Age Pension: how will you be affected by the changes?

Letters advising changes to Age Pension payments couldn’t have come at a worse time.

Age Pension: how will you be affected by the changes?

While we all knew they were coming, the letters that pensioners would have received last week advising them of changes to their Age Pension payments couldn’t have come at a worse time. Christmas is just around the corner but there is little good will for the Government, which has introduced the changes to the asset thresholds and associated taper rate.

Carol is just one of the many YourLifeChoices members who has received the unwelcome letter from Centrelink advising how her Age Pension will be reduced from 1 January 2017. Here’s her take on the issue.

Carol
I have been advised recently by Centrelink of a reduction of $10.50 per week in my part Age Pension.  I also have a small amount of superannuation from which I draw the minimum income stream amount. I live a modest lifestyle, I earn less than $30,000 per year and as I am a widow, only receive a single Age Pension. 

I think it is grossly unfair to have to cop a reduction in my Age Pension.  I am 67, not wealthy, I drive a 2005 motor car. As a widow with no handy man, I have to pay out to contractors to get jobs done to maintain my home.  I have recently downsized to try and stay in my own home in the future, as well as keep a small nest egg going, until I turn up my toes! 

I think the increased taper rate of $3 for every $1000 over $250,000 is grossly unfair and I have written today to both Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten expressing my disappointment with them in the way they have treated older Australians and requested they revisit the taper rate on the Age Pension. I would like to see them live on less than $30,000 per year.  My late husband and I saved and salary sacrificed whilst we were working, to put some money away for retirement. My late husband never received any employer-contributed superannuation, as it only came in after he had retired.  

Now, I have my Age Pension reduced in retirement by $546 per year.

What world do these politicians live in?  Do they not know, that we have to pay the same rates, electricity, water and shop in the same supermarkets? How sad is it in a democracy like ours that older people cannot live a reasonable lifestyle and escape politicians penny-pinching from the elderly. 

What happened to the Fair Go?  This must be an issue for a lot of single pensioners.  I think the Centrelink letters are most likely just hitting peoples’ ‘My Gov’ accounts, just in time for Christmas!

Do you have a story similar to Carol’s to share? A national current affairs program has contacted us as they wish to speak to those who have received their letters and are now wondering how they will cope financially. Or perhaps you’re one of the few pensioners to benefit from the changes?

And if you’re willing to take part in a TV discussion, please email Newsletters@yourlifechoices.com.au with your name, email and contact number, plus a couple of lines outlining how you will be affected by these changes.

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    COMMENTS

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    HDRider
    12th Dec 2016
    10:59am
    Am I correct in thinking that carol has $250,000 in the bank and is being tapered due to that? Her story is not really clear on that point. Should a person have that amount in the bank then losing less than a fortnights pension per year is nothing to complain about really is it?
    Rodent
    12th Dec 2016
    11:23am
    HDRider

    you are correct, its not clear what her assets are as a Single Home Owner, but based on the figures they calculate out to be $305,000.

    I understand her position, however there will be MANY others who will LOSE far greater than $546pa

    If the TV programme is a Current Affair I am not sure I am interested in providing my views, if other programme then I might consider it
    Anonymous
    13th Dec 2016
    4:47pm
    Yes, some couples will lose more than $14,000 a year PLUS thousands in pension benefits. And they may be left with incomes as low as $26000 a year until they drain away all their hard won savings that were meant to cover health and home maintenance costs in old age. This is the communist mantra. Don't let battlers benefit from their endeavour. Let the rich prosper and hand out crumbs to the poor but squash the battlers who work hard and save and try to pull themselves up to a position of modest comfort.
    mogo51
    12th Dec 2016
    11:21am
    This is a borderline case IMO. At her 'deeming rate' she would be assessed as earning $7500 p.a. interest approximately. Under the current rules she is required to with withdraw 5% or $12,500 as I understand the rules?
    She is a homeowner so should be getting about $950 fortnight, so has 'disposable income' of approximately $1450 fortnight - a lot of people are not earning that much! So maybe HD Rider is correct?
    Placido
    12th Dec 2016
    11:40am
    That alleged $250,000.00 is most likely NOT in the Bank but is probably her superannuation which is treated as an asset.
    Joy Anne
    12th Dec 2016
    11:46am
    I think this is totally unfair for pensioners who have saved for their retirement. I would not like being in this situation, I am a pensioner and know how hard it is without assets and renting which takes nearly 3/4 of my pension.
    Superannuation should not be used as collateral for the pension. Ask the Turnbull Govt do his mates include superannuation, perks etc in their tax. All the LNP have ever done is take from the poor and give to the rich. This is totally unfair.
    HarrysOpinion
    13th Dec 2016
    10:22am
    Superannuation was created to provide for people's retirement. Unfortunately many Baby-Boomers do not have enough in super to achieve full dependency and part-age pension needs to supplement.
    X-generation will have much more in Super and most will be a less of a strain on the aged-pension budget, Y-generation, most should be able to live off the super saving and this will assist much more with the age-pension budget savings. It should reach a point in the distant future that there will not be any need for aged pension support except in some special circumstances
    Speaking of Welfare- If today's aged pensioners are stigmatised for being on aged pension support that so many nasty people call "Welfare" this also means that ex-politicians on government pensions are also getting "Welfare" but their "Welfare" retirement pensions are 6 to 9 times higher than the single aged pensioner's annual payment today. Maybe, one day, soon, this rort will stop too.
    Anonymous
    13th Dec 2016
    12:37pm
    HS, if the government continues to beat up on people who saved, younger people will reduce their contributions to super and seek to draw it out and spend it as soon as they are able. This policy will drive massive increases in the cost of aged pensions, because there just isn't any benefit in battling to save unless you can get up around the $1.5 million mark. Part pensioners who are losing out are spending up big or buying bigger houses because they can't get a decent return on their investments, but having less gives them a whopping 7.8% return, plus benefits, indexed to inflation - and achieved without risk, worry, and management costs and headaches!
    Old Geezer
    14th Dec 2016
    11:17pm
    Rainey unfortunately spending on bigger houses may be the answer today but that loop hope is about to be closed as well according to those in the know in the financial industry. Talk has it that your house will shortly be included in assessing your OAP. The debate is currently on about how this should be done.
    Anonymous
    16th Dec 2016
    8:55pm
    It is predicted that it will be a decade before houses are included in the assets test. The world turns slowly! And by then the nation will be feeling a great deal of pain due to this stupid assets test change and the way it is destroying incentives to save and plan and making more people welfare dependant. That's if the current pressure doesn't influence Turnbull to make a sensible decision and reverse it - as he should!
    Appathetic
    12th Dec 2016
    11:46am
    Many age pensioners have miss-read the Centrelink letter and assumed the January payment is the ongoing payment. In most cases that I have seen the reduction is a pro-rata payment and the actual reduction will be more than that.
    Carol may have more than $250k in assets but consider the households – i.e. couples – who are to lose more than $14k pa. Whilst they may have disposable assets it is a significant shock to their budget that many have yet to address.
    Rodent
    12th Dec 2016
    12:34pm
    Appathetic

