What's in the Budget for pensioners? $250 payments explained

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on October 07, 2020
What's in the Budget for pensioners? $250 payments explained

Those on the age pension might have been looking at the Budget through a microscope last night, as there were few direct handouts for grey nomads.

Looking for what's in the 2021-22 Budget? Check out our latest article: "'Big issues remain' for seniors in Federal Budget".

The Government will provide $2.6 billion in additional stimulus over the next three years, targeted at pensioners and the elderly.

The most direct is the series of two $250 payments, with the first made in December, and the second made in March 2021.

Those receiving the age pension, as well as disability carers, are eligible for the payments, and they work similarly to the $750 payments seen earlier this year.

Keep an eye out for the payments to start flowing through on these months, but note they may not appear in bank accounts for a few weeks - pensioners can check MyGov to make sure their details are correct.

There was no mention of JobSeeker in the Budget, however Treasurer Josh Frydenberg did say it would be under review at the end of the year.

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            In addition, $1.6 billion over the next four years has been put aside to introduce 23,000 additional home care packages, which enables older Australians to keep living at home.

            In his Budget speech, the Treasurer said that 99% of all those seeking in-home aged care now have access to "some form" of in-home support.

            Another measure includes a $28.3 million digital literacy program, spent over four years, with the aim of teaching digital skills for the older crowd.

            Some older Australians will also benefit from an increase in the Medicare levy low-income threshold, increasing from $35,418 to $36,056 for singles.

            Yea or nay on the Budget?

            Critics have been vocal about the lack of support for pensioners and marginalised groups in last night's Budget.

            The Brotherhood of St. Laurence's executive director Conny Lenneberg said groups can't be certain they won't return to the '$40-a-day' (old JobSeeker) rate they were on previously.

            "This Budget falls drastically short for Australians doing it tough,” she said.

            "Millions of people are not being looked after by this Budget."

            Mission Australia CEO James Toomey echoed these sentiments.

            "We welcome the two cash payments that were announced by the Government for aged, carer, family and disability welfare recipients, but this is not nearly enough to address the ongoing insecurity experienced by people relying on income support payments," he said.

            "The doubling of income support for people facing unemployment, from Newstart to the JobSeeker Payment with COVID Supplement, made an enormous difference to many Australians during the pandemic, including many that we serve."

            However, national chairman of accountancy network Pitcher Partners, John Brazzale, said the Budget was taking the path of "least resistance".

            “Bringing forward the tax cuts will act as a pay rise for many, taking the burden off businesses that will continue to face pressure on expenses,” he said.

            “But other groups are less fortunate. Self-funded retirees are notably absent from the Budget, and regional communities are likely to have hoped for more direct support.” 

            Previous measures also include the reduction in the minimum superannuation drawdown rates for account-based pensions by 50%, which National Seniors Australia chief advocate Ian Henschke said is not enough to alleviate financial stress on retirees.

            Removing the tax wheat from the chaff

            Under 'Stage 2' of the tax cuts brought forward, the 19c threshold will be raised from $37,000 to $45,000, and the 32.5c threshold will be lifted from $90,000 to $120,000.

            The Low and Middle-Income Tax Offsets (LMITO) will also be retained for another year.

            The Treasurer said lower-income earners will be better off by up to $2,745, for single incomes, this year.

            However, this is a rolled-up figure including both the LMITO and tax refund, and only applies to the 2020-21 financial year.

            Those earning between $50,000 and $90,000 per year won't see any additional benefits after this financial year, unless 'Stage 3' is brought forward (details below).

            Photo by Esther Ann on Unsplash

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            Harrison is Savings.com.au's Assistant Editor. Prior to joining Savings in January 2020, he worked for some of Australia's largest comparison sites and media organisations. With a keen interest in the economy, housing policy, and personal finance, Harrison strives to deliver and edit news and guides that are engaging, thought-provoking, and simple to read.


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