipients are holders of the Queensland Seniors Card, Pensioner Concession Card and DVA Gold Card.
Coming close to South Australia’s offer, the WA government announced a $400 Household Electricity Credit in May as part of its state budget.
In addition, WA offers three energy rebates: the $310.60 Energy Assistance Payment (EAP), the $65.05 per month Air Conditioning Rebate and the Dependent Child Rebate, which is paid at $326.60 for one child and $85.58 for each additional child.
The NT government offers possibly the most generous cost-of-living concessions, giving residents up to $1200 back on their electricity bills annually.
It gets even better for seniors. Under the NT Seniors Recognition scheme, you can get a $500 prepaid card to spend on anything you like.
Australian Capital Territory
Under the ACT’s Utilities Concession Scheme, eligible households can receive up to $750 per year to help with power bills.
You need to apply for the rebate directly through your energy provider. The rebate is calculated on a daily basis and will be applied to your existing account.
Are you eligible for any of these concessions? Would they help with your cost of living at the moment? Let us know in the comments section below.
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