    I doubt Pensioners will misread the letter

    in my case its very clear
    Payment From and to 29/11/16 to 14/12/16 ,
    then payment 27/12/16 to 11/01/17
    Then Regular Payment from 25/01/17

    Others may have different dates/ranges but the principal is the same
    Therefore the Regular payment is just what it says -the new amount pf to be paid after all these changes have taken effect
    Travelling Man
    12th Dec 2016
    12:02pm
    Centrelink has informed me I will lose my part pension from January 1 next. Both major parties seem to have lost contact with the needs and aspirations of the general population, particularly pensioners, and this will be to their detriment. One thing is for sure. I shall be voting for Pauline Hanson when the next election comes around and I shall be counselling my extended family and friends to do likewise.
    PAYEdmydues
    12th Dec 2016
    2:24pm
    Well if it's so bad here in Australia I suggest you get on a leaky boat and go and live elsewhere as an economic retiree pensioner refugee. If not why not?
    Gra
    12th Dec 2016
    3:40pm
    And PAYEmydues where do you suggest a person goes to do that? If only there were other countries with governments as gullible as ours, pathetically willing to throw money at people who have contributed nothing to this country, all the while looking for ways to give even less to those who have worked and contributed to the economy.
    Triss
    12th Dec 2016
    4:10pm
    I wonder what the pension is of Centrelink retired employees and if they have any conscience jabs when they don't have deeming rates or intrusive means testing.
    Caz
    12th Dec 2016
    12:02pm
    For a start, every time Centrelink sends me a letter to be accessed from my mygov account,I can't access it because I am told that my password is incorrect. When I go in to try to change my password, I get a series of messages telling me that I can't do this. I have no idea what Centrelink is sending me.
    Grateful
    12th Dec 2016
    12:47pm
    That's exactly what's happening to me Caz. Bleeding frustrating and don't even try to ring them to get it sorted out!! Pathetic!!

    Sadly, I also think that pensioners will be the target of FURTHER cuts with the Budget now being the focal point. Be prepared.
    halona
    12th Dec 2016
    12:05pm
    Am I losing it or what. Where does the $546 per year come from. If she is losing $10.50 a week, does that not work out to $504, In any case, my husband and I live on $39,000 a year quite comfortably. can even afford to give the 2 kids a few bonuses during the year....
    DJ
    12th Dec 2016
    12:18pm
    Your maths is not very good,10.5 x 52 = 546.
    halona
    12th Dec 2016
    12:48pm
    Oh well, I said I was losing it...
    DJ
    12th Dec 2016
    12:28pm
    For all the maths geniuses out there, this is really simple, she has total assests other than her house of $7,000 above the threshold. She looses $3 per fourtnight for every $1,000 above the therefore $21 or $10.50 per week. Much of her assets may be tied up in superannuation so without more info it is hard to know her full situation.
    This change is disgusting, I wrote to every Senator early this year and only had 2 positive replies, not from Libs, Labor or the Greens.
    Rodent
    12th Dec 2016
    12:43pm
    DJ

    Your maths may be correct, BUT this may be her reality IF HER ASSETS ARE $305,000

    The Two different sets of figures are CURRENT and after 1 Jan 2017

    Apologies for format its pasted from an Excel Calculator

    Home Owning Single Current Rules Proposed Jan 2017
    Assessable assets $305,000 $305,000

    Minimium Threshold $209,000 $250,000
    Excess Assets $96,000 $55,000
    Pension reduction $144.00 $165.00
    at $1.50/$1000 at $3.00/$1000
    Full Single Pension Rate $797.90 $797.90
    Calculated Pension $653.90 $632.90
    Supplement $65.10 $65.10
    Clean Energy Supp $14.10 $14.10
    Max Single Rate Incl Supps $877.10 $877.10

    Total Single rate PF $733.10 $712.10
    Max Pension $22,804.60 $22,804.60
    Actual Pension to be paid $19,060.60 $18,514.60
    Paicey58
    12th Dec 2016
    3:19pm
    Why doesn't she just withdraw the $ 7000 from her account. Spend it on whatever she wants to and advise Centrelink of her new assets amount and go back to receiving the full pension again?

    I'm not on a pension so am I missing something here because the solution seems pretty simple to me ?
    Anonymous
    12th Dec 2016
    10:12pm
    You hit the nail on the head, Paicey58. And thousands are doing just that - REDUCING their savings with a big spend up so they can claim higher pensions, because there's no benefit in having the extra savings when investment returns are so low and risks are so high, and the government pays a whopping 7.8% PLUS benefits, increasing 6-monthly, as a reward for spending up big and having less.

    The result, of course, is that the number of pensioners and amounts claimed will rise and the cost to the taxpayer will increase.

    Only inept fools would adjust the taper rate such that it's better to NOT save for retirement (and our politicians ARE inept fools!) Tackle the income thresholds if necessary, but the asset thresholds should be INCREASED to ensure that incentives to save and be as independent as possible in old age are retained.
    Anonymous
    12th Dec 2016
    10:20pm
    The thing is, though, that most won't spend the amount they need to spend to restore their pension to what it was before. Most will spend more, and draw more. Seeing what happens if you save, most will decide it's futile to try and it makes much more sense to just rely on Centrelink benefits.
    mercman
    12th Dec 2016
    12:51pm
    The whole point of the current exercise by Centrelink is for the Gov to claw back money from people with assets on part pension so that the money "saved" can go to reducing our mounting budget deficit.
    It appears that pensioners can no longer hold onto their savings to pass to their siblings, we are now required to use up all savings in the bank etc until there is little left, then the assets can be reassessed and the pension/part pension increased or reinstated.
    Asset tested rate will be increased for a Homeowner couple between $269,500 and 453,500: for assets between $453,500 and $816, 000 will get a decrease and those with assets equal or above $816,000 will have their pension cut. The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card will continue.
    This is OK on the surface, but if a lot of the asset value consists of holiday house, motor vehicles, caravans or other property and there is not a lot of cash in the bank, it looks pensioners will have to liquidate the non-cash assets to live until that cash is exhausted.
    So, don't grumble, sell the holiday house, the big caravan and 4x4 drive tow vehicle and anything thing else that contributes to your asset value and tell the kids that they may get a few dollars it there is anything left when it is time to depart this life.
    Don't forget, the nursing home is going to cost us all a fortune, so don't aim to live too long when you can't look after yourself.
    Of, course none of this applies to the Politicians who have a totally extravagant pension policy, and can get high paid jobs when they quite politics thus accumulating $Ms.
    Console yourself that this is all for the good of the nation!!!
    Hasbeen
    12th Dec 2016
    2:43pm
    You know, strangely I don't actually think $453,500 & a house, of probably a million is really just a few dollars to leave the kids.

    In fact I can see no reason why the taxpayer should be subsidising your, or my kids inheritance. Actually I believe that $269,000 in assets, & the pension is pretty generous.
    Old Geezer
    12th Dec 2016
    3:15pm
    Nursing homes only cost you money if you have money. So if you have nothing they will cost you nothing for the bond.
    Rae
    12th Dec 2016
    3:51pm
    Yes OG is correct. If people really want to give the kids their money then they should. If you end up with nothing much you just get the full pension, rent allowances, and nursing home with less hassle.

