Seniors Supplement stand-off

A bill to abolish the Senior Supplement is due to be introduced to the upper house this week.

A bill to abolish the Senior Supplement, which is paid to holders of a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) is due to be introduced to the upper house this week, but it looks to be another of the Government’s Budget measures struggling to gain support.

Social Services Minister, Kevin Andrews was confident that the Greens would give the bill the necessary support, if introduced as a stand-alone measure, rather than as part of the broader social security reforms. However, Greens senator, Rachel Siewart, has categorically ruled out supporting the bill, stating, “we ain’t going to support it”. The Greens, however, do think that the abolition should be considered, but only as part of a broader review into retirement incomes, which would include changes to Age Pension eligibility age, indexation of pensions and the GP co-payment.

The abolition of the annual supplement of $886.20 for singles, which is paid quarterly, would save the budget almost $1 billion over four years and has the backing of the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS). ACOSS argues abolishing the supplement would improve the future sustainability of the social security system.

Read more at SMH.com.au

Do you think the Senior Supplement should be abolished? Is ACOSS correct to support the end of such a payment? Or is a wider review into retirement incomes the right thing for the Government to endorse?





    COMMENTS

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    Retired Knowall
    30th Oct 2014
    10:40am
    The whole system needs revising, the trough is too deep and too many snouts in the trough. I recently recived my tax statement with a "thank you" letter from the government for the tax I paid. Attached to the thank you note was a graph detailing how the government spent my tax dollars, guess where over 75% of our tax dollars went.
    Adrianus
    30th Oct 2014
    11:00am
    RK, I know we pay $12.5b in interest for public debt. I worked hard long hours and collected many millions for the ATO and not once did I get a thank you letter.
    Misty
    30th Oct 2014
    1:53pm
    Don't Know Retired Knowall, please tell the rest of us.
    particolor
    30th Oct 2014
    4:34pm
    Please post letter of thanks from Government ! I've never seen one of those ??..
    Also Cost List of ALL Politicians Supplements !! Thank You..
    Retired Knowall
    30th Oct 2014
    6:01pm
    Here are some interesting figures.
    last years Australian government gross debt = $257 billion
    This years Australian government gross debt = $320 billion
    Interest payment on this years gross debt = $13.2 billion
    Cost of welfare is almost 3 times that spent on health,
    almost 6 times that spent on education.
    Is anyone going to tell me this is sustainable?
    As our population ages there will be more people on welfare than there are working. How is government going to fund welfare in 20 years?
    I'm 67 and still working so I can be self funded when I retire, I don't mind paying tax to live in this fine country and I certainly don't want to add my snout to the trough.
    retroy
    30th Oct 2014
    6:44pm
    I have been a self funded retiree for 3 years, and now 71, but I do not begrudge any one getting the seniors supplement, especially when they have worked hard.
    Get the welfare cheats and layabouts out of the system and don't attack those who worked all their lives.
    Irishwolfhound
    30th Oct 2014
    11:52am
    It is time that the Government look at themselves. Never do they take a pay cut, a cut back on their inexcusable expenses and hand outs. We do not pay peanuts but we still get monkeys. They are a shameful bunch of extortionists who are intent on making everyone else pay more tax, and get less pay ! Most pensioners have worked long and hard, and retie at a late age; pollies do very little work, and do not work hard and retire after just one stint in the job, and have all the perks they had while being in office!
    Sen.Cit.90
    30th Oct 2014
    1:15pm
    Spot on in all your comment;
    I often listen and watch the Parliament question time; ABC at 2 pm. It sound very much like a monkeys cage; from the left bench members in particular.
    ballaratboy
    3rd Nov 2014
    11:42am
    I think one problem for our country is the present system of 3 tier Government. We simply cannot afford, nor do we need "3 layers" of Government. How many politicians and Parliaments and public servants does a country with a population of 23 million people need?.
    Suddha
    30th Oct 2014
    12:29pm
    Agree wholeheartedly with the Government and ACOSS
    particolor
    30th Oct 2014
    4:57pm
    Yes !! Take the Whole lot off them and Chuck them a Lump of Cake !!
    Jackie
    30th Oct 2014
    1:02pm
    Another area NEVER LOOKED AT is the totally over the top "superannuation scheme" that is only available for politicians. Plus scrapping $245 million for religious amateurs to wander into our schools, would be better spent elsewhere. Many more areas not looked at yet .....
    Jackie
    30th Oct 2014
    1:02pm
    Another area NEVER LOOKED AT is the totally over the top "superannuation scheme" that is only available for politicians. Plus scrapping $245 million for religious amateurs to wander into our schools, would be better spent elsewhere. Many more areas not looked at yet .....
    tj
    30th Oct 2014
    1:17pm
    Like to know bit more detail of the religious amateurs please
    Disco3
    30th Oct 2014
    1:35pm
    Me too!
    Fred
    30th Oct 2014
    2:57pm
    Have you not heard of the school chaplain nonsense. What planet are you living on.
    To call them amateurs is probably a compliment.
    Retired Knowall
    30th Oct 2014
    4:57pm
    The God Botherers should be assigned to the "invitation Only" pile and funded by their followers. My tax dollars should be funding these activities.
    Pardelope
    3rd Nov 2014
    3:18am
    What I heard was that they intend to get rid of school psychologists (who are trained to detect and help learning and other problems) - and replace them with religious "chaplins". There was no mention of how they would be trained, selected, or monitored .

