Do you have to be divorced to be considered separated?

Michael is considering the financial implications of separating for the Age Pension.

Do you have to be divorced to be considered separated?

Michael is considering the financial implications of separating for the Age Pension and wants to know what it takes to be considered separated.

•••

Q. Michael
My wife is a recent permanent resident to Australia. I am on the Age Pension. The policy related to married couples with one partner working seems to be punitive and non-productive. My pension is significantly reduced now that I’m married, and almost everything my wife earns gets 50 per cent cut off my pension.

We are considering the financial benefits of separating and maintaining two dwellings, one in her name and one in mine. Do we need to divorce to convince Centrelink that we are separated? Are we allowed to be ‘friends’ after separation? What is your advice?

A. If your separation is legitimate you don’t have to be divorced to be considered separated, but I would strongly advise against trying to manipulate this situation under false pretences. There are very stiff penalties for claiming false relationship status. Consequences can include jail time and being forced to pay back any benefits to which you were not entitled.

If a couple claim to be separated they must establish that:

  • they are living apart either permanently or indefinitely, and
  • there has been an estrangement or breakdown in their relationship.

Generally, a physical separation as well as an emotional separation between the couple is required.

If you have a Centrelink question, please send it to newsletters@yourlifechoices.com.au and we’ll do our best to answer it for you.

Are you eligible for an Age Pension? Do you know your rights? The PensionChecker™ tool has all the information you need.

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    Disclaimer: All content on YourLifeChoices website is of a general nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It has been prepared with due care but no guarantees are provided for ongoing accuracy or relevance. Before making a decision based on this information, you should consider its appropriateness in regard to your own circumstances. You should seek professional advice from a Centrelink Financial Information Services officer, financial planner, lawyer or tax agent in relation to any aspects that affect your financial and legal circumstances.





    COMMENTS

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    25th Mar 2019
    10:32am
    Some people seem to get away with the scenario mentioned above. Only know people with no assets doing that; they actually live in the same apartment and pay their rent separately from different accounts and only one gets rent assistance and power rebate. They reckon if anybody ever wants to do something about it let them. There are no assets, no savings, no car. But the payments per year is an extra $10'000, according to the pension tables on this site, an extra $200 per week spending money! Good if you can work it, Michael. Reckon it will only work if you have no money to pay the eventual fines coming from C/link when they find out. Just make sure the neighbors do not know about it.
    GeorgeM
    27th Mar 2019
    8:05pm
    I trust his real name is not Michael! Otherwise, the entire force of Centrelink will be out investigating all Michaels!
    Dave R
    25th Mar 2019
    11:28am
    The system of treating couples and singles differently should be challenged under anti-discrimination laws. We are all individuals and should be treated as such in all our dealings with the government.
    This really hits home when one member of a couple is older than the other and one is receiving the age pension and the other still has a few years left before they qualify. The pensioner only receives the married rate of pension even if the other partner has no income. And if the other partner does have an income that income can reduce the rate of the pensioned partners income significantly. It's a totally unfair situation IMO.
    Alexii
    25th Mar 2019
    11:51am
    That's certainly the case, Dave R. I'm in that position and we find it fairly difficult at times. Now we are worried that our very limited income will be even worse if Labor gets in and knocks off the franking credit rebates from my wife's dividends as her savings are invested in shares. We did this as the term deposits are barely worth having due to their low interest rates. Her income is way below the tax threshold. And to think that we don't like the coalition! Both major parties demonise low income people and especially those who have tried to save, spend money wisely and invest their small savings.
    Anonymous
    25th Mar 2019
    5:00pm
    Yes Alexii. Our pension system is unfair, cruel, and includes massive disincentives to honesty, integrity, and responsible life choices. It's disgusting! Greens made a dirty deal that included agreement for a total review but it never happened. We should be able to sue the government for fraud -since they were elected on a promise of NO CHANGES TO PENSIONS, then changed it subject to an agreement to review and broke that promise as well.
    Alexii
    25th Mar 2019
    7:12pm
    Yes, OlderandWiser, I agree. It seems to be that we are in a continual downgrading of our income and life being made increasingly difficult. its like a perpetual no win situation no matter which party is in power or gets support from smaller ones such as the Greens.Its sickening the way they have virtually demonised people who are self-funded retirees or partly self funded so they get a part pension - we're all so filthy rich it seems. If only!
    Anonymous
    26th Mar 2019
    7:50am
    What scares me, Alexii, is how many ignorant or apathetic Australians believe Labor's lies and support their attack on anyone who has battled to save enough to be barely self-supporting for part of their retirement.

