Wealthy retirees in Budget’s firing line
The federal government is targeting what Prime Minister Tony Abbott describes as “liquid asset millionaires” under changes to the age pension.
Social Services Minister Scott Morrison has moved to limit eligibility for the pension by changing the assets test, according to ABC reports.
The government is looking to reduce the threshold at which the part pension cuts out – a move that is sure to hit wealthy retirees and SMSF trustees.
Currently, an Australian couple can own $1.15 million in assets in addition to their family home and qualify for the part pension.
Under the changes, the threshold will be reduced to $823,000, which will result in tens of thousands of couples no longer qualifying for the benefit.
The family home remains excluded from the assets test and people currently eligible for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card or Health Care Card will continue to be eligible, according to National Seniors Australia.
The beneficiaries from the changes include more than 170,000 part pensioners with modest assets who will benefit from an average increase of $30 a fortnight to their pension, including 50,000 part pensioners who will now qualify for a full pension, National Seniors said.
“A significant number of older Australians will be adversely impacted, so it is critical that clear information and access to advice are a priority so they can consider their position and the adjustments they may need to undertake,” said National Seniors chief executive Michael O’Neill.
“These changes will cause anxiety, particularly for those older Australians who have been in receipt of a part pension for an extended period of time.”