Better aged care and increased housing supply are the focus of National Seniors Australia’s call today for profits of the sale of the family home to be exempt from the age pension means test.
In the lead up to the federal election, the peak advocacy group is urging all political parties to back the campaign to exempt up to $250,000 from the sale of the family home from the means test.
National Seniors Chief Advocate Ian Henschke said the $250,000 exemption would encourage older Australians to downsize to age-suitable safe housing, put more housing stock on the market and improve housing options for more Australians, including first home buyers.
“It would also help address the aged care crisis by freeing up funds for older Australians to delay moving into residential aged care, purchase the home care and health services they need, and avoid the some of the issues to be investigated by the Aged Care Royal Commission,” Mr Henschke said.
The call comes after National Seniors research showed while more older Australians wanted to downsize, the biggest barrier was the financial impact on their age pension. Almost one in five older Australians who didn’t want to downsize would consider it if the extra money did not affect their pension.
Mr Henschke said older Australians should be able to downsize without losing their pension.
“Many older people live in housing that is inappropriate for their needs and difficult and expensive to maintain,” Mr Henschke said. “This increases the risk of injury and hospitalisation. It can also bring on early entry into residential aged care.
“Many older people cite home maintenance issues as a key motivation for downsizing, while others are keen to stay in the home where they have raised their families or in an area that’s familiar.
“But if they could sell without losing their pension, there’s no doubt many would.
“This would free up existing homes for families and promote the construction of purpose-built homes for older Australians, as another key barrier to downsizing is a limited supply of ‘accessible’ housing stock with universal design features,” Mr Henschke said.
The National Seniors Australia Rightsizing campaign welcomes the views of all Australians on this important housing issue. If better housing is an issue important to you, sign up to the campaign at https://nationalseniors.com.au/campaigns/current/better-housing#join-the-campaign to receive regular updates.
The full research report can be read online at nationalseniors.com.au/downsizing.
National Seniors Chief Advocate Ian Henschke is available for interview.
Media contact: Lynda Schekoske 0488 047 380