Far North Queensland pensioners are amongst 3.8 million people nationally to benefit from a one-off payment of up to $75 to help with rising energy costs.
The Energy Assistance Payment will be provided to people on the Age Pension, Disability Support Pension and Parenting Payment Single, as well as Veterans and their partners who receive the Service Pension, Income Support Supplement and relevant compensation payments.
More than 26,000 people in the electorate of Leichhardt will benefit from this measure including:
• 14,716 recipients of the Age Pension
• 5,846 recipients of the Disability Support Pension
• 3,780 recipients of Parenting Payment Single
• 1,246 recipients of veteran’s payments
The one-off payment is $75 for singles and $62.50 for each pensioner in a couple. It will be automatically paid to eligible recipients over the next two weeks.
“As part of our efforts to reduce company tax rates to businesses with a turnover of up to $50 million, we agreed to provide this one-off payment to help pensioners with the rising cost of their electricity bills,” Mr Entsch said.
The passage of the company tax cuts will help more than 20,000 small and medium sized businesses in Far North Queensland invest more, employ extra staff and pay higher wages.
The energy payment will not be taxed, will not be treated as income for tax purposes and does not count as income for social security purposes.
In addition, 480 part-pensioners in Leichhardt will have their Pensioner Concession Card reinstated.
Mr Entsch raised concerns about local part-pensioners losing access to the concession card earlier this year as a result of the reforms that started on 1 January 2017.
“Some people who were receiving a part-pension and lost their Pensioner Concession Card also lost access to certain state/territory government, local government and private sector benefits,” Mr Entsch said.
“Local pensioners I spoke to said this had a profound negative impact on them, so I raised their concerns with the Minister during talks in Canberra.
“I’m very pleased that their concessions have been reinstated because I know that making ends meet on a pension can be hard for some and every dollar saved is a big help.”
The Pensioner Concession Card will be automatically provided to eligible former part-pensioners in October.
Further information on the energy payment is available at: www.humanservices.gov.au/energyassist