    It's mind-boggling that people would prefer to swallow political propaganda that supports attacking the elderly in their own society rather than look to the FACTS - which are clearly stated in repeated articles - or do the very simple math calculations that prove that Labor is telling huge lies.
    Alexii
    26th Mar 2019
    11:41am
    And then the Coalition had attacked us with their changes to the assets threshold that had ghastly effects upon so many self-funded and partly self-funded retirees and they were supported by the Greens and of course Labor is not interested in correcting it.
    GeorgeM
    27th Mar 2019
    7:54pm
    Quite correct, DaveR, a serious anomaly in the system which all know about yet not spoken about too often. When it comes to Taxation it is Individual, but when it comes to Pensions they treat you as a Couple - essentially to pay less - just plain dishonest!

    And guess what, Politicians never had such concerns because their rules are different and they had NO such tests!

    Simply, ALL such tests including Assets & Income should be scrapped - just as for politicians! Universal Age Pension appears to be the only way to go with NO tests, except Age (65 years) and Residency (say 15 years).
    Rae
    25th Mar 2019
    1:17pm
    Not sure if running two houses and double everything to access around $22000 if single or $32 000 for a couple makes any sense.

    As a couple you'd only get an extra $10 000. Hardly seems worth it.

    You could become independent and go get a job yourself or start a bit of a business. Simple and lucrative.
    Maggie
    25th Mar 2019
    1:45pm
    You have to be joking! Without knowledge of this person's age, health or skills you suggest that he gets himself a job or, "start a bit of business". How does he do that without finances to get started?
    Anonymous
    25th Mar 2019
    2:35pm
    Maggie has a point - without knowledge of the people it is hard to give advice. A schoolmate of mine recently sponsored a woman into Australia, purpose of marriage. He lost his pension after marrying his wife but he knew that would happen so was prepared. Wife is younger and a wage/salary earner and she made enough to cancel his pension. If he would make any move as intended above, his wife would be expelled from the country, the condition of her being here was the marriage to an Aussie citizen.
    Actually happens to quite a few oldies who marry younger wives, myself was a pensioner before my wife reached her age qualification. Difference she did not work and used her super.
    Adrianus
    25th Mar 2019
    3:10pm
    I have to agree with Rae. Rather than buying an extra house which will more than likely devalue if Labor are elected, why not put that money to work?
    Anyway, I think Michael is determined to make the split and his real concern is whether or not he and his ex wife are allowed to remain friends.
    Adrianus
    25th Mar 2019
    3:10pm
    I have to agree with Rae. Rather than buying an extra house which will more than likely devalue if Labor are elected, why not put that money to work?
    Anyway, I think Michael is determined to make the split and his real concern is whether or not he and his ex wife are allowed to remain friends.
    GeorgeM
    27th Mar 2019
    8:03pm
    Not correct, Rae. Everyone cannot start a business - it requires, skills, experience & capital!
    Also, the numbers you give are not correct - the difference may be between $0 or $22,000 (depending on her income and his Assets / Deemed Income), as Michael's wife is working!
    Of course, once his wife stops working and is pension age, they could get married again and get $32,000 - if they want to take that hit (lower by $10K maybe) and live together - maybe in a mansion but with less costs than for maintaining 2 houses!

    I think this disgusting system makes such a move worthwhile if Michael is happy to go down that path.
    Rae
    25th Mar 2019
    1:17pm
    Not sure if running two houses and double everything to access around $22000 if single or $32 000 for a couple makes any sense.

    As a couple you'd only get an extra $10 000. Hardly seems worth it.