    Sell it all, buy a motor home, give the kids their inheritance and hit the road. If we all did it we'd be just like the LNP selling all that asset earning stuff bogging us down.

    Travel around for 5 years and you can then live happily ever after on the public teat.

    Happiness really is living the simple life of paying bills and spending every last other cent each fortnight.

    Silly savers.
    Anonymous
    13th Dec 2016
    4:52pm
    You are wrong about nursing homes, OG. There are very limited free places. People who need a free bed have to take pot luck as to quality of facility and location. They often have to move hundreds of miles from friends and family. And many are on waiting lists for ages.

    Yes, Rae, we should all take your advice. And then the nation would really be stuffed! But that's what this STUPID government wants, apparently - everyone to spend up big and claim the maximum pension. Don't let anyone who can't make it to wealthy status benefit from saving and trying to be self-sufficient. Got to bash those battlers who achieve modest comfort and grind them into hardship. When we are all persuaded endeavour is pointless, what happens to the deficit and over-burdened taxpayers then? Or is that when pensions end and we are all left to starve?
    Jtee
    12th Dec 2016
    1:06pm
    We gave a holiday house worth $450,000 which has been on the market for almost 2 years and unable to sell. That is assessed by Centrelink. We have 2 cars, 1998 and 1998 models, and a 10 year old caravan. Super is $70,304 and savings $16341. We also have a small defined benefit pension of $568 per fortnight and Centrelink will get into that in July next year.

    We are being reduced to $277.20 per fortnight each leaving us an income of $29,182 per annum between the two of us. We live in the country where there is no public transport and if something happens to our old cars we will be in trouble.
    Old Geezer
    12th Dec 2016
    2:24pm
    If you have a holiday house worth $450,000 then you must have a house worth considerably more.
    Anonymous
    12th Dec 2016
    10:18pm
    You really are the master of idiotic assumptions, OG, aren't you? You have absolutely no basis for your ridiculous statements, but you rant on anyway making a total fool of yourself. It's not actually relevant how much Jtee's house is worth anyway, but it could well be that they live in a tiny home unit or an old shack but just chose to have a nice home to holiday in. Of course OG, the GREAT GOD of FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT, would say that was foolish. But then the GREAT GOD of FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT can't comprehend that someone might do something with their savings other than send their kids to Disneyland. And in true communist fashion, he seeks to dictate to everyone how they should live and to demand that unless they are independently wealthy, their savings be confiscated to the benefit of the State. One very sick puppy!
    Old Geezer
    14th Dec 2016
    11:03pm
    Of course it is relevant how much the house is worth simply because you can elect which one house you want exempt. It would be foolish to exempt the cheapest one.

    Also if that holiday house has not sold within 2 years it is simply not worth $450,000 as a house is only worth as much as a willing buyer will pay. There are no willing buyers at $450,000. It needs to be revalued down to a price a willing buyer will pay otherwise the pension is less than it should be.

    Rainey you need to learn the rules so you can play the game.
    Jtee
    12th Dec 2016
    1:11pm
    I forgot to mention we are losing $133 per fortnight each.
    Dotty
    12th Dec 2016
    2:03pm
    I have nothing and no Assets and am on the full aged pension !
    I hope that I dont get mine lowered as its hard enough trying to live on less a fortnight than $ 740 ! ! after my rent is paid to public housing and each time we get a couple of dollars in indexation the rent goes up !
    So we gain very little ! So what is the good of complaining as you get no where as I had no Super as this started just before I retired so I had about $ 3000 and that was it! Dotty
    Rae
    12th Dec 2016
    3:22pm
    You should get about $30 extra if I've read it correctly.

    The rent will probably go up as usual.

    For people who pay their bills and spend every other dollar each fortnight this is a good deal. It may help the economy.

    The government is only stealing from savers and anyone with something but not filthy rich.

    It really pays to be very rich or a total consumer as the middle class is being wiped out bit by bit.
    Old Geezer
    12th Dec 2016
    2:25pm
    Carol has her capital to spend so the $10.50 per week can be very easily covered.
    Rae
    12th Dec 2016
    3:24pm
    I hope everyone losing money does not cover it at all. I hope they dig in and cut spending to the bone. This government deserves a great screaming recession with the business lobby at their throats.

    12th Dec 2016
    2:58pm
    $10.50 a week less is small change. Quit whining, you are one of the lucky ones.
    ray from Bondi
    12th Dec 2016
    3:02pm
    one thing for sure you can pick the liberal trolls, and while the government bashes the unemployed, pensioners and anybody who's luck is down and out while sipping the most expensive wine and exuberantly attack the finest of meals while living in opulent luxury at the tax payers expense.
    As I see it, if a person goes into politics at an early age is then thrown out after 4 years can live the life of Riley for the rest of his life, not need to wait to 70 for and ill health to enjoy it all.
    Old Geezer
    12th Dec 2016
    3:11pm
    If a person goes into politics today he doesn't get his parliamentary pension until aged 55. Living the life of Riley must not be very good then for all the years until 55. This is the same age at which most people can access their super.

    Any one who has had their pension reduced by the January 2017 changes have lots o capital to live on without the pension. These people have had it too good for too long and it's good to see the government has put an end to this unnecessary expenditure. It is certainly not bashing anyone.

    I haven't yet worked out who are the Liberal trolls and I am certainly not one myself.
    Gra
    12th Dec 2016
    3:50pm
    Old Geezer, a person can only access their Super at age 55 under exceptional circumstances, either they have a terminal illness or need cash to settle medical expenses. People just can't decide they want to hit their Super for the fun of it.
    Gra
    12th Dec 2016
    3:52pm
    Old Geezer certainly comes across as a Liberal troll, in their eyes the coalition can do no wrong. It would be a breath of fresh air to see Old Geezer say something in favor of the working person occasionally.
    Old Geezer
    12th Dec 2016
    4:10pm
    Wrong anyone turning 55 today can access their super without any exceptional circumstances.
    in2sunset
    12th Dec 2016
    10:37pm
    Old Geezer - wrong. To say - .....'without any exceptional circumstances' is very misleading and wrong. You can only access your super at age 55 if you were born before July 1960, and have permanently retired. I would call them 'pretty exceptional circumstances'.
    Old Geezer
    14th Dec 2016
    11:13pm
    No you don't have to be permanently retired to access your super as you can have a transition to retirement pension even though you are still working.
    jonty
    12th Dec 2016
    3:56pm
    You don't need to go into specifics with this or any other issue with the Conservative Libs.
    Suffice to say that Howard & Costello had a golden opportunity during the boom to save for the future but gave it all away with buying votes to stay in power; then they blame every body else for having too much, except the mega rich who they refuse to tax; and do what they always do. Bash those who cant defend themselves and slash and burn everything else.
    In today's climate and interest rates anyone with under $5000000 in working assets should not vote for them if a comfortable retirement is what you want. After all as a retiree you are less able to do for yourself and medical bills go through the roof; and your cognitive capacity declines so decision making is a lot harder. So more is needed just to get by.
    Conservative/Libs./Nats. believe they are born to rule and unfortunately so do many old folk who 'Nobly' keep voting for them.
    It's about time ideology went out of the window when voting and practical social issues were in the forefront when deciding who to vote in.
    After all we do live in a society not a Rich Man's paradise !!
    Old Geezer
    12th Dec 2016
    4:12pm
    You can spend your capital as it's no use to your when you are dead. No point in saving it for others to take a first class trip to Disneyland.
    Anonymous
    12th Dec 2016
    10:06pm
    And when it's gone - 15 years from now - and you need expensive medical treatment or your home needs expensive repair, you can take delight in knowing that your savings that you put aside for that purpose were STOLEN and GIFTED to people who lived more lavishly or didn't bother to work and plan, and you will live the rest of your life in hardship, and taxpayers will shell out more for pensioners who have been denied the right to save for their own future.

