The following are changes that may affect seniors.
Closure of the Energy Supplement to new welfare recipients
From 20 September 2016, Carbon Tax compensation in the form of the Energy Supplement (ES) will no longer be available for new recipients of income support, family payments, veterans’ payments or the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.
More information about the closure of the Energy Supplement to new welfare recipients can be found on the 2016–17 Budget Measures page.
The 2018-19 Budget included $258.6 million in initiatives to support the incomes of age pensioners in retirement. The initiatives start from 1 July 2019, subject to the passage of legislation.
New means test rules for pooled lifetime income stream products
New means test rules are being introduced to ensure that all pooled lifetime income streams are fairly and consistently assessed under the income and assets test.
From 1 July 2019, pooled lifetime income streams purchased on or after 1 July 2019 will be assessed under the new means test rules.
More information is available on the frequently asked questions page.
Expansion of the Pension Work Bonus
The Pension Work Bonus is being expanded to better support working age pensioners.
From 1 July 2019, age pensioners earning income will benefit more from their Pension Work Bonus with increases to both the fortnightly Pension Work Bonus amount from $250 to $300, and the maximum accruable balance from $6,500 to $7,800.
The Pension Work Bonus will also be expanded to include earnings from self-employment.
The Government’s changes to the Pension Work Bonus support workforce participation, improve the standard of living of age pensioners who work, and better reflect modern work arrangements.
The changes are expected to benefit more than 88,000 age pensioners.
Expansion of the Pension Loans Scheme
The Pension Loans Scheme is being expanded to better support more older Australians.
From 1 July 2019, the Government is expanding the eligibility of the Pension Loans Scheme to all older Australians of Age Pension age, and increasing the maximum allowable combined Age Pension and Pension Loans Scheme to 150 per cent of the Age Pension rate.
The expanded Pension Loans Scheme will mean older Australians who are not eligible for the Age Pension, or who are already receiving the maximum rate of Age Pension will be able to increase their income by up to $11,799 (singles) or $17,787 (couples) per year by unlocking the equity in their home.
Pension Loans Scheme participants will continue to have the flexibility to start or stop receiving PLS payments as their personal circumstances change, and will generally repay the loan once their home is sold.
The measure will better target the Pension Loan Scheme to those who would benefit the most and give older Australians more choice to draw on the equity of their homes to better support their post-retirement living.