INCREASES in the age pension yesterday would struggle to keep pace with rises in the cost of living, Warrnambool Combined Pensioners Association president Charles Rivett says.
Mr Rivett said the increases would help but most people who relied on their pension would find it difficult, especially if they were renting.
Mr Rivett said his association had supported a state-wide petition to the former Labor federal government for higher pension increases but the only response had been “letters”.
The new Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews said the indexation increase of $18.70 a fortnight for single pensioners and $28 a fortnight for couples was a significant boost to the pension.
Mr Andrews said the increases should ease concern by Australian seniors about their cost of living.
The increases apply to people receiving the age pension, disability support pension and carer payment, as well as veterans’ income support recipients.
About 3.5 million Australian pensioners will receive the increases, including 2.3 million age pensioners.
The pension is increased twice a year to reflect growth in the Consumer Price Index or the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index, whichever is higher.
The rate is also benchmarked to male total average weekly earnings to help the pension keep pace with improvements in Australia’s living standards.
The pension increase this month is driven by higher wages growth.
Around one million allowance recipients will also benefit from increases to income support payments such as Newstart and Parenting Payment.