THE Mid-North Coast economy will receive a $7.5 million boost from today through increased pensions for the Lyne electorate’s 33,900 eligible seniors.
“Of the nation’s 150 electorates, Lyne will receive more than any other electorate with these changes starting today,” Independent Lyne MP Rob Oakeshott said.
“The increased payments will help many seniors and, in turn, help our community.
“I am very aware that for all the success of the broader Australian economy with unemployment, the cash rate and inflation all under 5 per cent for the first time since the 1970s, there are also many households facing challenges in what are difficult economic times around the world.
“Pensioners are among the most vulnerable because they have the least flexible household budgets and are understandably most challenged by a more flexible economy.
“The increases in pension rates are an acknowledgement of this challenge.
“We live in a country proudly defined as a welfare capitalist country, where those doing well pay taxes so no-one is left too far behind.
“This is known as the Australian safety-net. And, until now , has been a welcome bi-partisan safety-net, and a core part of the Australian character.
“I hope that bi-partison support continues,” Mr Oakeshott said.
The advance payments from today include $250 for single pensioners and $380 for couples. The lump sum to pensioners will be greater than the forecast impacts of carbon pricing on living expenses.
From March next year single pensioners will receive an extra $338 a year and couples about $510, a buffer of more than 20 per cent against the expected impact of the carbon price.
Also receiving compensation, providing they meet eligibility requirements, are other income support recipients, self-funded retirees, Family Tax Benefit recipients, veterans and students.
The full list of eligible households and payment timeframe and schedule is available online at www.humanservices.gov.au, then go to Household Assistance Package, or phone 132 300.
Mr Oakeshott also took the opportunity to remind self-funded retirees to update their details with Centrelink if they did not want to miss out on the compensation package.
Eligible self-funded retirees will receive their payment from June 25, along with the quarterly seniors supplement. However, Mr Oakeshott said, there were still a significant number of self-funded retirees who had not provided their bank account details to Centrelink and risked missing out on receiving the payment.
The increases are in addition to the pension rises that came in to effect from March 20, 2012.