The full rate paid to a single pensioner will go up from $1,064 to $1,096.70 and from $1,604 to $1,653.40 for a couple combined.
This comes as inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), dropped to 4.9% in July 2023. If you are a part-pensioner, the increase will be proportional to your existing pension payment.
Pension increases occur twice a year, on 20 March and 20 September. The increase is calculated by looking at changes to the CPI and the Pensioner Beneficiary Living Cost Index (PBLCI), and by comparing this with Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE).
Income limits for eligibility for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card are also increasing as a result of indexation, by $5,400 to $95,400 per annum for singles and by $8,640 to $152,640 for couples combined.
With deeming rates frozen for two years until June 2024, more self-funded retirees could now be eligible for concessions.
In a win for renters, the government will apply its promised 15% increase to the maximum rate of Commonwealth Rent Assistance from 20 September.
An increase to rent assistance has been one of the centrepieces of National Seniors Australia’s Fix Pension Poverty campaign.
The 15% increase comes on top of regular indexation, meaning that the maximum rate for CRA will increase by $27.60 to $184.80 per fortnight. For a couple, the maximum payment increases by $26 to $174.
People receiving JobSeeker will get a $40 per fortnight increase in their payment from 20 September 2023. This is on top of regular indexation.
People aged 55-59 will get a much higher rate of JobSeeker, in line with those over 60, but only if on the payment for nine or more continuous months.
This comes on top of the base rate increase of $40 and any increase from regular indexation of the JobSeeker payment.
It means that an older JobSeeker recipient will receive an increase to their fortnightly payment of $96.10.
National Seniors Chief Advocate Ian Henschke said while people who rely on the Age Pension will welcome the increase, under the current system pensioners are still behind, especially when inflation is unusually high.
More could be done to support older people doing it tough.
“What we need is additional targeted support for people with limited means and to stop punishing those who need to work,” Mr Henschke said.
As recent National Seniors research showed, a greater proportion of people with low incomes and those who are renting are experiencing severe impacts from cost-of-living pressures.
“The increase to rent assistance is a good start but more needs to be done to help renters,” Mr Henschke said.
“We recently heard from a couple who pay more than $920 per fortnight in rent. As pensioners, this leaves them with only $907.40 a fortnight to pay for food, fuel, utilities and other expenses.
“In our Employment White Paper Submission, we have called on the government to simplify the tax and transfer system to boost workforce participation, as well as increase income and savings.
“We want a change to income test rules for pensioners who want to work and work more. This could be achieved by reducing the taper rate from 50 cents to 32.5cents in the dollar to align with the tax system. It's simple, fair, and will help solve critical workforce shortages and boost the budget bottom line.
“We will continue to fight for a system that improves people's lives.”
Related reading: Department of Social Services