80 percent of over 50s hit by cost-of-living crisis

NEW research from National Seniors Australia and Challenger reveals 80 percent of older people are feeling the impact of higher living costs.

The number ‘severely’ impacted is expected to rise over the next twelve months.

The National Seniors Social Survey (NSSS) of 5,700 people aged 50 and over also asked people about their
concerns around cost-of-living increases.

The results show 90 percent of survey respondents are ‘concerned’ about keeping up with rising living costs, with
one quarter ‘extremely concerned’.

Health costs, energy prices and groceries are the three top worries.

Housing affordability is also a concern, particularly in the long term.

Severe cost-of-living impacts are felt across all income levels and age groups.

However, certain types of older people are hit hardest:

• renters

• low-income households

• people in their 50s

• larger households (3+ people)

• people in rural and remote areas

“If you’re an older person renting or on a low income, you’re more likely to be hit hard by rising
living costs,” said National Seniors Australia Chief Advocate Ian Henschke.

“Older people in rural and remote areas, those in larger households (3+) and people in their 50s are more
likely to be struggling.”

The findings reinforce National Seniors’ federal budget call to index the Age Pension quarterly during times
of high inflation.

“The Age Pension is adjusted twice a year in March and September.

“Rather than have pensioners wait six months, government should increase payments quarterly when inflation is high,” Mr Henschke said.

“Another key measure would be to exempt work income from the income test for all government payments, so recipients can work more without penalty.

“Simply let people work, pay tax, and get Centrelink out of the way.

“Increasing Commonwealth Rent Assistance would also help address rising cost-of-living pressures for those struggling the most.”

The 11th National Seniors Social Survey was conducted from 1 – 19 February 2023.

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