    You could become independent and go get a job yourself or start a bit of a business. Simple and lucrative.
    Eddy
    25th Mar 2019
    2:17pm
    I would imagine that separated couples should be treated the same as any two persons living in the same dwelling, for instance a brother and sister, mother and daughter or two same sex friends. As long as they can demonstrate they have separate lives, ie separate bank accounts, separate bedrooms etc they are individual people merely living in the same dwelling. I have known of a 'legally separated' couple living in the same house, mainly because of financial and children considerations. They eventually got a divorce based on their separation even though they were still living in the same house. I also knew two elderly gentlemen, now deceased, who lived together for about 40 years, they both got the single rate of pension.
    Anonymous
    25th Mar 2019
    3:22pm
    At last a man can see that couples are not joined at the hip and always go to the same places and have the same needs. Thanks Eddy! We, wife and I, share the same bed but during the day we are different places - all our lives we were taxed as singles but after 65 we became a couple to save a few dollars. It is just encouraging chiselling cheats to game the system and for the extra $10'000 per year I cannot even blame them.
    Anonymous
    25th Mar 2019
    5:03pm
    Mind boggling how anyone can think it fair to discriminate against a couple while allowing others to live together and share costs but claim higher pension.

    25th Mar 2019
    3:24pm
    Funny - a lot of posts come in double. Don't press the Send button too hard, eh?
    Anonymous
    25th Mar 2019
    5:04pm
    Nothing to do with pressing too hard, Cowboy Jim. It's a technical glitch. Might be browser specific. I don't know if all browsers do it. I try to delete the duplicate but you have to get to it fast to do that.
    old frt
    25th Mar 2019
    3:43pm
    Why is acceptable or OK for pensioners to rort the system and pick up an extra $12000 as two single pensioners but a SFR is not allowed to express their concern at loosing their franking credits under Labors thieving plans .
    Anonymous
    25th Mar 2019
    4:19pm
    I presume most SFRs might not be voting Labor. Shorten worked that one out but then again - he is not in charge yet. Have a few shares but never claimed credits on them.
    Anonymous
    25th Mar 2019
    5:08pm
    Pensioners are the 'new elite', old frt. People who worked and saved for decades are fair game to rob and abuse. And the party that preaches 'no hate' certainly displays hate for SFRs! Their abuse, denigration and lies to justify stealing from them is sickening. And they are using lies to turn workers and pensioners against us.
    Paddington
    25th Mar 2019
    6:06pm
    OAW, I have come to believe you are a paid troll stirring up people to not vote for labor or greens. ‘New elite’ pensioners, abuse, denigration, lies, sounds like electioneering to me. Show me where Labor or Greens have denigrated and abused you? Don’t restate what you have already re the tax credit for shares. Take that as read. Find actual quotes and dates where you or others have been denigrated?
    The only language you are describing has come from you and a few others.
    We the ‘new elite pensioners’ are keen to have evidence.
    Sundays
    25th Mar 2019
    7:53pm
    Cowboy Jim, it’s not too late. Simple one page form available from ATO, called Refund of Franking Credits. Easy to complete, with info supplied by the companies to you each year. Might be worth a few dollars to you
    Sundays
    25th Mar 2019
    8:00pm
    Paddington, I agree and the use of the term SFR is deliberately misleading. Thousands of SFR with money in Retail or Industry Superannuation Funds are not affected and neither are people who are not reliant on Shares.
    Paddington
    25th Mar 2019
    9:10pm
    Old frt, Not all couple pensioners do that. It is a bit extreme anyway. It could also be damaging to their relationship. We would never consider doing that.
    Anonymous
    26th Mar 2019
    7:44am
    Paddington, I am not a paid troll. I am a retiree who worked for over 50 years and paid taxes and is now the target of a vicious campaign by Labor to destroy everything I worked for, and to turn other Australians against me believing the blatant lie that I am taking money from taxpayers unfairly by claiming franking credits. And the Greens support Labor - as well as being responsible for the fact that I am not now a pensioner and exempt from Labor's vicious and unfair attack.

    If you dealt in FACTS instead of emotion you would recognise what is happening in this society and stand up for fairness and decency.

    Labor has declared that if you are a pensioner - no matter how wealthy (and many are VERY wealthy, like BigBear for example, who boasted endlessly about gaming the system) you get TRIPLE handouts from the taxpayer. If you have more than $1.6 million, the taxpayer should fund a nice tax concession for you. If you have a high income, you should get nice fat tax concessions. But if you are a battler who managed to save just a few hundred thousand (less than $450K each if you are a couple), you are fair game to have your retirement completely wiped out and Labor will tell such vicious lies that a huge sector of the population deems that fair and accuses you of rorting.

