Your concerns about coronavirus

Last week, we sent out a short survey and your feedback has come in about your biggest concerns regarding coronavirus (COVID-19).

Thank you to all who have contributed.

The biggest issue you have told us so far is your concern about supplies of both groceries and medicine.

Here’s an example:

“Panic shopping means that older and vulnerable people are missing out on important products. The supermarkets should be required to impose a limit on the number of items that can be purchased and this should be enforced.”

Here’s another:

“Bring back the Supermarket on-line shopping and delivery of groceries and fresh and frozen foods.”

National Seniors CEO, Professor John McCallum raised these concerns with the Minister and Department officials at the ‘COVID-19 Aged Care Peak Teleconference’ on Monday and was informed that they were working hard with the supermarket chains to resolve this issue.

You can tell us in the short survey following if this has improved.

Not surprisingly, the other big issue on the minds of our members is what’s happening to their nest egg when the share market is suffering dramatic falls.

As one person said, the collapse of the share market “…has severely impacted our superannuation. We worry about our future ability to support ourselves.”

One of the key issues raised was the impact of minimum superannuation drawdown rules on retirement savings. As this person outlined:

“I am a self-funded retiree, am concerned about my super and would like the option of reducing the amount which I am obligated to withdraw each year, as occurred during the GFC.”

This is something that we have acted on, calling on the Treasurer to halve minimum drawdown rates, a change that was subsequently announced in the second stimulus package.

Another key issue raised is the low interest environment and the associated issue of deeming rates.

“Interest rate on term deposits [are] low - one million dollars gets you no more than $16000 per annum, less than [the] pension! More support [is] needed for self-funded retirees. Dropping deeming rate much lower would help.”

Again, deeming is an issue National Seniors is active on and we have welcomed the further reduction in the deeming rates by 0.25% in the second stimulus package.

Those who are not yet at the Age Pension age relying on the deteriorating job market also expressed concerns.

“I'm 65, recently made redundant, my wife still works, so unable to claim any benefits or help finding work. Employment Agencies are only interested in disability employment. How Will The Government Assist Me To Find Work? When employers know my age it's all over.”

Carers are also anxious at this time, fearful of what would happen to the people they are caring for, should they get the virus as explained by this member’s response:

“I am a full-time carer to my elderly mum who is 88. I am fearful of getting the virus and passing it on to her. What happens if I get it and have to self-isolate? I live with her. What will happen then? … I do not have anyone else who can care for mum. I am worried about this.”

All your responses are being collated and will be presented to the federal government in the form of a report.

The independent voice of older Australians

From social media, regional radio, national TV and our weekly Connect e-newsletter, we never waste an opportunity to provide information and updates on the issues that impact older Australians.

This not only includes COVID-19, but pension poverty, cost of living concerns, the retirement income system and more.

These are issues that we research thoroughly, using your feedback and experiences to lobby government for changes that lead to better outcomes for older Australians.

It's free to join our advocacy campaigns. Together we can make a difference.

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