    I do believe that ethics and information about ALL religions would be useful, but replacing psychologists and allowing particular religious groups to push their particular barrow is dangerous. What would be to stop some fanatical crank from getting their foot in the door?
    Arby
    30th Oct 2014
    1:15pm
    The biggest saving should come from the abolishion of pollies pensions... let them retire on what they have saved like everyone else.!
    particolor
    30th Oct 2014
    4:40pm
    Like That'll Happen !!
    Anonymous
    3rd Nov 2014
    11:49am
    Ted Mack did a good deed. he got their pensions down to 9.5% as are ours. But notice back up to 15% and how did that happen as ours still not up.
    Prior to Ted was 69% of annual salary and still for older pollies.
    I say scrap paying ex PM's indexed salaries for life too on top of super and maybe even all tax free for all I know as are MP's on PAYG? Remember Paul Keating not putting in a tax return for 3 years and being chased. Could be he didn't need back any refund of course.
    spud
    30th Oct 2014
    1:27pm
    Very easy for pollies to cut pension payments - it won't make any difference to their payouts or their pensions. Why should they receive such high pension payments - why shouldn't they save for their retirement like the rest of us.
    solmon52
    30th Oct 2014
    1:39pm
    They should means test it but they should readdress the disability pension and review everyone on it.
    Misty
    30th Oct 2014
    1:59pm
    I thought the pension was already means tested and you don't get the health card unless you are eligible, but I suppose some people have ways and means through accountants etc of minimising their finances so even if they only get $1.00 part pension they get the health card and associated benefits.
    Anonymous
    3rd Nov 2014
    11:51am
    True Misty and could get more revenue back by closing loop holes in Tax Laws which haven't been tackled for many years in any depth. Close trust accounts and stop off shore accounts being used. Had an amnesty on off shore recently didn't get much back in. Need to review laws for those on high incomes not just always on working men and women.
    bookwyrm
    3rd Nov 2014
    2:33pm
    I‘m sick of the govt attacking disability pensioners. They are such bloody hypocrites. If you have schizophrenia they reckon you can work but if you are legally blind you are not means tested. Does anyone know that? In my opinion, leagally blind should get the DSP but it should be means tested like for any other DSP pensioner. I know a young woman who is legally blind who has a great full time permanent job as a statistician, her husband earns plenty as an IT expert, they have the toddler and the five bedroom brand new house and she still gets the DSP pension on top of that. So its OK to deny the DSP to the badly mentally ill, the profoundly deaf, autistic etc but if you are legally blind and a billionaire, go ahead, have some more money. This govt is sick!
    gerberry1
    30th Oct 2014
    1:41pm
    Pollies pension should be calculated the same way as any other person. Why should they be any different.
    As for abolishing the "Seniors supplement' this amount is about what I pay the Council in rates, so I would be looking to pay the rates out of my pension. The Seniors Supplement is there, leave it alone.
    To much has been taken off the pensioners, unfortunately Australia is a country of so many people, and only so many pay tax as does business. We are not like other countries where they have millions of people to help pay the tax. I'd prefer this one to the American one.
    It will never be fixed as we all know, just tinker around the edges.
    particolor
    30th Oct 2014
    4:45pm
    I wish they would Tinker around the edges of their own Pot of Gold !!
    douwe26
    30th Oct 2014
    1:47pm
    As said not so long ago to the pollies of this country KEEP YOU HANDS OF OUR PENSIONS .
    i would like to know which part they don`t understand .??
    Only talk pension when you increase the pension to a respectable level .
    particolor
    30th Oct 2014
    4:49pm
    Some on here say they Bank $400 a fortnight out of their Penson ????.
    Probably Right !! And they get $400 to say that !... YEP !!
    Anonymous
    3rd Nov 2014
    12:01pm
    Wont be marrieds particolor as they get $420.60 less per fortnight for being so. $854.30 as opposed to $644.00 each per fortnight. $210.30 each less off the website. And growing every 6 months.
    And, I find that sort of boasting of "look at me" I can budget, manage quite sickening as it damages the majority who are struggling on a measly pension
    Plus of course cut the married rate in 2009 and only Gottlebsen noticed and as behind a pay wall never saw it commented on.
    Travellersjoy
    30th Oct 2014
    2:22pm
    If ACOSS think it should go, it should go.

