Will this happen?
In an announcement that would help 500,000 older Australians retire earlier, the Greens want to move the Age Pension eligibility age back down to 65.
And increase the benefits by 25%.
The announcement was made by Greens Welfare spokesperson Janet Rice, just before the election date of May 21 was confirmed on Sunday.
The Greens have announced this policy as one of the deals they intend to demand if a minority government is elected.
In a press release sharing detail of the policy, Greens leader Adam Bandt claimed it would lower the retirement age for half a million people.
But as we have recently noted, ‘retirement age’ is really your own decision. The change the Greens are proposing is more accurately understood as earlier access to the Age Pension. Currently eligibility is restricted to those aged 66.5 or older. The Greens believe many in the 65 to 66.5 age bracket are disadvantaged.
Senator Janet Rice, spokesperson for family, ageing and community services noted,
‘Thousands of older working people are living pay cheque to pay cheque and can’t afford to retire. Many are working for starvation wages, in back-breaking jobs – in manufacturing, in hospitality, in supermarkets, as labourers and salespeople – people who have worked hard all their lives and are being forced to wait an extra two years to retire.’
The planned increase to the rate of the Age Pension would be part of a wider increase to all income support payments, lifting them to a minimum of $88 per day or $1232 per fortnight.
Including supplements, the maximum single Age Pension is currently $70.54 per day, or $987.60 per fortnight. This represents a hefty 25% increase to the base rate.
Is this really likely to happen?
Currently the Greens hold just one seat in the lower house, where government is formed. They are specifically targeting 10 in the coming election. It is anybody’s guess as to the May 21 election outcome, but there is a real possibility of a minority Liberal NP or Labor minority government with the balance of power in the hands of independent and Greens MPs.
This means the Greens may well have significant bargaining power with any incoming government dependent upon their support.
What do you think?
Is a 25% increase too much?
Should Age Pension eligibility age be reduced to 65?
Is this fair to those who have already waited the (current) extra 18 months?
Knowledge is power
What is your status when it comes to Age Pension eligibility? The sliding scale of age can be confusing, depending upon your year of birth. If you are unsure as to your own entitlements, you can use our handy Age Pension Entitlement Calculator to get an answer in minutes.
Our free calculator has all the latest rates and thresholds and will help you work out what you could be entitled to receive.