    It's nothing to do with others going to Disneyland, you stupid old fool! It's about having enough to meet one's own future needs - as determined by the ONLY PERSON CAPABLE OF DETERMINING THEM (no, you are NOT qualified to ASSUME you can assess other folk's needs, OG. That's arrogant and ignorant in the extreme, and disgustingly selfish!)

    People save for valid future requirements. But this IDIOTIC government wants to reward them for blowing their money and being MORE dependant on the taxpayer. And gullible fools are too dumb to see what the obvious consequences will be.
    vincent
    12th Dec 2016
    4:08pm
    anybody knew that this was coming. You had ample time to rearrange your affairs so don't whinge when you are stung this time. If you are too lazy to get of your backside or for the unfortunately few that are locked in you have to cop it sweet. If I had not prepared myself for this there would have been precious little left of my pension. Your choice and yes you voted this lot in.
    Old Geezer
    12th Dec 2016
    6:53pm
    I agree ample time to sort your affairs out under the new rules.
    Anonymous
    12th Dec 2016
    9:45pm
    You are very wrong, Vincent and Old Geezer. Yes, people knew it was coming. But their choices to deal with it were very limited if they did not wish to upgrade their housing or take an expensive cruise. Fine for folk under 60 who could gift to their kids and escape the 5 year rule. Fine for folk who hadn't yet settled in their retirement home. Not so bad for those who have enjoyed a comfortable retirement for 15-20 years and may not have long to live. But for those just retired, settled in their home, and with specific financial plans based on the laws as they have been for decades, the change was a painful blow and they have no real options to deal with it. Many will end up worse off in income terms than full pensioners. Over maybe 3 decades in retirement with possibly high inflation at times and no income-earning capacity, and increasing costs to maintain aging homes and deal with deteriorating health, many will have a real struggle later in life, and that's unfair given that they tried so hard to be self-sufficient and in most cases the only reason they couldn't achieve it was global economic downturn.

    While its easy to say ''use your capital'', it may not be that easy to liquidate some assets in a challenging economy. I know folk with houses or blocks of land they simply can't get a buyer to make an offer on in the current depressed environment. I know people with antiques and collectibles that have a high value but nobody wants to buy at present. Many put money into shares or managed funds that you need to leave money in for a considerable time to avoid heavy loss, and to be given only a few months' notice of a change that compels them to withdraw it can be devastating.

    The real problem with this change though is that it punishes the honest, diligent, enterprising and frugal and rewards the irresponsible. It sends a strong message to people that there's no benefit in saving for retirement (unless you can achieve $1.5 million or more), so millions will reduce their savings, hundreds of thousands will go on spending sprees buying bigger houses (pushing up housing costs) or taking luxury cruises, and the overall cost of pensions will RISE.

    A financial adviser told me out of 98 affected clients, 2 upgraded their homes and 96 booked cruises and bought new cars and every single one of those 98 will receive a BIGGER pension for the rest of their lives because they were forced to reduce their assets.

    We complain about a ''welfare mentality'', but this is precisely how it is created. You deprive people of fair benefit for working and saving and reward people who use the system, and the workers and savers give up and put their hands out.

    The bottom line is that in an environment where investment returns are less than 5% - with risk and no regular increases, the government is offering 7.8% plus benefits, indexed with 6-montly increases - for people to SPEND their money and put their hands out for pensions. That's really very stupid when you analyse it.

    Of course OG will go again on his ill-informed arrogant rant based on ASSUMPTIONS about other people's circumstances and his disgustingly arrogant claim that people have no right to determine how they wish to use the money they have saved over a lifetime, but he's WRONG. Ultimately, society will pay a high price for this government's stupidity. And there was a much better way. Let people keep their assets and tax and means test income a little more aggressively. Introduce some consistency and fairness into the system, so that people who manipulate don't reap huge benefits while the honest battlers are slugged. It would take some intelligence to devise a better system. Sad that we pay politicians so well and they aren't up to the task.
    Toddy
    12th Dec 2016
    11:08pm
    Rainey, I agree with your argument totally. I wish that you would publish it in the AGE. I cannot see how people don't reaise that we are building a bigger reliance on the old age pension. Well said! Toddy
    Anonymous
    13th Dec 2016
    12:18pm
    Tell me how to get it published in the AGE, Toddy! Good to see someone with the brains to understand what the real impact of this dumb policy change will be. You must be in the most intelligent 3%! Congratulations!
    Old Geezer
    14th Dec 2016
    11:08pm
    Remember intelligence is no good unless you can use it to your advantage.
    Anonymous
    16th Dec 2016
    9:02pm
    I'd rather have it and not be able to use it to advantage than be like you and totally devoid of it, OG.
    Spondonian
    12th Dec 2016
    4:19pm
    I worked half my working life in UK , the other half here. I get the pension I earned in UK with NO stoppages as I earned it. This Government not only checks my assets I gained here they also add in my assets I earned in the Uk and then reduce their payment that I have earned here. I also paid for a private superpension in the Uk so they again take more money from their pension here. Have just been told that I will loose another $40 wk in 2017. Since my Wife is not yet pension age they only give us half married rate anyway .
    *Imagine*
    12th Dec 2016
    9:33pm
    Spondonian. Have you noticed that the ATO allow 8% of your UK Pension as a return of the capital that you paid in, BUT Centrelink count all the foreign pension as income. This includes the return of your own money and the tax that has been paid. A blatant rip off.