    I am currently contributing over 90% of my annual income to the Federal Treasury by not drawing a pension. If Shorten has his way, it will be 120%, and I will be paying 30% tax on an income LESS THAN THE OAP.

    This is FACT Paddington - not emotional BS or political propaganda such as you Labor voters choose to swallow.

    No decent person would EVER stand by and allow this.

    And SUNDAYS IS WRONG. SFRs in retail and industry funds ARE AFFECTED, despite more Labor lies (but then, their figures were based on outdated data, so how could they hope to get it right!). Industry funds estimate the average working Australian will lose $56,000 from their retirement savings. SFRs WILL have their income reduced. They just won't know exactly how much Labor's policy impacted them and how much was due to other factors.

    If you examine the figures trotted out by Labor to show how wage and salary earners are impacted, you see that they claim the maximum impact is to people with a salary over $200,000 a year - but the truth is the impact maximises at just $28,000 a year. Over that, the impact reduces.

    Labor supporters are endorsing the worst attack on low income battlers and the greatest transfer of wealth to the rich ever planned in Australia's history.

    AND BTW, Paddington, I used to be a Labor supporter. I detest the LNP. But no decent Australian could support this Labor mob given their disgusting lies and hate campaign against honest, hard working Australians. And no sensible person could vote for a man so arrogant that he refuses to listen and reconsider when told his party got policy wrong and is threatening serious harm to our economy.
    Sundays
    26th Mar 2019
    9:05am
    You didn’t answer Paddington’s question. Just more of the same because you can’t see that you are meant to use your superannuation to fund your retirement. Neither do you understand how taxation actually works. If you were really poor, you would qualify for a Pension. That is the botttom line. You can also qualify for a non asset tested Health Care Card right now unless your income is way over $80,000

    I have a letter from my Super Fund saying I won’t be affected by Kabors proposal as they will still be able to claim Franking credits. I believe them more than YOU. Then again, your posts are always full of half truths and that makes you a troll.

    Your argument regarding contributing 90% of your income by not drawing a pension is the biggest lot of garbage! People contribute thousands towards services they never use. In my case Medicare, and child care spring to mind,
    Anonymous
    26th Mar 2019
    4:01pm
    It's you and your Labor mates touting half truths, Sundays. And I don't have any 'super' for retirement; I have PERSONAL SAVINGS that were put aside for specific needs in later life - not to gift to bludgers and leaners and rorters and not to hand to Short-on-brains to waste.

    People who don't draw an aged pension in retirement SHOULD be at least entitled to a fair tax deal. It's disgusting that some of the greedy, self-serving creeps here support robbing people yet then rant that pensioners are 'entitled' because they paid tax. Well, so did I - for 50A+ years - and all I ask is FAIR TAXATION . You selfish people who support Labor's theft should be utterly ashamed.
    Anonymous
    26th Mar 2019
    4:03pm
    And obviously Labor is LYING about money for health and education, as well as lying about who will be affected and how - because if major funds aren't affected, there won't be any money. Members of SMSFs aren't stupid. They are not going to just hand over their life savings to greedy, lying hypocritical SCUM.
    Sundays
    26th Mar 2019
    8:19pm
    Everyone with Super has it via personal savings whether employer contributions instead of pay rises, or personal contributions. It’s for Retirement.

    Your personal savings which you have put into the low tax environment of a Self Managed SUPER Fund and can withdraw tax free after age 60. It’s still Super for retirement.

    If you placed it all into Australian Shares and receive the Dividend, and pay no tax why should you still get Franking credits back. Scream, rave, rant, insult. Labor has a lot of support and it’s about time they closed this unaffordable loophole. The money saved can be used for the good of all. Believe it or not, a lot of investors buy shares to make money, not just for the Refund of Franking credits
    Farside
    27th Mar 2019
    10:05am
    O&W, personal savings are there to be spent as needed. You may well have planned to spend them one way but life happens and sometimes you have to spend them on something else. Good news is that when it is diminished you have safety nets that still enable you to live comfortably on the pension (if you are one of the majority home owning cohort). Even better when you qualify for the pension you will get your much loved franking credit refunds.
    Anonymous
    30th Mar 2019
    8:43pm
    Farside, if you sacrificed steak and ate sausages instead for two years to put away money for a known future medical need, would you consider it reasonable for the government to say 'oh, great - you saved $50,000. We can take that from you now by giving you less pension. Oh, you wanted it for a medical procedure? Tough. We think we'd rather give it to Mr X who owns a million dollar house but claims he needs a pension?'' You think that would be okay?

