Australian pensioners will be able to buy a celebratory coffee or even a pint of beer tomorrow thanks to the half-yearly review of Commonwealth welfare payment rates.
The full single age pension, including supplements, will rise from $894.40 per fortnight to $907.60 and the full couples pension will lift from $1348.40 per fortnight to $1368.20 tomorrow morning.
The inflation-related increases are also a big boost for people just outside the current cut-off levels to receive a modest part-pension and the Federal Government’s premium concession card.
A single person with up to $556,500 in assets will tomorrow qualify for a part-pension and to receive a Pensioner Concession Card that delivers more generous concessions than the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, which is available to moderately wealthy retirees.
Until midnight, the part-pension and Pensioner Concession Card cuts out at $552,000 for a single homeowner.
These rises are a boon to people just outside the current upper means test threshold because they will now qualify for the part-payments and the Pensioner Concession Card.
The assets test includes financial investments, investment property, cars, savings and household goods at heavily depreciated values. But it excludes a person’s principal place of residence.
Pension means testing is affected by factors including base pension rates and the starting thresholds for the assets and income tests.
Test starting thresholds are reviewed in July and January, with the latest changes increasing the starting point for homeowner couple’s assets test rising from $375,000 to $380,500 and homeowner singles rising from $250,000 to $253,750.
The pension entitlement is reduced by $30 each fortnight for every $10,000 above the threshold.
The assets cut-off for a homeowner couple to receive the part-pension and Pensioner Concession Card will rise tomorrow from $830,000 to $837,000.
The pension will tomorrow cut out at $759,500 for a single person who does not own their home, up from $755,000 today.
The cut-off for non-homeowner couples will rise by $7000 to $1.04 million.
The minimum part-payment for a qualifying homeowner couple will nudge up from $75 to $75.60, while the fortnightly minimum payment for a single person will rise tomorrow from $49.80 fortnightly to $50.20.
Centrelink pensioner payment systems combine the means-adjusted base pension, plus an adjusted-tested supplement to cover various expenses and a flat-rate energy supplement for all qualifying pensions.
The singles energy supplement will not be increased tomorrow from its current level of $14.10, but the base pension for a single rises from $814 to $826.20 and cost-of-living supplement rises from $66.30 to $67.30.
The couples energy supplement stays at $21.20, while the base pension rises from $1227.20 to $1245.64 and the cost-of-living payout rises from $100 to $101.40.
By Neale Prior 19 March 2018 The West Australian
Original article here