No Centrelink Christmas cheer

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.

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 [email protected] with your name, email and contact number, plus a couple of lines outlining how you will be affected by these changes.

Related articles:
Does Centrelink know my assets?
Will the pension increase by $30?
Centrelink’s pension Christmas present

Written by Debbie McTaggart


Assets: do you need to tell Centrelink what you have?

We clarify what you need to do before the asset threshold changes.

Will the Age Pension increase by $30 from January 2017?

Who will receive more in Age Pension from January 2017?

Age Pension change notified by Christmas

Retirees may not find out until just before Christmas if their Age Pensions will be affected.