Centennial Living believes the following initiatives announced in the Federal Budget will have a positive impact on the lives of many older Australians and assist them in planning and financing their retirement years.
- Extending the social security assets test exemption for principal home sale proceeds from 12 months to 24 months for those on income support. This will allow pensioners more time to consider their retirement living options, arrange a ‘right-size’ home purchase, or build or renovate before their pension is affected.
- Expanding the downsizer contribution eligibility to those aged between 55 and 59, this initiative aims to encourage more Australians to downsize sooner, with the policy intent of increasing the availability of suitable housing for more Australian families. The downsizer contribution will enable a once off post tax contribution to superannuation of up to $300,000 per person from the proceeds of selling their home.
- Increasing the income threshold for the seniors’ health card from $61,284 to $90,000 for singles and from $98,054 to $144,000 (combined) for couples.
- Increasing the amount pensioners can earn before their pension is reduced from $7,800 to $11,800.
- Changes to government funded home care services such as capping administration and management fees in the Home Care Packages Program and abolishing exit fees. The Government will also extend existing grant arrangements for the Commonwealth Home Support Programme to 30 June 2024 to reflect the new start date of 1 July 2024 for the Support at Home Program.
While Centennial Living welcomes all additional funding for aged care, concerns remain about the extent and pace of support for older Australians following the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
Budget Paper No. 2: Budget Measures
Budget website at: www.budget.gov.au