From Welfare to Bad

Article published 26 January 2018

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Changes Possible

What’s in store for pensioners if the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform) Bill 2017 passes the Senate?

THE VOICE informed readers about the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform) Bill 2017. The Bill is still before the Senate. There is a real prospect that the following will occur.

A new Jobseeker Payment would become the main working age social security payment. It would replace seven current working age payments.

From 20 March 2020, Newstart Allowance, Sickness Allowance, Wife Pension, Bereavement Allowance and Widow B Pension would cease and most recipients of these payments would transition to a Jobseeker Payment, Age Pension or Carer Payment, depending on their circumstances.

Switching those on a Wife Pension to a higher rate Jobseeker Payment would mean that recipients wouldn’t have their payment indexed until they reach Age Pension age. An estimated 200 recipients living overseas would have their payment cancelled altogether.

Current Wife Pension recipients who transition to a Jobseeker Payment would be required to look for a job.

The Widow Allowance and the Partner Allowance would cease from 1 January 2022 and all remaining recipients would transition to the Age Pension.
From 20 September 2018, all job seekers aged from 55 to 59 (approximately 40,000) would no longer be able to meet 30 hours of activity requirements through volunteering alone. They would need to go and look for jobs.

Job seekers aged from 60 to Age Pension age (approximately 45,000), who currently are not subject to activity requirements, would have to do ten hours per fortnight of activity requirements, which could be met through volunteering.

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