The Federal Government plans to scuttle the energy supplement for new Age Pension recipients from 20 September, saving almost $1 billion over four years.
National Seniors Chief Advocate Ian Henschke has described the plan as “misguided” and says it’s another blow for people whose incomes are among the lowest in the country.
The cuts mean a single aged pension will drop $14 per fortnight, or $365 a year, while couples will be $21.20 a fortnight (or about $550 a year) worse off. The current aged pension tops out at $888 a fortnight for a single person and $1339.40 for a couple.
Mr Henschke said the government’s one-off Energy Assistance Payment of $75 for singles and $125 for couples, to be paid on 20 June, would be of little comfort to many older Australians.
“It’s a lot less than the supplement, and for people who had planned their retirements based on the concessions available to pensioners a year ago, these changes will hit particularly hard,” he said.
“It might be difficult for some people to comprehend, but $365 or $550 a year can make a big difference if you are dependent on an Age Pension and have no way to increase your income.”
Do you support cuts to the energy supplement for aged pensioners? If you’re planning to retire after 20 September, what will you do to offset this reduction in the pension?