    A response from Minister Porter (written by manager of foreign pensions DSS) States that return of capital is not considered because a foreign pension is not under Australian superannuation. They cannot see that earnings are earned on capital and that returned capital is NOT INCOME.
    Unbelievable ignorance from those in charge - no wonder triple A is under threat!
    kinkakuji
    12th Dec 2016
    4:39pm
    The Truth about Pensions Defies the Lies of our Leaders
    To dispel some misinformation currently being promoted by Party Politicians and their spin doctors and lying ex Ministers, listed here are some historical facts every Australian, especially the young who are under the miss-guided belief and/or assumption that they are funding the Aged Pension from their current hard work; they are not, they’re funding their own Pension Fund; a fund that governments have no intention of paying and to add insult to injury, legislate to force you to pay into a super fund to boot.
    1939 – 1945
    World War II
    1942 – 1943
    As a Wartime measure, the Federal Government gained sole control over Australian Income Tax. Labor Prime minister (Ben Chifley) introduced three bills to establish the National Welfare Fund, to be financed by a Compulsory Contribution (levy) of one and sixpence in the Pound (20/-) on all personal income. (15c in every $2.00)
    Opposition Leader (Robert Menzies) stated that the Compulsory Contribution (levy) should be kept completely separate. That it should be shown separately on the Taxation Assessment and paid straight into a “TRUST” account and not mixed with the General Revenue.
    Menzies said “The stigma of charity should be removed from the Age Pension.” “It should be an entitlement earned by the person’s personal contribution to the fund.”
    1946
    Prime Minister Chifley agreed and established The National Welfare fund as at 1/1/1946. A “Trust” Fund with the Parliament as “Trustee.”
    The Compulsory Contributions (levy) commenced as at 1st January 1946.
    It was shown separately on the personal Tax Assessments for 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949 and 1950 and the compulsory levy was properly paid straight into the Special “Trust” fund and Welfare claims were paid out of the fund.
    The balance in the fund in 1950 was almost 100 million pounds.
    1949
    Robert Menzies became Prime Minister and he introduced Bills to amend the acts governing the National Welfare Funds.
    The Compulsory Contributions (levy) was then grouped with the Taxation Assessment and appeared as one amount on the Taxation assessments and was paid as one amount straight into the Consolidated Revenue Account.
    The sabotage of the National Welfare Fund had commenced. The Opposition Labor Party had collaborated in this sabotage by remaining silent instead of opposing Menzie’s action.
    1951 – 1985
    The compulsory levy of 7.5% now included in the tax continued to be collected and placed in the Consolidated Revenue Account treated as General Revenue and spent, until 1985.
    1974 – 1975
    Labor Prime Minister (Gough Whitlam) abolished income test for all persons 70 years of age and over and paid pensions to all people over that age.
    1975
    Liberal Prime Minister (Malcolm Fraser) cancelled the Whitlam achievement of abolishing the tests for all 70 years of age and over.
    1977
    Liberal Prime Minister (Malcolm Fraser with Treasurer Philip Lynch) transferred the balance in the Welfare Fund Account (approximately $470,000,000) to Consolidated Revenue Account.
    1985
    Australian Labor Government repealed acts No. 39, 40 and 41 of 1945 (The National Welfare Fund Acts). Thus the funds finally ceased to exist yet the 7.5% levy continued to be collected as a proportion of the Income Tax revenue. It also introduced the (much maligned) Income and Asset Tests, thereby excluding millions of levy and tax paying Australians from receiving Social Services Pensions.
    This money these self funded contributions paid as a percentage of the total income tax collections are today worth far more than the amount of means tested pensions paid out.
    Actuaries have calculated the non-means tested entitlement due to each retiree, today is in excess of $500 per week.
    This surely debunks the politicians claim that the generation are paying a proportion of their current taxes to cover the payments made to pensioners. The obvious short fall has been swallowed by the Government’s Taxation black hole.
    The historical summary above highlights the fact that politicians of opposing political parties each contributed to the agenda to destroy the entitlement as it was intended why? When it clearly would not have been the will of the people.
    While Party Politicians are controlled by a few people who are hidden from public view yet are open to manipulation and outright corruption, there can be no certainty of the payment of pensions.
    Only a majority of truly Independent representatives can bring about a change from Government under corporate control, to Government for the People, of the People, by the People.
    Just because a cabal of political miscreants become so greedy that they change the way a tax looks in the Ledgers, IN NO WAY REMOVES THE FACT THAT THIS TAX IS STILL COLLECTED AND IS SO COLLECTED STILL TO THIS DAY TO PROVIDE FOR THE SUPPLY AND CONTINUATION OF THE OLD AGE PENSION.
    The old age pension is not a privilege;
    Is not a right;
    Is not a gift;
    Is not even welfare;
    The Old Age Pension is an asset;
    Owned and accrued by each Australian Citizen who has funded this asset from their very own purse.
    The governments of the day were employed to amass, secure, invest and manage a fund that in its first 5 years bulged to almost £100,000,000 ( an amount in that day that equated in that day in this day’s dollars and cents, to approximately Au $240 million give or take a million or two).
    They did amass, secure, invest and manage and the figures were colossal and frightening to them and hence they conspired to hide them back into the consolidated Revenue bucket and to this day, that bucket has been brimming with a 7.5% tax collected specifically and only, for the Old Age Pension.
    No, young Australians! You are NOT paying for the welfare of Baby boomers, you are paying for yourselves, new immigrants, the needy in society requiring social services and welfare, dole recipients and the bludgers, BUT YOU ARE NOT PAYING FOR THE OLD AGE PENSION OF ELDERLY AUSTRALIANS WHO HAVE WORKED ALL THEIR LIVES IN THIS COUNTRY AND PAID THEIR DUE FAIR SHARE OF TAXES.
    They did amass, secure, invest and manage and the figures were colossal and frightening to them and hence they conspired to hide them back into the consolidated Revenue bucket and to this day, that bucket has been brimming with a 7.5% tax collected specifically and only, for the Old Age Pension.
    Old Geezer
    12th Dec 2016
    6:50pm
    Unfortunately there is no pot of money anywhere that pays the OAP. It is welfare that comes out of today's tax revenue. No it is not a right or a gift it is welfare paid to old people to keep them out of poverty. If it was an entitlement it would be paid to all old Australians. But is its not so it's not an entitlement so it but be welfare.
    Anonymous
    12th Dec 2016
    9:58pm
    There's no pot of money that pays the OAP because idiot incompetent politicians keep making stupid policies that drain resources and push costs up. And the idiots have done it again! They have made a policy that is guaranteed to INCREASE the cost of aged pensions across the board, and will ultimately mean taxpayers have to pay more and pensioners will get less. The stupidity is mind-boggling, but not quite as mind-boggling as the gullibility of the populace who swallow the dumb lies and justify policies that destroy the economy.
    Triss
    12th Dec 2016
    11:11pm
    Then why aren't the pensions of judges, bureaucrats, ex politicians, etc called welfare, Old Geezer? The unfunded public serrvice pension scheme is slowly, and ever more quickly, bankrupting Australia.
    At around $500 billion debt and rising annually taxpayers cannot come even near to affording it. As these pensioners are being provided for by the taxpayers they not on entitlements they are on welfare.
    Anonymous
    13th Dec 2016
    9:55am
    Geez, you are off the rails, again! The Age Pension IS an entitlement, no matter how finely you split the grey hairs. If you are old, you are entitled, AND you HAVE already paid for it!
    HarrysOpinion
    13th Dec 2016
    10:39am
    "Opposition Leader (Robert Menzies) stated that the Compulsory Contribution (levy) should be kept completely separate. That it should be shown separately on the Taxation Assessment and paid straight into a “TRUST” account and not mixed with the General Revenue.
    Menzies said “The stigma of charity should be removed from the Age Pension.” “It should be an entitlement earned by the person’s personal contribution to the fund.”

