The start of the 2023-24 financial year on 1st July brings a wave of positive changes that will significantly impact the lives of older Australians, including retirees and those still in the workforce. These changes encompass various aspects, such as the Age Pension, superannuation contributions, energy bill rebates, and improvements in aged care. Let’s explore these changes and how they will benefit older Australians.
Age Pension Enhancements
The Age Pension undergoes several modifications, particularly in the assets and income tests, as well as the standardisation of the pension age. Over the past decade, the pension age has gradually increased to 67, and individuals can now apply for the Age Pension three months before turning 67. Initiating the application process early is advisable to ensure a smooth transition.
Moreover, employed seniors will experience an increase in employer superannuation contributions from 10.5% to 11% starting from 1st July. This contribution boost aims to provide retirees a more secure financial future and augment their retirement savings.
Significant incentives exist for seniors who wish to continue working past the pension age. For example, the standard work bonus has been raised from $7,800 to $11,800 for the rest of the calendar year, encouraging seniors to work more and reap the benefits.
Furthermore, part-pensioner couples can expect a maximum increase of $100 per fortnight in their pension, while singles will receive an additional $65 per fortnight if they fall under the assets test. These changes mean that individuals who previously did not qualify for the age pension due to their assets or income may now be eligible, and some self-funded retirees close to the asset test cut-off may now qualify for a pension.
Let’s examine the new asset test thresholds. Single homeowners can have up to $301,750 in assets (an increase of $21,750), while single non-homeowners can possess $543,000 (an increase of $39,250) before their full pension payment is reduced. The new asset threshold for couples who own a home is $451,500 (up $32,500); for non-homeowner couples, it’s $693,500 (up $50,000) before their full pension is affected.
The disqualifying income threshold, which signifies the point at which pension payments cease, is $2,332 per fortnight for singles and $3,568 per fortnight for couples. This translates to $60,632 per annum for a single person and $92,768 for a couple. The disqualifying asset threshold is $656,500 and $898,500 for single homeowners and non-homeowners, respectively. For couple homeowners and non-homeowners, the thresholds are $986,500 and $1,228,500.
These adjustments for inflation have significantly increased eligibility levels. Consequently, thousands of Australians who previously did not qualify for the age pension due to their assets or income may now be eligible, and those receiving a part pension may now receive a full pension.
Energy Bill Relief
In addition to the changes in the Age Pension, the new financial year brings substantial relief for older Australians through energy bill rebates. NSW, Queensland, South Australia, and Tasmania residents can receive $500 per eligible household, providing a much-needed respite from the burden of high energy costs.
These energy bill rebates aim to alleviate the financial strain on older Australians and promote greater affordability and accessibility to essential utilities.
Aged Care Improvements
One of the significant changes taking effect at the start of the new financial year is the requirement for residential aged care homes across Australia to have a registered nurse on-site and on duty 24/7 unless they have been granted a 12-month exemption. This enhancement ensures that older Australians in aged care facilities receive round-the-clock professional medical care, leading to improved health outcomes and enhanced overall well-being.
Additionally, the aged care sector will witness a 15% wage increase for some aged care workers, making it a more attractive profession and helping to attract and retain qualified and skilled professionals. This wage increase can motivate workers to stay in their jobs, resulting in better quality care for older Australians who rely on aged care services. Ultimately, this can improve health outcomes, increase dignity, and enhance overall well-being for older people receiving aged care.
A Better Outcome
The new financial year brings positive changes that will significantly benefit older Australians. The enhancements to the Age Pension, including adjustments to the assets and income tests, along with the increase in employer superannuation contributions, will provide retirees with greater financial security. Energy bill rebates aim to alleviate the burden of rising costs. At the same time, improvements in aged care, such as the requirement for on-site registered nurses and wage increases for staff, will enhance the quality of care provided to older Australians.
Individuals need to stay informed about these changes and explore the available concessions and benefits. The National Seniors Concessions Calculator can be a valuable tool for understanding the available support and assistance. By leveraging these opportunities, older Australians can confidently navigate the financial landscape, ensuring a more secure and comfortable future.
Live your best life,
Please note that any information provided is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered professional advice. ADSSI does not serve as a financial advisor. It is recommended that you consult with independent legal, financial, taxation, or other experts to ensure that any information provided applies to your situation.