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Pension rise for five million Aussies

Seal Media Group, Australia

From next week, the maximum single age pension rate will rise by $14.80 to $967.50 a fortnight, while age pensioner couples will receive an extra $22.40 combined, taking their fortnightly payment to $1458.60. JobSeeker and other allowances will increase by up to $11.90 a fortnight, and parenting payments and rent assistance are also set to rise.Pensions and other payments are adjusted twice a year and the coming rise, which takes effect from September 20, is the largest increase since 2014, the government says.The $1.46 billion annual rise reflects stronger inflation data, which has rebounded after dropping sharply during the early months of the pandemic. Almost 5.3 million people will receive the increased social security payments, including 2.58 million on the age pension, 756,000 on a disability support pension, and 977,500 receiving JobSeeker payments.Social Services Minister Anne Ruston said the formula for increasing pensions considered specific cost pressures such as healthcare more than things like childcare.“We are ensuring pensioners maintain their purchasing power in the economy, which is bouncing back strongly,” she said.“This change puts money in the pockets of all Australians who rely on our social security system and, in particular, older Australians.“Since March 2013, the rate for single pensioners has increased by $159.10 a fortnight, while the rate for pensioner couples combined has increased by $239.80 a fortnight.”The annual pension paid to a single will be $25,155, and for a couple it’s $37,923.Pensions are rising by 1.6 per cent, while JobSeeker and related payments are linked to the Consumer Price Index and will climb by 1.4 per cent.Seniors organisation COTA Australia’s chief executive, Ian Yates, praised the way pension rises were indexed to whatever figure was higher among inflation, pensioner living costs and average weekly earnings.“The increase will be very welcome and it underlines the strength of the pension indexation arrangements,” he said.Many retirees funded their living costs with a mixture of superannuation and a part pension, Mr Yates said.“People living just on the pension always do it tough – this is a very modest standard of living,” he said.“Pensioners who are struggling the most are those in the private rental market, and that has got worse during the pandemic.”

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