Selasa, 06 September 2011

Social housing rents bite on pension increases

We suggested pensioners in social housing should watch the State Budget to see what would happen to their rents... and so it was announced yesterday that the 2009 pension increase would henceforth be included in rebated rent calculations.

This will happen in two steps: half the increase will be included from next month, then the full amount of the increase will be included from April next year.

By then, the 2009 increase be treated like most other types of income... including the run-of-the-mill increase in the pension ($9.05 per week) that is due this month.

So, if you've been looking forward to that increase, be aware that it's going to feel like you're not seeing most of it. That's because your landlord will take 25 per cent of it, as usual, but then take more on account of the new treatment of the 2009 increase – in total, $6, according to the Herald's figures.

You'll probably feel the same way in April next year, when the pension is supposed to go up another $8.60, and your rent goes up $5.90.

It might be pointed out that pensioners in social housing did get the benefit of that 2009 increase without a rent take for a good two years, which amounts to about $800. But that's to take a bird's (bat's?) eye view; the perspective on the ground, in the present, is different. That 2009 increase money has disappeared into people's budgets by now, and has little power to sweeten the bitterness of the coming two quarters in which about two-thirds of each pension increase will go in rent.