Budget 2018

Pensioners call for budget boost to 'inadequate' retirement funds

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Pensioners are arguing the age pension is inadequate to fund their retirement and hope for federal government assistance in this year's budget.

Trevor Robey and Dennice Bargh are a recently retired couple from Sydney's western suburbs. 

Mr Robey worked as an administrator for a private bus company, while Ms Bargh worked as a court officer for the past 17 years. 

They retired only a year ago, but already they believe they're struggling to make ends meet. 

"I don't believe that the pension is adequate enough, truly, I don't," Ms Bargh said. 

The basic single pension rate is $862.20 a fortnight for a single person and $622.80 for each member of a couple.

In addition, pensioners also receive a pension supplement and an energy supplement every fortnight. 

"I think it's very clear that the pension is not adequate," Ian Henschke from National Seniors Australia said. 

"The OECD did a study recently where they found that one in three Australian pensioners are living below the poverty line."

However, experts believe a change to the age pension rate is unlikely.

SBS
SBS

"Although there are expectations that aged care will see some extra money, it's not necessarily true for pensioners," Economist Chris Richardson said. 

Stephen Anthony from Industry Super Australia agrees.

"It's unlikely there will be anything major in the budget for aged pensioners," he said. 

The ever-increasing cost of living is putting pressure on Mr Robey and Ms Bargh, so much so, Mr Robey is considering re-entering the workforce.

"It would be nice to have some additional funds because money is limited," Mr Robey said.

"We look forward to going overseas again if we can."

Ms Bargh said their savings just won't go far enough.

"The last holiday we had was ten years ago," she said. 

"I can't see us taking what money we have in our savings to go on a lengthy holiday like that again."

As he contemplates picking up a part-time job, Mr Robey said he would like to see the work bonus - the amount a pensioner can receive before it affects their pension - be raised from $6,500 to $10,000.

There are also fresh calls to increase the superannuation guarantee from the current level of 9.5 per cent to 12 per cent. 

"Before we retire we're not putting enough aside to manage for an adequate retirement in terms of income," Industry Super Australia's Mr Anthony said. 

"That means that more and more Australians are becoming reliant on the age pension."

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