Seniors call for $250k pension means test exemption for home sales

Advocacy group National Seniors is calling for a $250,000 exemption from the Age Pension means test to encourage older people to downsize.

The group is urging all political parties to adopt the policy position, ahead of the upcoming Federal Election

National Seniors Chief Advocate Ian Henschke said the exemption would encourage downsizing to more age-suitable and safe housing – increasing housing stock on the market, improving options for first home buyers.

“It would also help address the aged care crisis by freeing up funds for older Australians to delay moving into residential aged care, purchase the home care and health services they need, and avoid the some of the issues to be investigated by the Aged Care Royal Commission,” Mr Henschke said. Read more...

Superannuation and age pension reforms are working, says ASFA

The Government’s changes to superannuation and the age pension are working, but what the system needs now is stability, says the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA).

According to ASFA data shows that super and pension changes have had a “substantial and positive impact” by reducing government expenditure and increasing tax revenue.

“The Age Pension assets test changes that took effect from 1 January 2017 are helping contain future growth in Age Pension expenditures,” said ASFA CEO Dr Martin Fahy. Read more...

Age pension asset test taper change discouraging saving for retirement

Changes to the age pension asset test rules, in place for over a year now, are actively discouraging middle-income wage earnings from saving for retirement, according to the SMSF Association.

SMSF Association CEO John Maroney said the changes to the age pension means test taper rate and threshold – which started on 1 January 2017 – have had “significantly adverse and presumably unintended consequences”.

“The Association supports appropriately targeted means testing to ensure the sustainability of the age pension, but our deep concern is that this measure is not appropriately integrated with the broader retirement income system,” he said. Read more...

Pensioners in for a shock when “harsh” pension cuts take effect: ISA

Around 325,000 pensioners are in for a shock when “harsh” pension cuts take effect on 1 January 2017, says Industry Super Australia.

The changes, which were announced in the 2015 Budget, passed the Parliament in June 2015 after a deal between the Government and the Greens.

“The cuts will see the Age Pension taper rate double to $3 per fortnight and the upper thresholds of the assets test plummet to $542,500 (from $793,750) for singles, and $816,000 (from $1.1 million) for couples. These new limits are tighter than those first announced,” said Industry Super Australia (ISA). Read more...

Age pension 2nd on election priorities list for older Australians

age pension, retirement income system, COTA, election 2016Adequate age pensions ranks second on a list of top priorities for older Australians in the upcoming federal election.

“Thirty per cent of voters this election will be over 60 years of age, and half of those are over 70, which makes us an increasingly powerful voice politically,” said COTA CEO Ian Yates.

A survey by COTA found the top three issues for older Australians were access to quality health services, having adequate pensions and access the good quality health care.

“A recurring theme in our election consultations around retirement incomes is concern for the living standards of older people dependent solely on the Age Pension for income,” said COTA. Read more...

Changes to super needed to reduce cost of Age Pension: CIS

Cost of Age Pension, changes to superannuation, Centre for Independent Studies (CIS)Changes are needed to reduce the cost of the Age Pension, says the Centre for Independent Studies (CIS), including to superannuation.

The CIS says there has been a “marked growth in pension cost and cohort”, releasing the report the myths of the generational bargain.

According to the CIS, this growth has been driven by increasing life expectancy and the higher real value of age pension payments.

“These pension increases far outstrip wage growth, with pension costs as a percentage of wages at the highest level ever and having doubled over the past 45 years.” Read more...