Millions to get boost in pension and welfare payments

Pensioners, the unemployed and students will all receive a boost to their welfare payments under changes soon to kick in.

More than 4.7 Australians will benefit when indexation of their payments happens on March 20.

Recipients of the age pension, disability support pension and carer payment will get an increase of $37.50 a fortnight for singles and $56.40 a fortnight for couples.

The pension’s maximum fortnightly rate will rise to $1064 for singles and $1604 for couples.

Single JobSeeker and adult ABSTUDY payments will lift by $24.70 to $701.90 a fortnight.

Australian Council of Social Service acting chief executive Edwina MacDonald urged the government to bring the unemployment payment in line with the pension.

“While every little bit extra helps, this indexation will not ensure that people can cover basic costs because their incomes were grossly inadequate before prices rose,” she said.

“The inadequacy of these payments directly corrodes people’s capacity and confidence.

“Being forced to go without the basics like enough food impairs people’s ability to look for paid work and engage in their community.”

According to the social advocacy group, the JobSeeker payment will still be 57 per cent below the minimum wage, 34 per cent below the pension and well below the poverty line.

People on youth allowance will miss out, with those payments only indexed once a year.

Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said the government was aware Australia’s most vulnerable were feeling the pinch against a backdrop of cost of living pressures and high inflation.

“Indexation is a pillar of our social security system and we want more money in the pockets of everyday Australians so they can better afford essentials,” she said.

“The increase is an important part of the system and helps those doing it toughest.”

Single parents receiving the parenting payment will also be boosted by $33.90 a fortnight, with the rate increasing to $967.90.

Adult rates of payments are indexed twice a year to ensure they keep up with cost of living hikes.

They will next be indexed in September.


Tess Ikonomou
(Australian Associated Press)


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