Age Pension application process needs major overhaul

The Centrelink application process for the Age Pension needs an urgent overhaul, according to National Seniors Australia.

National Seniors’ Interim CEO Professor John McCallum said Age Pension applicants had described the process as “too hard, too complicated and too long”.

Prof. McCallum said the Centrelink application process demanded immediate attention given the Federal Government was reforming the superannuation system.

Fighting to eliminate pension poverty

National Seniors and the Benevolent Society visited community groups in the northern NSW towns of Coffs Harbour and Lismore last week to talk about the 110-year anniversary of the Age Pension in Australia, and the importance of addressing poverty among older Australians.

The Invalid and Old Age Pensions Act was passed by the then young Commonwealth Parliament in June 1908. This followed long community campaigns and was based on age pensions introduced in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.

The Centrelink Experience: From ‘waiting, frustrating, hopeless’ to ‘helpful, friendly, positive’

National Seniors Australia regularly gathers data about how older Australians are faring across many areas of service access and general wellbeing through surveys, policy forums and qualitative interviews. The intent of this research is to raise public awareness of the issues facing senior Australians when applying for the Age Pension, and to better understand the scale and causes of the problems experienced by seniors in their dealings with Centrelink.

Pensioners want to work longer without penalty

National Seniors is calling on the Federal Government to raise the Work Bonus for Age Pensioners to $10,000 a year without them losing any of their benefits.

Chief Advocate Ian Henschke said National Seniors’ research showed the key issue confronting the majority (51 per cent) of full age pensioners was its adequacy to cover the cost of living.

Many were willing and able to work part-time but a loss of pension income was a major disincentive.

Singles on low incomes locked out of NSW

Many single people on pensions or benefits cannot find affordable rental accommodation in New South Wales, according to housing advocacy group Shelter NSW.

Its chief executive, Karen Walsh, said governments needed to address the shortfall of around 100,000 social and affordable housing dwellings in the state.

“The RAI (Rental Affordability Index) clearly shows that our current housing system is not ‘fit for purpose’,” Ms Walsh said.

Pension payments to rise from 20 September

About 4.7 million Australians will receive an increase to their welfare payments from 20 September as part of the government’s six monthly indexation of pensions and allowances.

Minister for Social Services Christian Porter said pension payments, including the Age Pension and Disability Support Pension, would rise by $6.10 a fortnight to $894.40 for singles and $4.60 a fortnight to $674.20 for each member of a couple.

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