Seniors Supplement is poorly targeted to people who don’t need extra support

The Australian Council of Social Service today urged the Federal Parliament to support the budget proposal to abolish the Seniors Supplement, which is poorly targeted to people who do not need additional support from the Government.

“At a time when we need to be restoring revenue and better targeting expenditure, in part to fund the needs of an ageing population, this supplement represents an unjustified excess,” said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.

“The Seniors Supplement is available to those who are not eligible for the Aged Pension because they are in a much better financial position than most.”

It extends to older people with assets in excess of $1 million apart from the family home. By excluding superannuation income from the income test for existing recipients, it also extends to people with significant superannuation incomes.

“A couple could have a million dollars in a superannuation fund paying them an income of $100k a year in addition to significant assets and still receive the supplement.”

“ACOSS strongly supports the need for an adequate safety net system to ensure that everyone is supported when they fall into hard times. However, this supplement cannot be justified on those grounds.

The supplement entitles people to $858 each year for singles and $1,295 for couples.

“Abolishing the Senior’s Supplement would not affect people entitled to the Age Pension, who are the vast majority of retirees, since they are not eligible. They would still qualify for the Pension Supplement.

“We think the fairest approach is to restrict supplements to those entitled to receive an Age or Veterans Pension. These are the people who need a supplement the most,” Dr Goldie said.

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