    Ah, yes...but sticky fingers with like criminal minds robbed the trust and crooked politicians pointed the finger, falsely accusing the baby-boomers for the last 3-4 years Budget woes. Worst case of libel and malicious defamation against baby-boomer age pensioners by the Liberal-National Coalition government and its funded independent research centres in Australian history.
    GeorgeM
    13th Dec 2016
    4:09pm
    Thanks, kinkakuji, for the historical facts, and also Rainey & others for supporting comments.
    All those who are likely to lose out and still voted for this Liberal Govt (or indeed Labor or Greens) need to have their heads checked!
    The only fair solution is to pay full Age Pensions to all who have worked say 15-20+ years and paid taxes in this country (including the 7.5% impost), and tax all other income as normal. We need a Trump-like alternative to "drain the swamp" of our existing politicians and put new policies in place. It will be easy to pay for this by cracking down hard on Multinationals & Local large companies to ensure a minimum of 15% of Revenue is paid as tax.
    Old Geezer
    15th Dec 2016
    3:59pm
    Fast Eddie I am old and have paid more than my fair shares of taxes but not entitled to the OAP. I don't get a razoo from the government and have to pay full price for everything plus a premium for those who don't. So it is not an entitlement. It is welfare.
    Barbara Mathieson
    12th Dec 2016
    4:50pm
    Yay! Something to be grateful for!
    I didn't receive a C'link letter. So can just keep living on my C'link pension of around $23.000 I think it is.
    Old Man
    12th Dec 2016
    5:30pm
    We haven't yet had a Centrelink letter but from what I have read so far, we will now be getting an increase as we fall under the new minimum scales for assets. Prior to 2017 we have been losing about $35.00 each per fortnight. Now I'm very sure that nobody wants to know our story but there will be about 600,000 stories just like ours. In every change of rules there are winners and losers and all we hear in this forum is the losers side.

    We have no intention of leaving our children anything if we can help it as we spent all that we could getting them an education and a good start in their working life. They are doing OK and they enjoy our stories about our trips. If we saved every penny, didn't go on an occasional trip and didn't enjoy a few drinks and eating out now and then, we too would have a problem with too many assets. If those who aren't getting a full pension want to change that, spend your money on yourself, go out and enjoy things. I might appear to be a bit flippant but the problem people are having with Centrelink is that they have too much money.
    Rodent
    12th Dec 2016
    6:03pm
    Second attempt at posting

    Dear Old Man

    Yes there will be MANY pensioners that MAY receive an Increase ($30) was suggested BUT the number is nothing like 600,000 people. What was often quoted is a figure of 166,000 people, however this will depend on the impact of the UNCHANGED INCOME TEST. If you are one of those to get an increase, good luck to you. I was always of the view that Pensioners that may be receiving an Increase in their pension may not actually receive a letter, the Govt may just want this to be a pleasant surprise, and of course the positive aspects of this "Robin Hood" change will get much media attention by the Govt
    Old Geezer
    12th Dec 2016
    6:55pm
    Exactly Old Man. There are many people who get the OAP and it is nice to have but they don't really need it.
    Anonymous
    13th Dec 2016
    6:19pm
    The great GOD of all knowledge, OG, would of course KNOW what other people really need! What an ignorant, arrogant, self-serving statement. You have absolutely NO IDEA about other people's circumstances or needs. Sure, many don't need it. But many who are losing it DO need it, very genuinely, and will be far, far worse off than many who are getting it.

    What disgusts me is that wealthy people contribute almost nothing to the cost of economic downturn, but a very small group of retirees are being forced to contribute up to 1/3rd of their income. Why isn't the burden being spread fairly, instead of targeted at one small group who are far less well-placed to survive the loss than millions who are losing nothing at all?
    Rae
    14th Dec 2016
    11:23am
    Rainey this government has either decided to destroy Superannuation, it was a Labor initiative after all or they are simply too stupid to see the consequences.

    I for one will never trust a thing they tell me ever again.

    All that tax and saving simply to be out of pocket $10 000 a year plus the perks.

    Then again Nana told me never to trust them and I didn't listen.

    The wealthy will suffer too as austerity kicks in and the cash dries up and business failures escalate.
    Chris G
    12th Dec 2016
    6:01pm
    Old Man, bravo!
    mike
    12th Dec 2016
    6:29pm
    I worked and saved hard for my retirement under current gov rules only to be destroyed by that bastard Hockey who himself is a self proclaimed rorter and liar and proud of it. Now for the first time in 40 years I voted Liberal last and voted for Pauline Hanson, Nick Xenophone and the Christian Democrats. May the Liberals rot in hell
    Old Geezer
    12th Dec 2016
    6:52pm
    Do you really think the alternative government will be as generous as the Liberals? I certainly don't. If you think that Labor won't make further cuts to the OAP you are dreaming. This is only a start.
    Radish
    12th Dec 2016
    8:54pm
    After reading this I think the changes are fair.

    While the family home will remain exempt, ensuring seniors can own million-dollar houses and still claim welfare, the generous assets test will be tightened.

    About 91,000 part-rate pensioners will be cut off entirely from claiming the age pension.

    Another 236,000 part pensioners will have their payments reduced by about $130 a fortnight on average.

    But for 171,500 pensioners there is some good news, because they will receive an increase of about $30 a fortnight under the new rules.

    About 50,000 pensioners who now receive a part-pension will start receiving the full pension, which is worth $797.90 a fortnight for singles.

    It follows a mailout in October that warned up to 700,000 pensioners they could have their pension entitlements changed because they had significant assets or were close to the new assets limit.

    The biggest losers who are banned from claiming the age pension in 2017 will be offered a taxpayer-funded consolation prize – a Commonwealth senior’s health card or a low-income health care card guaranteeing cheaper prescription medicine and bulk billed GP visits.

    The majority live in blue ribbon Liberal Party seats, including Treasurer Scott Morrison’s Sydney electorate of Cook, where seniors will lose $180 a fortnight on average.

    Social Services Minister Christian Porter said the crackdown was needed to ensure Australia could help seniors who truly needed government support.

    “These changes are critical to ensure that Australia’s pension system remains stable into the future,” he said.

    “The family home remains exempt from the assets test and the changes have been designed so that they only impact pensioners with significant assets outside the family home.”

    "Superannuation, investment properties and household assets will be taken into account.

    For retirees who are single and don’t own a home, the new assets test is $747,000, and $1.3 million for a couple. For homeowners, the current asset test of $793,750 will be slashed to $542,500 or $823,000 for couples.

    The crackdown will leave about 90 per cent of age pensioners with no reduction in welfare payments.”
    Anonymous
    12th Dec 2016
    9:54pm
    Radish, you are seriously ill-informed. The changes make it very difficult for many who worked hard and saved well to achieve a comfortable retirement and will threaten many with hardship in later life, especially those who still have maybe 3 decades to live through inflation and increasing health and home maintenance costs. The changes impact hideously on many who have assets that aren't able to be liquidated readily.

    But what is worse, the changes will drive up the total cost of aged pensions across the nation.

    What the government has done is said to people ''okay, we know the average investment return rate is 5% or less - and if you are among those who can't cope with investments other than bank deposit you are probably getting less than 2% - so we will give you 7.8% plus benefits, indexed to inflation, to quickly reduce your assets. Buy a bigger house. Take a world cruise. Gamble away a few hundred thousand. We'll give you a big fat pay rise for doing so! But if you struggle to save, you'll have a smaller income than those who didn't until you either waste all your savings or gift it to other taxpayers.

