20 September will see the usual indexation to pensions together with reforms to Job Seeker and Rent Assistance. The changes to Job Seeker and Rent Assistance are a result of measures announced in to 2023-24 Federal Budget which include:
- a $40 per fortnight increase in the rate of JobSeeker Payment and other working-age payments
- allowing long-term, single JobSeeker Payment recipients aged 55+ to access the higher rate currently paid to those aged 60+
- a 15% increase in the maximum rate of Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA)
- co-funding new state and territory government energy rebates for social security recipients and concession card holders.
Let’s look at what’s changing.
The rate of Age Pension payments is increasing
Singles will see the maximum payment increase from $1,064 per fortnight to $1,096.70 per fortnight while coupleswill see the maximum payment increase from $1,604 to $1,653.40 per fortnight (combined). Couples separated by illness, such as those living in aged care, will have a maximum payment of $2,193.40 per fortnight.
The increases to the Age Pension rates will in turn affect how much people can have in Assets and Income.
Singles will be able to earn an extra $65.40 per fortnight before their pension payment is cut off at $2,397.40 per fortnight. Couples will able to earn up to $98.80 per fortnight more before their pension payment is cut off at $3,666.80 per fortnight. These amounts exclude the work bonus.
The amount of assets you can have before you lose your pension has also increased.
Single Homeowners can have up to $667,500 (an extra $11,000) while couple homeowners can have up to $1,003,000 (an extra $16,500) outside their home before they lose their pension.
The asset cut off points have increased by the same amount for non-homeowners with single non-homeowners able to have up to $909,500 and couple non homeowners $1,245,000
Couples who are separated by illness will see an increase of $22,000 to the asset cut off points, meaning homeowners can have up to $1,138,500 and non-homeowners $1,380,500.
Changes to JobSeeker payments will see singles over 55 who have been receiving an eligible income support payment for at least 9 months able to claim up to $802.50 per fortnight
Currently the maximum payment for singles under 60 is $693.10 per fortnight, while people over 60 who have been claiming income support for at least 9 continuous months can currently claim $745.20 per fortnight.
The income limit for single JobSeekers over 55 who have been claiming income support for 9 continuous months will be $1,532 per fortnight. Under the assets test single homeowners can have up to $301,750 in assets outside their home and non homeowners can have up to $543,750
The 15% increase to Rent Assistance in addition to the regular indexation means that the maximum payment of rent assistance will increase from $157.20 to $184.80 per fortnight for singles and from $148.00 to $174 per fortnightfor couples (combined).
Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
Commonwealth Seniors Health Card income limits will also increase, for singles the limit will increase from $90,000p.a to $95,400p.a and for couples it will increase from $144,000 to $152,640p.a (combined).
Rachel Lane is the author of Downsizing Made Simple and creator of the Village Guru Software www.villageguru.com.au