COTA fights to protect pension

August 26, 2014 | Aged Care Finance

Council On The Ageing Australia (COTA) has recently launched a campaign designed to protect the pension against proposed changes.

The May budget put forth a number of proposed changes, many of which elderly Australians are in strong opposition to. Ian Yates, the chief executive of COTA, explained that the recent ‘Hands Off the Pension’ campaign was an effort to represent the Australians concerned about their financial futures.

What’s changing

Proposed pension changes include a freezing of the current eligibility thresholds, adjustments to deeming rates, and perhaps the biggest of all – pushing the qualifying age to 70. Mr Yates explained that indexation changes are the biggest cause for concern among the elderly.

The adjustments would change indexation from a percentage of weekly earnings (average) to CPI only. In effect, this will impact over 2.4 million elderly Australians receiving the pension.

“Pensioners already struggle to make ends meet and they simply don’t have any way to make up the difference should their pension income decline,” Mr Yates said.

“Cutting indexation to CPI only will mean a big and growing cut to the pension over time and will result in many Pensioners spiraling into poverty, ill health and even homelessness.”

Aged care facilities could take this opportunity to educate residents about the incoming changes, and ensure that they’re aware of any major adjustments to policy.

With the Australian population continuing to grow, and the number of elderly residents climbing in turn, it’s a good idea to ensure changes are understood.

“It’s time we took the lid off an unfair system and had a proper look at all the opportunities and challenges of the ageing population and how we plan for retirement incomes into the future, Mr Yates explained.

He has since called on the government to withdraw all proposed changes while a Retirement Incomes Review to be carried out.