One million part-pensions to be reduced?

Will one million part-pensioners have their pensions reduced when the long-awaited Harmer Report is released? Is this a rumour or fact? And when WILL this report be available?

Last Friday the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reported that a million pensioners might have payments reduced or removed so that single pensioners can receive an increase in the next budget. The SMH stated that it had “learned” that significant savings might be achieved by increasing the taper rate from 40 cents to 50 cents. A “taper rate” refers to the rate at which a person’s payment is reduced as a result of income/assets above the threshold that applies to their situation. For example, if you earn a dollar above the threshold currently your pension is reduced by 40 cents per dollar. The rumoured change means it would be reduced by 50 cents.

We contacted Centrelink, then FaCHSIA on behalf of AboutSeniors subscribers and FaCHSIA has informed us the report has been delivered to the Minister – this happened on Friday. BUT THERE IS NO GUARANTEE THE CONTENTS OF THE REPORT WILL EVER BE MADE PUBLIC. Why, we wonder? After all the time and money producing this report what is so secret that it can’t be made public? We will continue to raise this question until we have an answer that is comprehensible.

It is entirely possible that the taper rate will be changed as including a rise for single pensioners ($30 per week is tipped) will further push the budget, into deficit. This gap will need to be clawed back somehow and reducing pension payments to those considered to be “wealthier” pensioners is one strategy likely to be considered. Keep watching AboutSeniors enewsletters for updates on the Harmer Report, its recommendations and any subsequent changes to pension payments for all recipients.

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