In a recent announcement, pensioners are set to receive a boost to their payment rates this month to cover higher inflation. This includes an increase to the Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, Carer Payment and JobSeeker.
Starting on March 20, 2023, there will be a fortnightly increase of $37.50 for single individuals receiving the age pension, resulting in a new total of $1,064. For couples, the fortnightly increase will be $56.40, with the combined payment amounting to $1,604.60.
Under the existing scheme, pension adjustments take place twice a year in March and September to cover inflation arrears, but this can cause recipients to struggle with the financial burden of catching up when there is a significant inflation spike, which is certainly the case at the moment.
Although pensioners will likely be pleased with the current rise in payments, they might also be understandably concerned about the lack of another increase until September should inflation continue at its current pace. They will have to endure another six-month wait and then deal with the catch-up process once more. This pension increase has been prompted by a 7.8% inflation rate over the past six months, which has driven up the cost of living.
When it comes to pensioners who are grappling with meeting basic needs like food, fuel, and electricity, the frequency of payment increments is just as crucial as the amount. Perhaps it’s time to consider a quarterly increase instead.