    They have their finger on the pulse and the interests of low income Australians and pensioners at heart.

    Too much middle class welfare is killing the goose.
    Grateful
    30th Oct 2014
    2:44pm
    Seniors' Supplement. What an absolute rort. Total review of the entire pension system and start with the levels of entitlement. Far, far too generous. Got Howard re-elected with pensions, superannuation tax benefits and Tampa.
    Misty
    30th Oct 2014
    2:51pm
    Don't know about Middle Class welfare but High Income welfare is something that should certainly be looked into.
    Gayrama
    30th Oct 2014
    2:54pm
    no reductions ...we need every penny we get ...pollies wake up!!! I'd like to see you parasites survive on what we get
    particolor
    4th Nov 2014
    10:49am
    Well one of those Mistletoe's wont be giving You a Kiss this Christmas after that !!
    BElle
    30th Oct 2014
    3:04pm
    Australia is currently running well behind all of the western world in their treatment of pensioners and the aged in general. We are even behind some that we would consider 3rd world countries.
    They could cut the bill for pensions if they simplified it. Everyone should be entitled to a basis pension. We have paid our taxes for 40+ years and have earned the right. Pension supplements should then only be paid to those who are struggling.
    Cut the redtape bill and there will be far more money to go round.
    Politicians pensions should be based on their contributions in the same way that the rest of the population need to contribute to superannuation.
    If you are under the illusion that you are not paying for superannuation, let me assure you that it constitutes part of your salary/wages but has a different tax treatment for that portion of your income.
    Meeob
    30th Oct 2014
    3:19pm
    I do not believe the supplement should be abolished unless the government makes it up in some other way as people who live on the pension only and pay rent to private owners need that boost to pay electricity and gas accounts otherwise we will have more aged citizens out on the street and believe me it is very debilitating and degrading living on the street. wake up Mr Abbott and hope when you get old enough for the pension the goverbnment will then support you
    Jude
    1st Nov 2014
    6:30am
    I may be wrong but I thought what they want abolished is the supplement paid to those who are pension age but not eligible for a pension due to their income being higher than the cut-off for receiving a pension. That being so it will not affect those on the age pension.
    Aurora60
    30th Oct 2014
    3:39pm
    does it affect Newstart allowance, I'm already below the poverty line like so many others like me who genuinely can't work due to disability who can't get the disability allow. I agree with everyone re pollies' pensions - let them start making cuts there and leave us alone!!
    Aurora60
    30th Oct 2014
    3:39pm
    does it affect Newstart allowance, I'm already below the poverty line like so many others like me who genuinely can't work due to disability who can't get the disability allow. I agree with everyone re pollies' pensions - let them start making cuts there and leave us alone!!
    Aurora60
    30th Oct 2014
    3:39pm
    does it affect Newstart allowance, I'm already below the poverty line like so many others like me who genuinely can't work due to disability who can't get the disability allow. I agree with everyone re pollies' pensions - let them start making cuts there and leave us alone!!
    solmon52
    30th Oct 2014
    3:46pm
    Cut gst out of my electricity. Water and rates then we can forgo other handouts. The govt shouldnt need to cut anything as the gst is swamping them with money. They are missusing it as all govts do. Best saving is to get rid of state govts and the senate.
    particolor
    30th Oct 2014
    4:55pm
    I think the Senate is the only thing that Stops them POURING on Your Parade ??
    Cassius
    30th Oct 2014
    5:24pm
    Leave OAP's alone and abandon that insane Paid Parental Leave scheme, that should save heaps

