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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2002  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/01/2002   
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Contents >> Income and Welfare >> FaCS - Payments for the retired

Age Pension

The Age Pension (AP) is a safety net for people who are not able to fully provide financially for themselves in retirement. It is payable to men who are aged 65 years or over, and women who are aged 62 years or over, and who meet Australian residency qualifications. The minimum Age Pension age for women was raised from 61 and 6 months to 62 years on 1 July 2001. The minimum age for women will continue to increase by six months at two year intervals until 1 July 2013, when it will be 65 years. The number of age pensioners at June for the years 1998 to 2001 is shown in table 7.17.

From 1 July 2001, the single basic rate of the Age Pension was $402.00 per fortnight, and the basic partnered rate was $335.50 per fortnight (each).

The Wife Pension (Age) provides an income for a woman below Age Pension age who is the partner of an age pensioner, and who is not receiving any other payment in her own right. This payment is gradually being phased out, with new grants of Wife Pension ceasing after 30 June 1995. However, women already receiving Wife Pension (or who had lodged claims and were entitled to the pension) at that date will continue to receive this payment.


Pension Bonus Scheme

The Pension Bonus Scheme, introduced on 1 July 1998, provides an incentive for older Australians to remain in the workforce and defer claiming the Age Pension. The scheme is voluntary and provides a tax-free lump sum to people who have participated in the scheme, when they eventually claim the Age Pension. People must be gainfully employed for at least one year after registering in the scheme to be eligible for the bonus. The Department of Veterans' Affairs runs a similar scheme.


Widow Class ‘B’ Pension

Widow B Pension is paid to women below Age Pension age who have lost the financial support of a male partner (through death, separation or divorce), and who do not qualify for Parenting Payment.

No new Widow B Pensions were granted after 20 March 1997. The payment will be gradually phased out by 2005 when women in the eligible age group for Widow B Pension will have reached Age Pension age and have been transferred to the Age Pension.


7.17 RECIPIENTS OF AGE PENSION

Units
June 1998
June 1999
June 2000
June 2001

Age group (years)
60-64
no.
187,256
189,410
169,240
173,828
65-69
no.
479,884
478,856
477,118
482,298
70-74
no.
388,474
414,302
436,900
459,226
75 and over
no.
627,003
633,224
646,602
670,202
Males
no.
613,587
634,112
654,557
684,219
Females
no.
1,069,030
1,081,680
1,075,303
1,101,335
Persons
no.
1,682,617
1,715,792
1,729,860
1,785,554
Wife Pension (Age)
no.
36,233
32,196
31,406
26,476
Total payments in financial year ending 30 June(a)(b)
$’000
13,396,647
13,812,488
14,394,469
15,849,422

(a) Expenditures prior to 1998-99 were recorded on a cash payments basis and are not directly comparable with expenditures recorded from 1998-99 onwards that are on an accrual basis.
(b) Includes allowances, Rent Assistance, and Wife Pension (Age), and Age Pension paid by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, where applicable.

Source: Department of Family and Community Services.



Disability Support Pension

Disability Support Pension (DSP) is the main form of income support available to people with a disability. It is paid to people aged 16 years or over who are permanently blind or have another significant physical, intellectual or psychiatric impairment, and are assessed as being unable either to do any work for at least 30 hours a week at full award wages, or to be retrained for any work for at least two years. For the purposes of DSP, impairment is assessed on the severity of the condition and its impact on normal function in relation to work performance. Table 7.18 shows the number of recipients of DSP at June for the years 1998 to 2001.

DSP for people aged 21 years and over is paid at the same rate as the Age Pension and is subject to the same income and assets tests, except for permanently blind recipients, who are not subject to either the income or assets test. Youth rates apply to those aged under 21 years. These are largely tied to Youth Allowance rates, but include a supplement of $82.00 per fortnight. Youth rates are not subject to parental income or assets tests. A Pharmaceutical Allowance of $5.80 per fortnight (single or couple combined) is also paid to people receiving DSP.

Disability Support pensioners and other people with disabilities can access rehabilitation, training, labour market programs or labour force re-entry assistance. Job seekers are assessed by Centrelink to determine if they are eligible for Commonwealth employment assistance from either a disability employment service, the Commonwealth Rehabilitation Service (CRS) Australia, or through the Job Network. A job seeker does not have to be receiving a Disability Support Pension to be eligible to receive assistance from a disability employment service or CRS Australia. Eligibility is not based on receipt of income support payments, but on a person's barriers to employment resulting from a disability.

The Wife Pension (DSP) provides an income for a woman who is a partner of a DSP recipient, is aged below Age Pension age and is not receiving any other payment in her own right. This payment is gradually being phased out, with new grants of Wife Pension ceasing after 30 June 1995. However, women already receiving Wife Pension (or who had lodged claims and were entitled to the pension) at that date will continue to receive this payment.