    That's what is happening in our society, and it's fundamentally not only unfair and cruel, but economically unsustainable because it encourages people to avoid saving for retirement.

    I'm not complaining, here. I'm merely pointing out a flaw in our system and in the logic that is put forward by politicians to support a bad system.

    We need incentives to save if we want people to be better off in retirement and to be less reliant on taxpayers. You cannot motivate more people to save and strive by taking their savings away unfairly and denying them the benefits they saved for. This is political stupidity and economic mismanagement in the extreme."

    On a personal level, I'll get by. I have savings. I can still work (for a while at least). I have always managed money well. And yes, there is a pension to fall back on if needed. But that is not the point. My concern is with a system that is fundamentally flawed, because it's based on flawed logic. Nobody eats sausages instead of steak so they can draw less pension in retirement. They do it because they want the savings for their own future use. While we continue to punish people for doing what is good for the nation, we will have less people doing what is good for the nation. Clearly Bill Shorten either doesn't get that or doesn't care, and he's in good company. But then, how can we expect our grossly overpaid fat cat politicians to appreciate why battlers sacrifice their steak?

    And BTW. You are WRONG about the franking credits. Unfairly, they are denied to anyone who wasn't on the pension in March 2018 FOREVER. The penalty for being honest, ethical, and contributing to the nation's budget by being self-supporting is PERMANENT DEPRIVATION.
    Anonymous
    30th Mar 2019
    8:46pm
    Sundays, you are repeating Labor's LIES. Nobody EVER gets a tax refund if they pay no tax. But in Australia, we don't typically believe people with no taxable income should be taxed. So we refund PAYG and PAYE tax paid in excess of what the taxpayer owes based on their income and circumstances. We should ALSO refund tax deducted from dividends based on income.

    According to Labor's illogical and idiotic GARBAGE, the amount deducted from a dividend is tax if you are rich, and must be credited against your tax bill, but is NOT TAX if you are poor and must be retained unfairly so you are taxed at 30% on income that, if earned from any other source, would be tax free. It's an unfair, illogical and economically harmful policy being sold with emotive untruthful NONSENSE.
    Farside
    31st Mar 2019
    1:31am
    O&W, I do not think it's ok to give pensions to those not requiring support, which is why there is a means test afterall. You will get no argument from me regarding the need for incentives to encourage people save for retirement, become more financially resilient and be less reliant on taxpayers; this was the idea behind superannuation and its privileged investment environment. But when all is said and done those savings are there to be spent when needed.

    The steak and sausage metaphor simply does not work in a world where people have free will and the opportunity to exercise it.

    I understand proposed changes to franking credits and can see your perspective however I prefer our tax system be improved rather than continue with the irresponsible franking credit refunds introduced by Howard/Costello. Those adversely affected have enjoyed the privilege for many years and given time to rearrange their affairs (as they did when the perk was introduced) so life goes on.

    25th Mar 2019
    4:58pm
    Lots of de facto couples claim single pensions and live together - also one probably claiming rent assistance and paying rent to the other.
    I know a couple who have been married for well over 40 years but built a house that is almost a duplex - with bedroom wings at each end and shared living in the middle - and now claim to be separated. They go everywhere together, eat together, and make financial decisions jointly, but they both get single pensions.

