Government assistance that could help you

YourLifeChoices keeps you up to date with government changes that could affect your retirement.

Government assistance that could help you

The government has announced multiple stimulus packages in a bid to protect the economy as much as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. These are the measures and updates you should be aware of.

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Stimulus payments
Pensioners have been allocated cash payments as part of the federal government’s stimulus packages in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

In the first package, about 2.5 million pensioners, 680,000 JobSeeker – or Newstart – recipients and all those receiving a Carer's Allowance were eligible to receive $750 from 31 March.

In a second package, an additional $750 is to be made automatically to about five million Australians, including those receiving the Age Pension, a Carer’s Allowance or family tax benefit and Commonwealth senior card-holders, from 13 July.

Age Pension payment rates
On 20 March, the Age Pension payment rates were increased and income and asset thresholds changed. This means some people who were previously ineligible for a pension or a concession card may now be eligible.

Maximum fortnightly Age Pension payment rates

 

 

Previous

Current

Increase

Single

Base

$850.40

$860.60

$10.20

 

Supplement

$68.90

$69.60

$0.70

 

Energy Supplement

$14.10

$14.10

 

Total

$933.40

$944.30

$10.90

Couple (each)

Base

$641.00

$648.70

$7.70

 

Supplement

$51.90

$52.50

$0.60

 

Energy Supplement

$10.60

$10.60

 

Total

$703.50

$711.80

$8.30

 

Pension Disqualifying Income Limits from 20 March

Situation

For full pension/allowance (per fortnight)

For part pension(pf) 

Single

up to $174

less than $2062.60

Couple (combined)

up to $308

less than $3155.20

Illness separated (couple combined)

up to $308

less than $4085.20

 

Centrelink asset test limits for Allowances and full Age Pensions from 1 July 2019

Situation

Homeowners

Non-homeowners

Single

$263,250

$473,750

Couple (combined)

$394,500

$605,000

Illness separated (couple combined)

$394,500

$605,000

One partner eligible (combined assets)

$394,500

$605,000

 

Deeming rates
Centrelink determines Age Pension payments and eligibility by assessing income and assets under each of the means tests. Income deemed by Centrelink to be received from financial assets is taken into account.

In response to a series of cuts to official interest rates by the Reserve Bank of Australia and the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, deeming rates have been lowered twice in the past month. From May, the lower deeming rate will be 0.25 per cent for financial investments up to $51,800 for single pensioners and $86,200 for pensioner couples, and the upper deeming rate will be 2.25 per cent for balances over those amounts.

Family situation

Assets threshold

Rate of deemed income

Single

$0 – $51,800

0.25%

Above $51,800

2.25%

Allowee couple - per person (1)

$0 – $43,100

0.25%

Above $43,100

2.25%

Pensioner couple - combined (2)

$0 – $86,200

0.25%

Above $86,200

2.25%

 

Centrelink changes
In other news affecting Centrelink customers, income streams including Newstart, Sickness, Wife Pension and Bereavement Allowances have been axed, with the majority of those welfare recipients being transferred onto JobSeeker payments.

The JobSeeker payment became the main income support from 20 March for eligible Australians who are at least 22 years of age but under Age Pension age.

A spokesperson for Services Australia – formerly known as the Department of Human Services – said the changes were “part of the government’s commitment to making Australia’s welfare system simpler and fairer”.

For more information, go to ServicesAustralia.

For detailed information on the Age Pension, pension eligibility, income and assets test, Rent Assistance, the work bonus and much more, go to YourLifeChoices’ dedicated information site.

Retirement Income Review
Treasury is reviewing all aspects of retirement income in Australia. A public consultation paper was released in November 2019, submissions from key bodies including YourLifeChoices were submitted in February and a final report is expected by June 2020.

Have you received stimulus payments? Will the reduced deeming rates assist you?

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    COMMENTS

    To make a comment, please register or login
    Bren
    20th Apr 2020
    12:17pm
    Do the people on JobSeeker (old Newstart doubled) really qualify for the $750 lump sum ? I think not.
    Bren
    20th Apr 2020
    12:17pm
    Do the people on JobSeeker (old Newstart doubled) really qualify for the $750 lump sum ? I think not.


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