    It doesn't take much intelligence to realize that people are basically selfish. They are not going to work harder and save more so that they can be worse off and other people can have more.

    Read my post above. 98 out of 98 clients of one financial adviser will draw much bigger pensions than they would have under the old rules, because they are reducing their assets to avoid suffering income loss. Every financial adviser I talk to is telling the same story.

    The change may have been well-intentioned, but it was stupid and it will impose higher costs on taxpayers.

    It's not a question of whether those hurt are proportionally better off, or whether they can and should use their capital to live. It's not a moral question. It's mathematics and psychology and the national interest. You don't benefit the nation by encouraging a welfare mentality, and that's what this change does. It pays people to save less and claim more. And that's just plain DUMB.
    Triss
    12th Dec 2016
    11:16pm
    The changes are not fair, Radish. They would only be fair if the changes were democratic and multi millionaires like Rudd, Hockey, etc were subjected to the same rules.
    Old Geezer
    14th Dec 2016
    2:49pm
    The changes are very fair in that they take from those who the OAP is just nice to have and give more to those who really need it.

    I also think those financial advisors you talk to Rainey are not doing anyone any favours simply because it will only lead to further tightening of the rules and those people will once again have to change their affairs. These financial advisors must be rubbing their hands with glee knowing that they have secured themselves further future income.

    I hear that more changes are in the wind from the financial advisors I talk to. It looks like the house will be next and then any OAP paid will have to be paid back out of one's estate before any money is distributed to their heirs.
    Anonymous
    14th Dec 2016
    5:35pm
    Wrong again, OG. The changed DID NOT take from those who ''the OAP is just nice to have'' and give more to those who really need it. You really are a gullible and ignorant fool! Can't you read news? The really needy - who have nothing but the pension - GOT NOT ONE CENT INCREASE. NOTHING. NIL. NADA. ZERO.

    Those who got an increase were those with substantial assets, but not quite as much as some - and many of them have income as well. Those with minimal assets and quite high incomes do very well thankyou. And many who struggled to save for their future will now struggle to get by, which is grossly UNFAIR because if you work hard and save you SHOULD be better off than those who don't.

    You whinge about the so-called ''welfare mentality'', but it's your attitude that creates it. When it's not worthwhile trying, people don't. When effort doesn't pay, people give up and put their hand out. That's precisely what's happening. It's not financial advisers telling people to do it. It's people seeing that they are being screwed over very unfairly and the only defence is to join the crowd putting their hands out.

    When IDIOTS wake up that incentive and reward creates a healthy economy of workers and savers, our economy will improve. While stupid fools continue to want to punish people for endeavour, we keep on going downhill.
    Snowflake
    12th Dec 2016
    11:27pm
    I havejust had my part pension reduced by $95 a week. It seems that if you do make some effort to have some money to pay for things like going to the dentist of fixing your car you are penalised. I might just have to buy a house, reduce my assets and claim the full pension. Bit counter productive for the government.
    I have also worked out why I dislike our governments so much. There is no accountability. I was talking to an upholsterer the other day that did a job for, I think taxation. Brand new office chairs and someone didn't like the colour so the whole lot were re-upholstered. That s where the money they are taking off me is going. I just wish there was some sort of organised movement amongst pensioners that would allow us some political muscle to be exerted. Nothing like feeling powerless when the government steam roller right over you.
    Rodent
    13th Dec 2016
    6:55am
    Radish F

    It is clear your lengthy comments are lifted from a Govt Media Release, or News Media Article, perhaps even Samantha Maiden, who often gets things wrong, for instance she still thinks that the Couple Home Owner Cut off point is $823,000 when its actually $816,000, I note you have also used the Incorrect $823,00 figure
    As far as numbers of people affected we may never know the Truth.Your numbers are just one set of numbers often in the media.
    Because of the time from initial announcement - May 2015 and now through to Jan 1 2017 all the people numbers have changed, as there also has been 3 Pension rises in that time, although as we all know very small!!
    Rodent
    13th Dec 2016
    7:51am
    Radish F

    Another small correction to the article about the Cards where the Pension is Cancelled. When Joe Hockey made the original announcement he said these "cards"would be for a lifetime, if have not seen this statement rescinded

    Extract from CL Site

    Your Pensioner Concession Card will be cancelled but we’ll automatically send you a non-income tested Low Income Health Care Card. If you are over age pension age, we’ll also send you a non-income tested Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. You won't have to meet the income test requirements for these cards.
    Anonymous
    13th Dec 2016
    4:53pm
    ''we’ll also send you a non-income tested Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.''

    Big deal. The Pensioner Concession Card gets you up to $3000 more per year in benefits. The HCC is virtually worthless by comparison.
    Old Geezer
    14th Dec 2016
    3:17pm
    Only those on a full pension should get the Pensioners Health Benefits Card. All the others should only get the Pensioner Concession Card.
    Rodent
    13th Dec 2016
    8:35am
    Dear Radish- I am not having a go at you but just dealing in facts - you said you think the Pension changes are Fair?

    is it far that a single Home Owner with $500,000 in assets will lose 71.15% of their pension leaving them with $3304pa and at the same $500k a Single Non Home owner gets an INCREASED pension + 8.87% leaving them with $18,904pa , and at the same $500k a Couple Home Owner Loses 6.86% of their pension leaving them with $24,632pa and at the same $500k a couple Non Home Owner has NO CHANGE to their pension of $30,613
    Does not seem fair to me.
    Last point at $825,000 in Assets the Couple Non Home Owner is paid a Pension of $14,882pa and all other pensioners at this Asset Value get ZERO PENSION is that fair?

    I fully understand that $825k is a lot of money, and I understand the arguments of Home Owners VS Non Home owners but the unfairness and inequities of these changes is crazy
    Anonymous
    13th Dec 2016
    9:43am
    Your are right, a person is penalised for owning a home and for being partnered - certainly not equity by any means!
    HarrysOpinion
    13th Dec 2016
    10:55am
    It's not about being fair by the government. It's about the fact that they can take it off you because they have the power to do so and you don't have any power to stop it. Soft, vulnerable target are so easy to assault. Never mind the illicit drug and gun smuggling trade, this is all too hard to assault, let's pick on the weak, make life for pollies so much more comfortable ! Cigarette tax for example, how much of the revenue has gone to Hospitals and smoking related Healthcare? Out of the revenue has the government offered to subsidise anti-smoking medication? You'd think they would if they really cared about stopping all people smoking cigarettes. But, hang on don't the Greens want to legalise illicit drugs which includes smoking "bongs", "hashish","marijuana" among other illicit drugs such as "ice" that is the cause of so much acts of violence? So much hypocrisy from the politician, so much bullshit, so many with criminal minds!
    inextratime
    13th Dec 2016
    12:25pm
    If the government collected all the tax revenue from multinationals that pay millions to save millions via their tax avoidance set ups we wouldn't be having this debate.
    Jtee
    13th Dec 2016
    2:06pm
    Rainey's comment 12/12 was spot on. We, who have planned our retirement finances, are now penalised for saving based on previous rules and it's too late to pick up the pieces and find work at our ages.
    vincent
    13th Dec 2016
    6:02pm
    O dear Rainy. if you set everything in concrete you are doomed. This day and age you have to be flexible in every part of your life. I had to be during my working life and never take anything for granted. The same for your financial affairs, one thing is for sure change has always been part of the landscape. If you just sit back and hope that all will be taken care of for you, keep on dreaming.
    Anonymous
    13th Dec 2016
    6:29pm
    Vincent, nobody expects anything to be set in concrete, but instability, inconsistency and unfair changes de-stabilise the economy. The government is destroying our economy with STUPID changes that do not factor in the very obvious and expected psychological responses of the populace.

