Budget 2017 wrap up

Today Treasurer Scott Morrison delivered his much-anticipated Budget 2017/18 and YourLifeChoices was in the Budget Media Lock Up to enable us to report on the changes that matter most for retirees.

As you can imagine, there’s quite a bit to digest so tomorrow we will share a detailed analysis of the measures that are most likely to affect affordability in retirement.

In the interim, here’s a wrap up of the items that we believe you need to know:

Age Pension

  • changes to Age Pension portability, which would have seen Age Pension payments subject to the Work Life Residency Rule six weeks after the recipient left the country, have been scrapped
  • Pension Concession Cards will be reinstated to those who lost their Age Pension eligibility as a result of the 1 January 2017 asset threshold changes
  • residency requirements will increase for those looking to claim an Age or Disability Support Pension

Medicare

  • a Medicare Guarantee Fund will be established from 1 July 2017 to ensure the ongoing funding of Medicare
  • the freeze to Medicare Benefits Schedule payments to GPs will be lifted from 1 July 2017 onwards
  • changes to the bulk billing incentives for pathology and diagnostic imaging have been scrapped, meaning patients should pay less for these services.
  • funding of new or amended listings on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme to give more affordable access to medicines


National Disability Insurance Scheme

  • introduction of a 0.5 per cent increase to the Medicare Levy from 1 July to ensure funding of the National Disability Insurance Scheme

Housing affordability

  • ability to salary sacrifice up to $30,000 into superannuation for first home buyers, which can be withdrawn to fund home deposit
  • encouragement for those over 65 years of age who downsize their home to make a non-concessional super contribution of $300,000 ($600,000 for couples)
  • incentives to fast-track building of new, affordable housing
  • incentives for investors in affordable housing

Banking

  • banks with liabilities greater than $100 billion to pay a levy that will be used to support budget repair

What do you think? Is this a Budget that will help ordinary retirees? Is there anything you think is important that has been overlooked?

Written by Debbie McTaggart



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