Single pension recipients will receive an extra $15 a fortnight from Monday, but rents for public housing in several states are set to absorb it.


Australia’s four million pensioners are unlikely to enjoy equal benefits.

NSW, Victoria, Western Australia and the ACT have rebuffed federal government calls to permanently quarantine last year’s one-off $30-a-week pension increase from rent calculations.

This means single age and disability pensioners in those states will be hit with an extra $19 fortnightly public housing bill from Monday as their welfare payments climb by $15 through indexation.

Under the latest biannual indexation, the single pension will rise to $716 a fortnight, which includes $58 in supplementary utility allowances.

Couples on the pension will see their welfare payments rise by $23 a fortnight to $1080.

Those without a partner living in public housing in some parts of Australia are unlikely to be so happy.

State and territory public housing bodies calculate fortnightly rent based on a quarter of the base single pension, which rises to $658 from Monday.

Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory have agreed to permanently quarantine last year’s one-off $30-a-week single pension increase from future rent calculations.

But in NSW, Victoria, Western Australia and the ACT, that one-off pension increase will be included in the overall calculation of income when rent is charged for public housing.

That means single pensioners in those states will be paying $19 a fortnight more for accommodation from Monday.

The Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association of NSW has urged those state governments to remember why the federal government increased the single pension by $30 a week in the first place last year.

“The pension reform was to help single pensioners who are doing it tough,” policy co-ordinator Charmaine Crowe told AAP.

“It shouldn’t be going to public housing authorities in the states and territories.”

Other welfare recipients are also set to receive a smaller increase, prompting welfare experts to accuse the government of treating some recipients as less deserving than others.

The Newstart unemployment allowance rises by $7 a fortnight to $470 from Monday.

Welfare Rights Centre calculations show the gap between jobless benefits and the pension has widened to $123 a week – up from less than $6.50 in the early 1980s.

“Instead of a system of social security, we have a system based on social insecurity,” director Maree O’Halloran said.

The youth allowance stays at $377 a fortnight while the Newstart allowance for carers with a child rises by $7 to $508.

Welfare payments are indexed every six months for inflation.