Port Stephens pensioners have welcomed the federal government’s announcement last week to drop its policy to increase the age pension age to 70.
Nelson Bay’s Mick Bradley, who is a health patient transportation officer, says there's no way he could have waited until 70 to get the pension and has welcomed Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s decision.
The 62-year-old fell over at home and is off work, and said the nature of his physical work leaves him pre-disposed to back injury.
“My work involves taking patients from hospital to hospital on stretchers and wheelchairs, and to homes that often entails going up and down stairs – it’s very physical work and very tough on the back,” Bradley said.
“I will be able to get the age pension at 66 and six months and would not have been affected if the pension age had gone to 70, as it would have been phased-in to protect older workers.”
He says that 66 is already long enough to wait after working in physical jobs all his life. He reckons younger workers, who would not have gained access to the age pension until 70, would have been really up against it.
“There’s no way I could wait until age 70; it would have been impossible to work for that long. There's the disability support pension but you have got to go through a lot of hoops for that and you virtually have to be incapacitated,” he said.
“I know younger people that are laying bricks and scaffolding and they have no hope of waiting longer for the age pension and don’t have a lot in their superannuation.”
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Many groups representing older Australians and those who work in physically-demanding jobs have welcomed the backdown by the government.
The former Labor government raised the age from 65 to 67 for anyone born after January 1, 1957.
Paul Versteege, the policy co-ordinator at the Combined Pensioners & Superannuants Association, said many of the 100,000 people over 50 who are on Newstart and have no real chance to ever work again at least now know they won’t have to wait an extra three years for the pension.
“Be sure to check the pension eligibility requirements, they have changed several times over the years,” he said. “Consider combining the pension with your super to maximise your income in retirement. This combination approach can make modest amounts of super last much longer than you might think.”
The Age Pension is a federal government allowance paid to those who have reached retirement age.
It is income and assets tested, which means the amount you are entitled to receive will depend on any other income you receive (from super, investments and paid work) and on the assets you own.