The Government has announced that it will lower the social security deeming rate from 1.75% to 1.0% for financial investments up to $51,800 for single pensioners and $86,200 for pensioner couples. The upper deeming rate of 3.25% will be cut to 3.0% for balances over these amounts.
The Minister for Families and Social Services, Senator Anne Ruston, said the changes would benefit about 630,000 age pensioners and almost 350,000 people receiving other payments. Under the new rates, age pensioners whose income is assessed using deeming will receive up to $40.50 a fortnight for couples ($1053 extra a year) and $31 a fortnight for singles ($804 extra a year), Senator Ruston said.
The deeming rate changes will also benefit people receiving other income tested payments including the Disability Support Pension and Carer Payment, and income support allowances and supplements such as the Parenting Payment and Newstart.
The Minister made a determination – the Social Security (Deeming Threshold Rates) Determination 2019 – to give effect to the announcement. The Determination is effective from 1 July 2019. Retrospective commencement of the Determination means the reduced below threshold rate of 1% and the above threshold rate of 3% will apply to income from financial investments from 1 July 2019. As a result, any increase that may apply to the rate at which individuals receive social security and veterans' affairs pensions and allowances will apply from this date.
|Level of financial assets
||Deeming rate - 1 July 2019
|0 - 51,800
||0 - 86,200
Despite concerns from some industry groups that the deeming rate cuts didn't go far enough, the Minister's Determination states that "consultation for this Determination is not necessary" as it is of a "machinery nature". "Existing arrangements are not substantially altered; the Determination does not change the operation of the deeming provisions. Rather, deeming rates are being changed, informed by returns available in the market for financial investments."
The reduced deeming rates have been backdated to 1 July 2019. Any additional pension payment will flow through into pensioners' bank accounts from the end of September 2019 in line with the regular indexation of the pension.