In short, the Government is introducing changes to social security along the lines of their “fairness” theme. The Pensioner Concession Card is being reinstated for many but there will also be tightening of eligibility criteria for various payments.
Pensioner concession card reinstatement
Pensioners who lost their Pensioner Concession Card due to the assets test changes on 1 January 2017 will have their card reinstated providing them, once again, with access to discounts and concessions offered by states, territories and private providers. This becomes effective 1 July 2017.
Increased pension residence requirements
The residency requirements for receiving the Age Pension and Disability Support Pension are increasing. As from 1 July 2018 a person will be required to have at least 15 years residence in Australia unless they have either:
10 years continuous residence with 5 years during their working life
10 years continuous residence and not have been in receipt of an activity tested income support payment.
Working age payment
A new Jobseeker Payment will replace seven current working age payments as from 20 March 2020. The payments to be replaced are the Newstart Allowance, Sickness Allowance, Wife Pension, Partner Allowance, Bereavement Allowance, Widow B Pension and Widow Allowance.
New mutual obligations
Job seekers and parents who receive working age income support will have increased activity test requirements as from 20 September 2018 such as:
Age 30 to 49: 50 hours per fortnight
Age 55 to 59: Currently 30 hours per fortnight of volunteering count, the change will mean that only 15 volunteering hours of the 30 hours required will count towards the activity test requirement.
Age 60 to pension age: 10 hours per fortnight which can be met through volunteering.
Energy Assistance payment
A one-off Energy Assistance payment of $75 for single recipients and $125 per couple will be paid to those eligible for qualifying payments on 20 June 2017.
Child care subsidy
As from 1 July 2018, families with income above $350,000pa will not be eligible for child care subsidy.
Follow the links to read about the sections that are relevant to you and if you have any queries about the impact of these announcements then please don’t hesitate to contact us.