About one million Australians will receive a cash boost of up to $804 a year, after the government announced cuts to official deeming rates, which is used to estimate how much a pensioner earns on their financial assets.
More than 630,000 pensioners and nearly 350,000 receiving other income-tested payments are expected to benefit from these cuts.
Ms Ruston said the deeming rate on first $51,800 of a single pensioner’s financial investments – and the first $86,200 of a couple’s – will fall from 1.75 per cent to 1 per cent.
Meanwhile, the deeming rate for balances above those amounts will drop from 3.25 per cent to 3 per cent.
Ms Ruston said affected pensioners will receive up to $1,053 extra a year for couples and $804 for singles. In other words, under the changes, couples could be getting up to $40.50 more per fortnight and singles could be getting up to $31 more.
“It will mean more money in the pockets of older Australians,” Ms Ruston said in a statement on Sunday.
“The decision shows the Morrison government has listened to and acted on the concerns expressed by older Australians who receive a part pension.”
The payments will begin from the end of September, but will be backdated to 1 July.
The move is expected to cost the government about $600 million over four years, and will also impact people on the Disability Support Pension, Carer Payment and Newstart.
But deputy opposition leader Richard Marles challenged the cut to deeming rates, calling it “far too little, far too late” for older Australians.
“I think pensioners today can feel like this decision is a slap in their face. This is a government which is attempting to balance its books on the backs of pensioners and it’s simply not good enough,” Mr Marles said.
About 75 per cent of aged pensioners will not be affected by the cut to deeming rates.
Katherine O’Chee / email@example.com
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