    25th Mar 2019
    4:58pm
    Lots of de facto couples claim single pensions and live together - also one probably claiming rent assistance and paying rent to the other.
    I know a couple who have been married for well over 40 years but built a house that is almost a duplex - with bedroom wings at each end and shared living in the middle - and now claim to be separated. They go everywhere together, eat together, and make financial decisions jointly, but they both get single pensions.
    Farside
    28th Mar 2019
    12:17am
    @O&W - and your point is what exactly?
    Seadove
    25th Mar 2019
    6:04pm
    Don't we have enough politicians rorting the system to put up with others as well? You should have thought all this through before getting married. Ridiculous to think of separating if you still love each other. Marriage is wanting to be together till the end, not gaming things for financial benefit. Why do you think you are more entitled to money from Centrelink than what you are currently getting? If you choose to do it I hope you get caught!!!!
    MD
    25th Mar 2019
    6:24pm
    Ahh the senior years, misguidedly interpreted as the age of 'entitlement' if some of the comments are indicative. The same self professed 'entitled' souls can, will and indeed - do, find justification for their actions to game (read rort) the system every which way...to their advantage obviously.
    Ever and always, just another instance of money grubbing by some selfish, silly old farts expecting everything/everyone to acquiesce to their interpretation and misguided view of their respective rights and privileges.

    Sponsoring younger - a potential earner presumably - overseas 'partners' and/or (supposedly amicably) 'arranged separations' smack of little more than greedy double dippers looking to rort the system whilst enjoying the dubious benefits of the 'sin of the flesh' and expecting taxpayers to foot the bill - a strictly limited privilege reserved for pollies and the elite!
    Anonymous
    26th Mar 2019
    7:28am
    True, MD, but its the meanness of our system that has created this and it will continue to increase as the punishment of responsible living and honest and ethical behaviour increases. The honest, ethical, hard-working Australian is being so beaten up and abused in retirement, and so deprived of fair reward for years of effort, that many are devising schemes just to get what they see as a fair go. And if Labor succeeds with its disgraceful attack on retirees, it will get much, much worse.

    If you punish self-sufficiency and reward lame ducks, you will have more lame ducks. People will conspire to appear needy if the needy are unfairly favoured.

    A robust and caringly administered welfare system is a necessity in any civilized society, but when those who pay for it are abused, politicians' lies turn society against them and foster hatred toward them, and political policies are devised to deprive them of everything they worked for decades to achieve, it's no wonder they start rorting! People will do what they have to do to survive. If their survival is threatened by unfair politics, they will respond accordingly.

    Bring in a universal age pension and fair tax on high retirement incomes - like all other developed nations - and there will be no need to rort. And we will have a much healthier and happier society.

    Frankly, my greatest regret in life now is not having been a dishonest, entitled rorter.
    MD
    26th Mar 2019
    9:32pm
    O(&)W, that hurt! Though seriously it didn't and regardless of which, I'm grateful to you for both presenting your take on the matter and thus giving me cause to rethink.

    - " it's the meanness of our system that has created this and it will continue to increase as the punishment of responsible living and honest and ethical behaviour increases."...
    I seriously question this claim on the basis of what you determine/define as "meanness". Are you suggesting the current age pension payment is 'mean' ? Or do you mean the entire system is 'mean' ?

    - "The honest, ethical, hard-working Australian is being so beaten up and abused in retirement and so deprived of fair reward for years of effort,"... it's not for me, or anyone else for that matter to question your ethics: I also doubt anyone is experiencing either a beating or (suffering) abuse - in retirement. A tad inflated and hyperbolic perhaps ?
    Speaking for myself, I was paid for my "years of effort" and regardless of whether or not I feel it was adequate, I do consider my retirement years to be adequate "fair reward". Perhaps you might like to suggest what you would consider to be satisfactory.

    Re "lame ducks" and "needy", surely it's this particular demographic that the safety net purportedly aims to assist ? Assuming the "honest, ethical, hard-working Australian is in fact "self sufficient" wouldn't necessarily see them in need of access to the safety net, much less being "beaten up and abused".

    Considering "those who pay for ... a robust and caringly administered welfare system" - specifically who - are you alluding to the average wage earning Jack or Jill ? Maybe some further research into that claim would find you on shaky ground, it could even be suggested that proportionately more wage earners are tax negative, ie, per person they receive more by way of return from the public purse than each personally contributes - go figure.

    Whereas you convey a spirited conviction in presenting your subjective take on this matter I seriously doubt your last para, I'm sure you'll be the happier by just maintaining the rage without letting your standards slip and rorting the system.

    I wish you well.
    Anonymous
    30th Mar 2019
    8:33pm
    MD, I fear you look through rose coloured glasses, or else you've had an easy run through life and not experienced the injustice and hardship that I've endured.