    30th Oct 2014
    7:05pm
    Yes get rid of it.
    Savings can be used to pay off labor debt
    particolor
    2nd Nov 2014
    5:41pm
    And on the Flip Side Is... Big Rock Candy Mountain ......
    Anonymous
    3rd Nov 2014
    2:48pm
    Depends Soloman - some SFR on part pension most likely could do with it to help out anyway. And those at top end of criteria yes most likely a drop in the ocean for them as $50K or $80 for 2 not really poverty stricken eh.
    Always did think the anomaly between what they consider to be a liveable pension for those on it and no real other income and the criteria for CHSC.

    Mind you those same SFR did pay their levy as Howard implied when he said at the time of granting the concession to them, "They have not drawn down on a pension entitled too" Later sort of skated over the remark like he did also with 25% of MAW to all - not knowing the marrieds get less maybe - back then less by $60 a fortnight each now it is up to $210.30 every 2 weeks each.
    And when you consider the only thing they 'share' is the roof over their heads,and singles renting get a payment towards it if private or around 20% of income each for public housing, so in that case equal.
    WHY is the question do they persist in 2 can live cheaper than 1. 2 dont eat as 1 or wear 1 set of clothing etc or have same needs even in anything. Just a cop out on the part of all parties - exact opposite of when they think of their own back pockets.
    And again another thing is they pay more for every child added to a family when in that case at times can be lesser expense on clothing etc.

    See no real effort made to be fair and equitable. All persons no matter gender or marital status or sexuality should receive less than another.
    MacI
    3rd Nov 2014
    5:11pm
    BigVal - I have to challenge your assertion that 2 living together cannot live cheaper than someone living alone. There are lots of expenses that are shared under the roof - here are just some that are as costly for 1 as they are for 2: Rates (or rent if not a home owner); Phone line rental; Internet; Vehicle expenses - registration, insurance, fuel, service and maintenance; House and contents insurance; Property maintenance.

    Then there are utilities like water, electricty, and gas. It doesn't take twice the energy to service a home with 2 rather than 1 occupants. Besides a component of the utility costs are fixed - not based on usage.
    Anonymous
    4th Nov 2014
    3:50pm
    Big Val - why have so much complexity in the pension system
    Too many exceptions upon exceptions.

    The amount of pension is either sufficient or it is not.

    Introducing supplements, subsidies and other layers of payments just adds cost and complexity of a scheme. far better to have a flat payment that is considered sufficient to meet basic needs.
    fedup
    31st Oct 2014
    1:38pm
    I don't think anything should be abolished from the Australian seniors we all paid our taxes so we are all getting our own money back, unlike the welfare that they choose not to work Shame to the Australian Government it is bad enough to have worked hard all your life and raised your family to turn 65 and having to resort to live on such a petty pension Cut the welfare payments for these dole bludgers and leave the seniors alone !!
    carmencita
    31st Oct 2014
    9:33pm
    Why is it that only everyday Australians are being targeted for the cuts. Politicians are receiving millions in their retirement packages plus other benefits. We also have detention centres costing millions of taxpayers money supporting those who have not contributed to Australia's economy-that is a part that can be cut without hurting Australians. Redirect these people to UN facilities so cost could shared instead of Australia absorbing all the cost and yet still criticised by the UN. Other areas that can be cut- reduce personnel in Parliament, reduce no of consultants (for the boys' club), etc....
    Adrianus
    2nd Nov 2014
    10:52am
    The government has kept it's promise to withdraw taxpayer funded assistance to those who arrive by boat. And did so about 6 months ago.
    particolor
    2nd Nov 2014
    5:43pm
    They are now Begging on Street Corners !!
    MacI
    3rd Nov 2014
    10:52am
    If I understand correctly this measure only applies to people who meet the age requirement for the Aged Pension (or Part Aged Pension) but do not qualify for the Aged Pension because their income exceeds the maximum income of $74360 for a couple or $48583 for a single person. If I am correct then I think the removal of this supplement is fair and reasonable.
    Radish
    3rd Nov 2014
    12:18pm
    If there is not enough money in the coffers something has to give and one does not have to be Einstein to work out if you dont have the money to pay the welfare bill cuts have to be made.

