Tight ship: South Lismore pensioner Nellie Brown is able to make ends meet by restricting her spending.
Tight ship: South Lismore pensioner Nellie Brown is able to make ends meet by restricting her spending. Jacklyn Wagner

Pensioners receive payment rise

NELLIE Brown, 75, of South Lismore, says life on the pension is not too bad.

Yesterday, Mrs Brown and four million other Australians on government payments received a rise.

The increase sees the fortnightly rate for single pensioners increase by $15 to $716.10, while couples will get $1079.60, an increase of $22.60.

However, with the cost of living on the rise, the increase over the long term would be meaningless, according to Mrs Brown.

“They give with one hand and take with the other,” she said.

Mrs Brown manages her tight budget by restricting spending.

She described her food budget, $100 a fortnight, as a ‘splurge’.

Pensioner Phyllis Arthur, of South Lismore, said the increase was welcome and she was grateful to the Government for it.

“I’m happy with it,” she said.

Mrs Arthur said because she owned her own home she was able to manage well on the pension.

“I don’t buy a lot, but if I want something nice, I buy it,” she said.

Mrs Arthur has been on government income support since 1957. She raised three children as a single mother.

She said government payments today were much more generous than 50 years ago.

However, not all the pensioners The Northern Star spoke to felt the increase was adequate.

One South Lismore man, who did not want to be named, described the pension rate as ‘disgusting’.

“You work all your life and this is what you get,” the man said.

South Lismore Lifeline store manager Jenny Railton said many of the volunteers at the store were senior citizens, and most were on a government pension.

“They don’t like to complain, but many are struggling,” she said.

“You can tell by the way they spend their money.

“I think it should be more generous.”

People eligible for the age pension, disability support pension (adult rate), carer payment, veteran income support payments, wife pension and bereavement allowance all saw an increase in their government allowance.

The parenting payment also increased by $10.60, to $611.90.

Newstart Allowance jumped by $6.90, to $469.70 for a single person aged over 21.

Rent assistance also increased.

The pension rise was due to an increase in the pensioner and beneficiary living cost index in the six months to June. The increased payments were accompanied by a rise in the income and assets cut-out amounts.



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