Elizabeth wants to know whether pensioners in locked-down states can expect an economic support payment this year.
I am a pensioner currently locked down in Sydney and am wondering whether we can expect economic support payments, similar to those we had during the lockdowns of last year? The situation seems much worse than last year, so it only seems fair we get some sort of assistance to help out.
A. At the time of writing, the government had not announced any plans for the re-introduction of the economic support payments.
Read more: Age Pension boost and other 1 July changes
For those who have forgotten, the government provided two economic support payments of $750 in 2020 during the height of the pandemic.
The payments were available to all Age Pension recipients as well as those who received the Disability Support Pension, Carer Payment and Carer Allowance.
The dire financial situation caused by the pandemic also meant that the Age Pension received no indexation increase in September (the first time this had happened in 25 years), which resulted in the government offering a further two economic support payments of $250 each, one in December 2020 and the other in March this year.
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The last two economic support payments were only made as a result of the fact that there was no pension increase.
If a similar situation occurs this September, the government may consider reintroducing these payments, but currently there are no signs that there won’t be an indexation increase in September.
The only COVID support payments available as a result of the current lockdowns around Australia are a COVID disaster payment and a pandemic leave disaster payment.
For those currently receiving government income support there is a $200 COVID-19 disaster payment, which can be paid to age pensioners (if they have lost eight hours or more of work and meet the other criteria).
There is also a COVID disaster payment for casual workers who are not already receiving income support such as JobSeeker.
Workers who have lost between eight and 20 hours of work can receive a payment of $450 and if 20 or more hours have been lost a payment of $750 is possible.
The pandemic leave disaster payment is available if you have been told to isolate or quarantine because you have COVID, are a close contact of a confirmed case or are caring for someone with coronavirus. The payment is $1500 a fortnight.
Do you think the government should reintroduce the economic support payments for pensioners as a result of the lockdowns around Australia? Why not share your thoughts in the comments section below?
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