    Everyone may have to take a cut further down the road or we may end up like Greece where there was a big cut in pensions and there welfare system is at breaking point.

    If anyone wants to read more about what is happening in Greece here is a link.

    http://www.ansamed.info/ansamed/en/news/sections/economics/2014/09/03/crisis-study-greeces-pension-system-nears-breaking-point_66245107-ce59-448f-aef1-c6f50b49a2fa.html
    melbgirl
    3rd Nov 2014
    12:25pm
    There are many non-seniors who earn much less than the cut off points mentioned, who pay full price for all services and full market rental for somewhere to live. It is unfair that seniors on this level of income receive supplements whilst others have to make do.
    Anonymous
    3rd Nov 2014
    3:28pm
    Agreed in that light Melb girl
    Age pensioners are living on $427 a week if single
    Married a lot worse off living on $322 a week. That is with the supplement the basic is a lot less in both cases. Howard started this off and Labor had to keep it although Gillard wanted to scrap it, Rudd put his foot down he said.
    She did get her way though on married pensioners, they didn't get the $30 a week that singles did and even got a cut in 2009 from criteria of paying 167% of a single pension to a married couple down to 150% meaning in fact only 1 and half pensions between them.
    And what people also forget is that the super for lower paid is being topped up by income taxes which has also cut down monies for welfare and services as does the fact the wealthy concessions on super are worth a mint too and could also be cut but are not.
    Seniors should band together or at least agree to campaign on these anomalies that wealthy are not being touched and can afford a hit when they cant.
    Radish
    4th Nov 2014
    10:30am
    You are correct in what you say melbgirl.
    I am pleased that there is a crackdown in place now to catch those wealthy people who were avoiding tax by hiding their money in overseas account. The current amnesty has netted quite a lot of tax which had previously been avoided.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-25/tax-amnesty-for-offshore-evaders/5767492
    Anonymous
    4th Nov 2014
    3:52pm
    Radish - bite your tongue !

    What about people like Particolor who has millions stashed under his mattress ?
    Pamiea
    5th Nov 2014
    1:04am
    I don't think the supplement should be abolished. Pensioners are doing it tough enough with a recent increase of car registration by almost $100 a year. I believe the poverty line in Australia is $400 per week for a single - well hello - single pensioners get $426 per week!!

    Perhaps we could stop all the tax dodges by politicians and other wealthy people running farms etc at a loss to negate their tax debt or perhaps get rid of family trusts where income is supposedly spread over the entire family also avoiding tax. SHAME ON YOU RITCHIES PICKING ON PENSIONERS - YOU REALLY ARE QUITE DISGUSTING.
    MacI
    5th Nov 2014
    5:29am
    Pamies - This does not affect people receiving the Aged Pension - only those who currently receive the supplement and do not qualify for the Aged Pension because their income exceeds the maximum allowable to receive a Part Aged Pension.
    Rob
    5th Nov 2014
    4:01pm
    With all the cut-backs in the "Think Tank" of the federal government, it is very obvious that the politicians will NEVER think of setting a clear example of "economy of spirit". That is, not take a pay increase for 2 years. The cost of living is going through the roof and pensioners, believe it or not, do not enjoy the same enormous lurks and perks as manipulated by the politicians. On the one hand we hear the country is going broke, and on the other hand the number of continuous Commission Hearings into every matter from A to Z is costing the taxpayers a fortune. We have people living in cars in this country right now. Why isn't there an inquiry of major significance into this disgrace? In the meantime we have G8 forums that not only force businesses to close their doors, but literally cost a fortune for the little man and end up gaining a fortune for the world's multinational companies.
    Fready
    10th Nov 2014
    6:03pm
    The question that must be asked is "why did so many people not save anything for their retirement."? How did they expect to live.? We have to provide more advice to people to help them make better decisions.
    The other point that needs to be made is that self-funded retirees get charged for Government services based on their ability to pay. For example self-funded retirees could pay $60,000 more than a pensioner for aged care under the Living Longer Living Better scheme. This is like penalising people for saving for their retirement.


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