MORE than three million Australians will soon receive an increase in their pensions to help meet rises in the cost of living.
From March 20 age, disability and carer pensioners, and veterans’ income support recipients will receive an extra $13.20 a fortnight for singles on the maximum rate, and $19.80 a fortnight for couples combined on the maximum rate.
Community Services Minister Jenny Macklin said the pension increase was driven by wages growth in the six months to November 2010.
Following these increases, total pension payments for those on the maximum rate, including the base rate and pension supplement, will be:
$729.30 a fortnight for singles
$1099.40 a fortnight for couples combined
Ms Macklin said the Federal Government in September 2009 delivered the most significant reforms to the pension system in its 100-year history.
These reforms delivered pension increases, a new pension supplement, a pension Work Bonus and a new indexation system.
But living costs for pensioners have also risen sharply.
Older Australians in late February slammed the 5.7% health insurance premium increase approved by Health Minister Nicola Roxon, which takes effect on April 1.
National Seniors chief executive Michael O’Neill said the rise came only a day after the Government’s carbon tax announcement sparked fears among retirees of a significant jump in living costs.
“Pensioners and self-funded retirees are already grappling with rising food, energy and health costs,” Mr O’Neill said.
“The announcement is just another assault on their way of life.”