Forman Financial Services

Federal Budget Briefing Paper – Social Security

Pensioner Concession Card Reinstatement

Effective 1 July 2017

Pensioners who lost entitlement to their Pensioner Concession Card due to the assets test changes on 1 January 2017 will have their card reinstated.

The Pensioner Concession Card will be reinstated to about 92,300 former pension recipients and will provide access to discounts and concessions offered by states, territories and private providers.

The card will be automatically reissued over time with an ongoing income and assets test exemption.

Increasing Pension Residence Requirements

Effective 1 July 2018

Residence requirements for Age Pension and Disability Support Pension are increasing.

Currently, to qualify for a pension, a client must have at least 10 years residence in Australia with at least five years of those years continuous residence.

Under the changes, a person will be required to have at least 15 years residence in Australia unless they have either:

  • 10 years continuous Australian residence, with five years during their working life (16 years of age to Age Pension age), or
  • 10 years continuous residence and not have been in receipt of an activity tested income support payment for cumulative periods greater than five years.

Existing exemptions to residency requirements will be maintained for Humanitarian entrants and for those whose inability to work happened while they were an Australian resident.

Working Age Payment

Effective 20 March 2020

A new Jobseeker Payment will replace seven current working age payments from 20 March 2020.

The Jobseeker Payment will replace Newstart Allowance, Sickness Allowance, Wife Pension, Partner Allowance, Bereavement Allowance, Widow B Pension and Widow Allowance.

New Mutual Obligations

Effective 20 September 2018

Job seekers and parents who receive working age income support will have increased activity test requirements from 20 September 2018.

The new activity test requirements are:

  • Age 30 to 49: 50 hours per fortnight (increased from 30 hours per fortnight).
  • Age 55 to 59: current 30 hours per fortnight activity test requirement will no longer be able to be met through volunteer work alone. Instead, recipients will only be able to meet half (15 hours) of the annual activity requirement of 30 hours per fortnight through volunteering.
  • Age 60 to Age Pension Age: currently there is no activity test requirement. From 20 September 2018, the requirement will be 10 hours per fortnight which can be met with volunteering.

Liquid Assets Waiting Period Increased

Effective 20 September 2018

The maximum length of the Liquid Assets Waiting Period will increase from 13 weeks to 26 weeks.

Single clients (without dependants) with liquid assets exceeding $18,000 or couples with liquid assets exceeding $36,000 will serve the maximum waiting period of 26 weeks.

Energy Assistance Payment

Effective 20 June 2017

A one-off Energy Assistance Payment of $75 for single recipients and $125 per couple will be paid to those eligible for qualifying payments on 20 June 2017.

Qualifying payments include the Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, Parenting Payment Single, the Veterans’ Service Pension and the Veterans’ Income Support Supplement, Veterans’ disability payments, War Widow(er)s Pension, and permanent impairment payments under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (including dependent partners) and the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988.

Family Tax Benefit

Effective 1 July 2017

As previously announced, Family Tax Benefit (FTB) rates will not be indexed for two years from 1 July 2017. This applies to the standard, base rate and approved care organisation rate of FTB Part A and the maximum rate of FTB Part B.

Child Care Subsidy

Effective 1 July 2018

A new upper income threshold will apply to child care subsidy.

From 1 July 2018, families with income above $350,000pa will not be eligible for child care subsidy.

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