7.18 RECIPIENTS OF DISABILITY SUPPORT PENSION

Units
June 1998
June 1999
June 2000
June 2001

Age group (years)
16-19
no.
13,178
14,126
15,025
15,393
20-39
no.
124,712
129,600
133,509
137,769
40-59
no.
311,398
326,987
339,283
352,488
60 and over
no.
104,048
106,969
114,576
118,276
Males
no.
361,539
373,340
382,412
392,354
Females
no.
191,797
204,342
219,981
231,572
Persons
no.
553,336
577,682
602,393
623,926
Wife Pension (DSP)
no.
79,892
68,523
59,935
51,225
Total payments for financial year ending 30 June(a)
$’000
5,198,588
5,454,292
5,732,446
6,303,773

(a) Expenditures prior to 1998-99 were recorded on a cash payments basis and are not directly comparable with expenditures recorded from 1998-99 onwards that are on an accrual basis.

Source: Department of Family and Community Services.


Mobility Allowance

Mobility Allowance may be paid to people with a disability aged 16 years or over who are permanently, or for an extended period, unable to use public transport without substantial assistance. The person must be:

  • engaged in paid work, vocational training or a combination of both for at least 8 hours a week;
  • undertaking voluntary work for a community, charitable or welfare organisation for at least 8 hours a week; or
  • receiving Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance or Austudy payment.

From 1 January 2001, the rate of Mobility Allowance was $61.90 per fortnight. The payment is indexed annually in line with Consumer Price Index movements. A lump sum advance equivalent to six months allowance may be paid once a year.

Payment of Mobility Allowance is not subject to any income or assets test, but cannot be paid to a person who has received a sales tax exemption on a motor vehicle within the previous two years.


Carer Payment

Carer Payment is an income support payment available to people who are providing constant care or supervision to a person with a disability, medical condition or who is frail aged. The carer must personally provide this level of care or supervision in the private home of the care recipient, but is not required to live with the care recipient. The rate of Carer Payment is the same as for Age Pension.

From 1 July 1998, eligibility for Carer Payment was extended to carers of children under 16 years of age with profound disabilities. The eligibility criteria for this payment focus on the high level of care provided by parents and other carers to maintain comfort, sustain life, or attend to a bodily function that the child with a profound disability cannot manage alone. Table 7.19 shows the number of Carer Payment recipients at June for the years 1998 to 2001.


7.19 RECIPIENTS OF CARER PAYMENT

Units
June 1998
June 1999
June 2000
June 2001

Type
Carer Payment (Age)
no.
11,740
13,407
15,346
18,097
Carer Payment (DSP)
no.
18,556
21,392
24,500
28,171
Carer Payment (Other)
no.
3,683
5,271
7,704
10,922
Total
no.
33,979
40,070
47,550
57,190
Total payments in financial year ending 30 June(a)
$'000
258,474
313,883
368,046
478,267

(a) Expenditures prior to 1998-99 were recorded on a cash payments basis and are not directly comparable with expenditures recorded from 1998-99 onwards that are on an accrual basis.

Source: Department of Family and Community Services.


Sickness Allowance

Sickness Allowance is paid to people aged at least 21 years (students in receipt of Austudy must be aged at least 25 years to access Sickness Allowance), but below Age Pension age, who are temporarily unable to work or continue with their full-time studies due to illness or injury. To be eligible, the person must have a job or study to which they can return. People who become temporarily incapacitated without a job or study to return to may receive Newstart Allowance.

From 1 July 2001 the basic single rate of Sickness Allowance was $357.80 per fortnight, and the basic partnered rate was $322.80 per fortnight for each partner. A Pharmaceutical Allowance of $5.80 per fortnight (single or couple combined) is payable to Sickness Allowance recipients.


Carer Allowance

Carer Allowance (CA) is a supplementary payment made to a carer in recognition of the impact that a person’s disability has on his or her family and/or carers. It was introduced on 1 July 1999, combining Child Disability Allowance (CDA) with Domiciliary Nursing Care Benefit, which was previously the responsibility of the Department of Health and Aged Care. The rate of CA at 1 July 2001 was $82.00 per fortnight. CA is not subject to an income or assets test and is not taxable.

To qualify for CA a claimant must be providing daily care and attention to a person with a disability medical condition, or who is frail aged. The disability or medical condition must be permanent or likely to continue for an extended period. The care must be provided in a private home that is the residence of both the claimant and the person(s) cared for. Qualification may be maintained during periods of hospitalisation, during respite or where the carer and the care recipient are travelling overseas together.

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