    The meanness of the system is - for example - in enforcing an assets test that is totally unrealistic and inappropriate. For example, it takes no account of age. $500,000 is a lot more for a single man of 90 than for one of 65, yet it is rated the same for means test purposes. It also takes no account of the value of the family home, nor of specific family or health circumstances that impose extraordinary costs. Now Labor is saying if you have saved for retirement and are only moderately affluent, you must suffer endless punishment and demolition of your retirement income. But if you contrived to be a pensioner - no matter how well off - you get TRIPLE handouts. This is what I mean by 'meanness' of the system.

    It goes further. We give someone on $250,000 pa a massive tax concession to invest in superannuation for their retirement, though they have no real need of help to save. We give lower income earners little or no help, as their tax rate is likely to be around the same as the tax rate on super, yet if they DO save, the system deprives them of support later in life.

    All I am saying is that this unfair and economically illogical approach creates a sense of entitlement in many people. If people suffer enough unfairness, many eventually say 'stuff it, I'll manipulate to get my share', and that's happening all over Australia. People ARE manipulating. People are deliberately being 'lame ducks' because 'lame ducks' are favoured by the system. People are feeling entitled because they paid their way and get nothing back while others get grossly unfair and excessive benefits.

    We are being abused and beaten up (figuratively speaking) I retirement by this constant barrage of 'retirees are costing the nation too much' and ongoing legislative changes that make it all but impossible to plan for retirement. The honest, hard-working, ethical Australian is being unfairly denied the benefits that are readily extended to those who manipulate to attain benefits that they don't really need. If you doubt that, come to my suburb. Every second house is occupied by a 'couple' claiming to be two single people sharing a house - divorcees who have entered a new relationship but don't declare their relationship because it's financially disadvantageous. Most residents own very expensive homes, bought specifically to reduce their incomes to qualify for part pensions. All of them will be favoured by a Labor Government, while those with modest homes and barely self-supporting are unfairly disadvantaged.

    You objected to a 'sense of entitlement' that is pervasive in sectors of our society. I made an objective response that it is created by the system. Maybe you reject the use of words like 'meanness' and 'abuse' and 'beaten up'? Regardless of the words chosen, there is no escaping the fact that the system is designed - intentionally or otherwise - to create a sense of entitlement by favouring those who claim entitlement and punishing those who do not.

    A relative recently contested a parent's will. Because that relative had never worked a day in her life, she was granted almost the entire estate (deemed 'needy' - though quite capable of working, a university graduate, smart, talented, capable - just lazy!) The other family member - who was denied all but a token share of the estate - had struggled through great hardship, with no education, but had worked hard and saved well so was deemed 'not in need'. I might add the latter had supported and lent money to the parent (undocumented loans) while the former had taken repeated handouts and even resorted to theft and fraud. None of that counted. The 'lame duck' must be cared for. In another case, a man who cared for his father for 25 years was denied all but a token share of the estate because his sister - who hadn't made contact in 30 years - got most of it because she was 'a drug addict and therefore in need'. See, the 'lame duck' gets the reward every time. The hard working, ethical, honest person is disadvantaged.

    Now, I made the point that I support a robust welfare system, because we must support those who are in genuine need. But we don't assess need accurately in our society, and we DO, sadly, create an environment in which it pays well to pretend need, so naturally we have more needy. People develop a sense of entitlement because putting their hand out pays and doing what's good for the nation does not. The LNP reinforced the message with the assets test change that effectively paid people 7.8% plus to divest assets that often were earning as little as 3 or 4%. Now Labor is bashing people who saved to be even minimally self-supporting in retirement while favouring those who chose to be dependent - whether they needed to be or not.

    Why would we NOT have a society in which a sense of entitlement pervades when the system works to favour those with a sense of entitlement and punish others?

    No, I probably won't ever rort the system. My pride won't let me. But I will continue to make the case that our system is flawed and its flaws are creating a sense of entitlement that is imposing unfairly on taxpayers and creating budget challenges. It's not that hard to fix - but fixing it requires acknowledging the flaws, and sadly those who are not disadvantaged unfairly by the system are seemingly largely incapable of recognizing what's wrong with it.

