Lots of Social Security changes have been proposed in Budget 2017. Here’s a highlights list of some of these. Please note that these are not yet enshrined in law.
Reinstating the Pensioner Concession Card
- This will be reinstated for pensioners who lost their pension following changes to the pension asset test on 1 January 2017.
- Those granted the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) as a result of the
- January changes will maintain entitlement to this card (and the energy supplement).
- The Low Income Health Care Card issued as a result of the January changes will be deactivated.
One-off energy assistance payment
- $75 for single and $125 per couple for qualifying pensions on 20 June 2017.
Family Tax Benefit Part A
- Changes to the income test for the Family Tax Benefit Part A payments may reduce entitlements. We need to identify and manage the impact of these changes.
Liquid assets waiting period
- The maximum waiting period for payments will increase from 13 weeks to 26 weeks and apply
where liquid assets are equal to or above $18,000 for singles (formerly $11,500) without
dependants or $36,000 (formerly $23,000) for couples and singles with dependants.
- It’s important to seek advice early (before termination) to see if we can lessen the impact of these changes. If you are affected, we need to manage cash flow during this period.
Activity tests other than voluntary work may be required to receive Newstart allowances for people aged between 55 and 59.
Former Farm Household Allowance
Recipients who do not receive any other Commonwealth income support will be eligible for loans of up to 50% to refinance their debt to a maximum of $1 million.
Residency test changes
To be eligible for the Age Pension or Disability Support Pension, some claimants will need 15 years of continuous Australian residence (up from 10 years). Generally this won’t affect existing recipients.
Consolidation of payments
- Seven working-age payments and allowances, including NewStart, will be consolidated into one payment called a JobSeeker payment.
- Key elements include aligning the participation requirements for recipients aged 30 to 49 with those for recipients under 30, and recipients aged 55 to 59 will only be able to meet up to half of their participation requirements through volunteering.
- Recipients aged between 60 and Age Pension age will have a new activity requirement of 10 hours per fortnight that can be met through volunteering.