Cost-of-living payment due this week

The $250 cost-of-living payment is due to begin landing in bank accounts this week.

Announced in the Federal Budget, the $250 tax-free payment will be sent to those receiving a pension or who hold an eligible government concession card.

The payment is in addition to the low- and middle-income tax offset (LMITO), which will be paid at tax time.

More than six million eligible recipients will begin receiving the payment from 28 April and there is nothing you need to do to claim the payment. If you are eligible, then it will be paid.

To receive the payment, you need to be a recipient of one or more of the following Centrelink payments: ABSTUDY Living Allowance, Age Pension, Austudy, Carer Payment, Carer Allowance, Disability Support Pension, Double Orphan Pension, Farm Household Allowance, JobSeeker Payment, Parenting Payment, Special Benefit and Youth Allowance.

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The following Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) payments are also eligible: Service Pension, Partner Service Pension, Income Support Supplement, Veteran Payment, Special Rate Disability Pension, Permanent Impairment compensation plus the War Widow(er)’s Pension or Wholly Dependent Partner Payment.

Holders of a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, Pension Concession Card or DVA Gold Card are also eligible.

You can receive the payment only once, even if you qualify under two different payments/cards.

The payment was announced at the pre-election Federal Budget and the government says it is committed to addressing cost-of-living pressures felt by ordinary Australians.

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A perfect storm of outside factors is combining to put pressure on household balance sheets, including two years of a global pandemic and fuel shortages as a result of the invasion of Ukraine.

“Events abroad are pushing up the cost of living at home,” federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said in his budget speech.

“Higher fuel, food and shipping costs are increasing inflation and stretching household budgets.

“This budget’s new cost-of-living package is responsible and targeted, delivering cheaper fuel, cheaper medicines and putting more money in the pockets of millions of Australians.”

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But advocacy groups such as the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) say the payment will do nothing to address the underlying causes of poverty in Australia.

“The Budget does nothing to lift the incomes of people with the least,” says ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.

“While we welcome the extension of the $250 bonus payment to people on pensions and allowances, when you’re living on $46 a day, this payment will help for a week or two, but people have to pay the rent 52 weeks a year.”

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Written by Brad Lockyer

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