    Retirees who worked hard and paid taxes and lived frugally for 5 decades DESERVE some security in their old age. And depriving them of that is bad for the nation and bad for society, and will result in major economic problems (worse than we are seeing now, sadly!)

    I am concerned for the nation. With a government as STUPID as the current one, we are in grave trouble.
    Old Geezer
    14th Dec 2016
    2:41pm
    Rainey what I can't understand is why these people who have worked so hard and saved so much are even on the OAP. You don't have to work that hard and save that hard to have more than enough assets not to qualify for the OAP.

    That said anyone effected by the January 2017 changes to the asset test should never have got the pension in the first place. They have ample assets to live on and the OAP as a safety net if they draw down their capital. The OAP for these people was just nice to have and made no difference to their lifestyle. The government is well aware that OAP asset balances have no decrease so has done the right thing so that those who need the OAP get it whereas those who it is just nice to have don't. A great move by the government.
    Anonymous
    14th Dec 2016
    5:40pm
    What an ignorant, arrogant fool you are OG! What the hell would you know about the circumstances of people who have faced huge challenges, struggled with sickness or disability, faced crisis or trauma, etc?

    Lots of people work very, very hard and can't save enough to survive a massive economic downturn. Many lost money in the GFC. Those who will be hurt by the assets test WOULD HAVE HAD ENOUGH to be self-sufficient if investment returns hadn't crashed through the floor. Now they are NOT adequately cashed up to survive 3 decades without income and with rising costs, and any IDIOT who suggests otherwise is a danger to the economy.

    The government has STUFFED IT and guaranteed pension costs will rise dramatically because people are now worse off for having saved, and they will simply reduce their assets. And younger folk seeing the ridiculous situation now will reduce their savings. Anyone who can't see that has nothing but bad air between their ears!
    Old Geezer
    14th Dec 2016
    10:54pm
    If these people lost some much in the GFC then they were not invested but were gambling. Too many eggs in the one basket. Anyone well invested during the GFC would be have more than recovered their losses so the GFC can't be used as an excuse any more.

    The government have no stuffed it at all. All that has happened is that those who don't need the OAP now have to live on their interest and capital instead. This is what should have been happening as can be verified by the fact that their assets are not decreasing so the OAP was just nice to have. Remember the OAP is welfare that was bought in to stop old people living in poverty by providing enough for the basics not to live the high life.
    Anonymous
    16th Dec 2016
    8:59pm
    Again you show your arrogance and misplaced sense of superiority. In fact you are a heartless, cruel, horrible mongrel - the most vile person I have ever encountered. I am just very glad I only know you through forum posts and not in person. What a disgusting creep! And DEAD WRONG! If you read history, you would know that the OAP was declared to be NOT EVER TO BE REGARDED AS CHARITY, but recognition of contribution to society. And we all PAID FOR IT. But we were robbed.

    The GOVERNMENT STUFFED IT. Incompetent idiotic greedy corrupt politicians destroyed our society. It was NOT the fault of people who trusted the financial system. It was NOT greed. It was certainly NOT gambling. You are sick in the head to have so much malice toward good people who aren't as privileged as you.
    vincent
    13th Dec 2016
    7:24pm
    It is not only this government. This has gone on for a very long time. It only gets progressively worse and is now for all plain to see, except for the one eye diehards. The problem is that the pie stays the same, it only has to be shared with triple the amount of people and they all expect a much higher standard of living than was acceptable 50 yrs ago. Add to that that over time the biggest killer of ordinary savings is inflation. The whole taxation system does not reward asset building but rather rewards a debt ridden system and I refer here mainly to business. And it is business that creates employment, in my time in Australia I always kept at least a dozen families in bread not counting suppliers. And yes I am a migrant that arrived here under my own steam with a wife and two kids plus a suitcase. No I was not lucky, I worked my arse of. What gets up my nose that there is a capable young man living next door who has never worked a day in his life. Why the government gives him money so why should he. Drives around in a landcruiser, buys land, is in the process of building on it. Evry byear another baby arrives, get the picture
    Rae
    14th Dec 2016
    11:18am
    He has figured out that there is more money for him doing this than either running a business or working for a boss. You can't blame people because the system is stuffed.
    vincent
    13th Dec 2016
    8:06pm
    That was three in one government, tax and welfare. The other thing that stops Australia from progressing is the outdated two party political system. Something from the old horse and cart days. It is something the Poms unfortunately spread around the world everywhere they got a foothold. It is something Australia cannot afford anymore including all the tiers of government we have to support with such a relative small population. It will send us broke. Time for a fresh look, may one tier of government has to disappear and introduce proportional voting. that gets rid of all the gerrymandering. My two cents worth
    Chrissy L
    14th Dec 2016
    7:03pm
    Rainey, I totally agree with your comments. Fast Eddy, you need a brain transplant! My situation is very similar to Carol's. If a family member with a Power of Attorney, ripped you off for $500/pa or any amount of money, it would be called 'Elder Abuse'. If an Employer did it, they would be referred to the 'Fair Work Commission or whatever it is called these days.... Their Union would go into bat for them. Our Government can do it by legislation and it is OK and there is no way to get retribution. Whilst all the time these Politicians have superior Superannuation schemes, salaries and perks that we part pensioners only dream about. I do not for one minute begrudge anyone who receives an increase in their pension, particularly when on the basic pension. Life can throw some curve balls, during a lifetime. I do however, strongly object to stealth by the Government when people have tried to save for their retirement over many years, only to have it reduced by picking on a easy, vulnerable target of the population Elderly Australians,who have tried to do the right thing and save for their old age. Whatever happened Malcolm to making the 'big end of town' pay their share or to look at negative gearing for the wealthy?
    Old Geezer
    14th Dec 2016
    10:56pm
    The government has not stolen anything. All they have done is made one step in the direction of fixing the OAP so that those who need it get it and those who it is just to have don't get it. The party is over folks and there are many more changes to come in the future.
    Anonymous
    16th Dec 2016
    9:01pm
    They have STOLEN our retirement fund. They have NOT fixed anything, but have done hideous damage to the economy with utter stupidity.

    But nasty, selfish, arrogant pricks like seeing other people hurt.

    The party is only over for the less fortunate. Not for the big end of town. They are partying harder than ever, and the hard working, frugal battlers are paying for it.
    Watchful
    1st Jan 2017
    2:45pm
    All pensioners had their opportunity to show their displeasure with the pensions changes approximately 18 months ago when they were introduced by Morrison and the treacherous Greens but the majority choose to stick their heads inn the sand.
    When the changes to politicians super was introduced into parliament in 2014 the elected members from all party's came together and grandfathered their existing entitlements . If only existing pensioners had the same good fortune.


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