    As to my personal situation and yours - though I don't regard it as particularly relevant to the discussion that was intended to generalize - I'm glad you consider your retirement to be 'fair reward'. I was not paid anywhere near adequately for my years of effort. I fought major hardship and continuing injustice. And though I made a good life for myself, I do consider myself abused in retirement to be now living in fear of legislative changes that unfairly disadvantage me for no better reason that I was honest, ethical and hard working.

    I retain my view that a universal aged pension would be an enormous benefit to society as a whole, and would do a great deal to eliminate the sense of entitlement that develops from an unfair system that disadvantages those who don't claim entitlement. If we all had the same entitlement, nobody would need to contrive and nobody would have cause to feel wronged. Poverty would reduce dramatically because people would not be punished for endeavour and thus there would be far greater incentive to strive. A fairer society in which battlers enjoyed fair reward would be more charitable to the genuinely needy. Resentment among the young would reduce with the knowledge that they, in turn, would enjoy a fair retirement benefit - not restricted as penalty for striving or achieving. Overall, we would enjoy a far healthier society.
    JO
    25th Mar 2019
    6:53pm
    You do not have to be married or live together, DHS has formular that assess your couple status, heterosexual and homosexual same rules. You can live in the same property and be assessed Seperated Under One Roof which can genuinely occur and often due to joint owned housing makes it a disadvantage to move and sell when the relationship has ended.
    Thoughtful
    25th Mar 2019
    10:53pm
    I have posted a few times about the benefits of encouraging relationships in senior years ( generally better health, less power usage, freeing up housing to name a few ) as compared to the economic savings of paying couples pensions. UAP to all at a nominated age; no discrimination between singles and couples.
    old frt
    26th Mar 2019
    2:56pm
    Sundays , you should not comment on things you know nothing about ,it makes you look even more stupid and totally biased in your outlook . Labors Franking credit policy only effects smaller SELF MANAGE SUPER FUNDS, these retirees will loose their franking credits not the industry or retail funds .
    Anonymous
    26th Mar 2019
    3:53pm
    Not true according to managers of large funds, old frt. They are now saying they WILL be affected, with the average working member losing $56,000.
    Sundays
    26th Mar 2019
    7:57pm
    That’s exactly what I said old FRT. Read it again. My industry fund wrote to me stating that there would be no effect of Labor’s policy because the fund pays tax regardless of what OaW has written above.

    I am fully aware that it is only the smaller SMSF which will be affected. I agree with Labor that it is a rort for people who pay no tax to receive Franking credits as a refund. However, there will be some just over the Asset test who are more disadvantagedI and I think there should be some relief for them but it is disingenuous to cry poor and denigrate pensioners.

    I’m sure pensioners and families on low income struggling with ever increasing costs have little sympathy for those with $900k in Assets crying poor
    Anonymous
    30th Mar 2019
    7:58pm
    Sundays, green-eyed people never think logically. $900,000 is NOT a lot of money to last a couple maybe 30 years with increasing health needs and deteriorating capacity to manage household maintenance, cleaning, getting about, etc. Remember that amount includes non-returning assets such as furniture, cars, etc. and the necessary ready cash to cover living expenses. The returns may be 5% or lower, and nil on a sizable portion of the assets. And there is always a heavy risk of loss depending on how the assets are invested. But keep backing your lying idiot Labor mates with their idiotic and economically destructive attack on people who struggled to save for retirement. As long as it doesn't hurt you, it's okay, isn't it? Doesn't matter how wrong it is or how badly it hurts others, you will justify it.

    And who is 'crying poor'? You twist things for your own ends. It's not 'crying poor' to object to a wrongful policy that is going to hurt people unfairly and be harmful to the economy. It's not 'crying poor' to say that it's wrong to favour people who contrived to be pensioners over those who struggled to be self-supporting so as not to impose a burden on taxpayer. It's not 'crying poor' to be concerned about the harm a policy threatens to the economy, and most of all to those in greatest need. And it's certainly not 'crying poor' to complain that major funds are reporting that the average member will lose $56,000 over the course of their working life. But why would you care about the average worker. YOUR fund assured you all was good and YOU wouldn't lose. That's all that matters to selfish people.

    UNLIKE YOU, I CARE ABOUT THE NATION AND THE PEOPLE LABOR WILL HURT. I will always manage one way or another. Always have - despite unbelievable hardship. I care about others.


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