Payment boost for one key group
Older Australians on the age pension will reportedly get a payment boost within weeks but those relying on unemployed benefits won't learn if they will get a permanent increase to their payments for months.
More than 1.6 million people on JobSeeker payments will likely have to wait until closer to Christmas to find out if the Morrison Government will extend the coronavirus supplement into next year.
To deal with the pandemic, Morrison Government boosted the base fortnightly unemployment benefit of about $560 with a $550 fortnightly supplement this year but this is due to end on September 24. After this time a reduced supplement of $250 a fortnight will be paid until December.
Many were hoping the government would reveal in the October Budget whether it would increase the rate of the unemployment benefit permanently, providing certainty about payments next year, however, this now seems unlikely.
While Social Services Minister Anne Ruston told the Sydney Morning Herald that it was "highly likely" the coronavirus supplement will be extended, the government is expected to hold off making a decision until closer to Christmas.
Senator Rushton did reveal the October Budget would include a boost to the age pension. This could be in the form of a one-off payment or ongoing increase, although this has not been confirmed.
Council on the Ageing (COTA) Australia has urged the Morrison Government to provide an extra $750 stimulus payment to pensioners after it was revealed that lower costs of living meant pension payments would not rise in September because the indexation rate was falling.
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However, COTA has pointed out that pensioners were covering increased costs because of the coronavirus, due to a reduced number of "specials" or "discounts" to the ticket price for many food items, as well as extra costs of home delivery.
"While the CPI (consumer price index) has gone down because of the impact of items like childcare this does not help age pensioners," COTA chief executive Ian Yates said.
"There are range of other pressures on low income people in this pandemic, such as transport costs when it's not safe to travel on public transport. Pensioners live very close to the poverty line, and in private rental, below it.
"And while the two previous $750 payments have been very welcome, pensioners have ended up with less income in this period than people on the increased level of JobSeeker.
"Accordingly, we urge the Government to provide an additional $750 stimulus payment as part of your economic stimulus measures, for the benefit of both pensioners and the economy."
Originally published as Payment boost for one key group