Centrelink payments will increase modestly for more than 5 million Australians from next week in order to keep up with the rising costs of living.
From 20 September, singles with no children who receive the JobSeeker Payment will see payments rise by $8.70 to receive $629.50 a fortnight.
Meanwhile, couples will receive an extra $7.90 per fortnight each, with payments rising from $565.40 to $573.30.
Those on the Age Pension, Carer Payment or Disability Support Pension will see a rise of $14.80 per fortnight to $967.50.
Couples on these pensions will see a rise of $11.20 each, and will see their payments come to a combined $1,458.60.
Rent Assistance payments have also increased marginally: those who are single with no children will see payments increase by $2 to $142.80. Those in couples who have three or more children will see Rent Assistance payments rise by $2.66 to $189.70.
The pay increases will impact some 5.3 million people on welfare payments, including nearly 1 million on JobSeeker, 756,000 on disability support pensions, and 2.58 million on the age pension.
Centrelink payment rates are adjusted twice a year, in March and September, in order to keep up with inflation, or the cost of living.
“This is putting money in the pockets of all Australians who rely on our social security system and, in particular, older Australians,” said Social Services Minister Anne Ruston.
More details on the new Centrelink rates are available on the Department of Social Services’ website on indexation rates.
Inflation, or the overall rise in prices, has outpaced wages growth for several years, well before the pandemic.
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Ruston added that the pension increases took into account certain cost pressures like healthcare.
“We are ensuring pensioners maintain their purchasing power in the economy, which is bouncing back strongly,” she said.
Council on the Ageing (COTA) chief executive Ian Yates said the pension increases were “very welcome” and “underline the strength of the pension indexation arrangements”, the Daily Telegraph reported.
He added that retirees often paid for living costs with a blend of money from their nest egg and the pension.
“People living just on the pension always do it tough – this is a very modest standard of living,” he said.
“Pensioners who are struggling the most are those in the private rental market, and that has got worse during the pandemic.”