Notes on the data: Income support

Age pensioners, June 2014

 

Policy context:  People who are described as ‘age pensioners’ are those who receive either an Age Pension from Centrelink or a Service Pension (Age) from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. An age pension is a restricted income paid by the Australian Government to those who generally do not have (or do not have much) income from other sources and who have reached the qualifying age, with the amount paid subject to income and asset tests.

Although older people today, on average, are wealthier than they were in previous generations, these averages mask significant variation in economic circumstances. There are large differences in the distribution of income, wealth and home ownership between older people, with the most disadvantaged being those who live alone and do not own their own home. Those people who enter older age as renters, low paid workers, or who have been out of the labour market for long periods of time (due to unemployment, disability or family responsibilities among other reasons) are the most likely to be exposed to financial vulnerability in older age. Financial limitations may lead to social exclusion, which can result in reduced quality of life, preventable illness and disability, premature institutionalisation and death [1].

Reference

  1. The Benevolent Society. A roadmap for ageing well: position paper. Sydney: The Benevolent Society; 2010.
 

Notes:  The Age Pension is available from the Department of Human Services (DHS) for persons who have reached Age Pension age. The Age Pension age depends on a person's date of birth, as follows:

For men:

  • If born before 1/7/52, Age Pension age is 65

For women:

  • If born before 1/1/49, Age Pension age is 64.5
  • If born between 1/1/49 and 30/6/52, Age Pension age is 65

For men and women:

  • If born between 1/7/52 and 31/12/53, Age Pension age is 65.5
  • If born between 1/1/54 and 30/6/55, Age Pension age is 66
  • If born between 1/7/55 and 31/12/56, Age Pension age is 66.5
  • If born from 1/1/57 or later, Age Pension age is 67

Additional notes

The data show a number of areas as having proportions in excess of 100 per cent: these are clearly not accurate. The reason for this is not clear, although it may be the result of the address of the pension recipient data being a postcode which is not allocated to the correct small geographical area by the correspondence files available; it may also reflect inaccuracies in the denominator (the population of pensionable age), as population estimates at the small area level for age groups can be unreliable, in particular where the populations are small. It also indicates that it is possible that percentages of less than 100 per cent may also be overstated.

The Centrelink data were provided at the Population Health Area (PHA) and Local Government Area (LGA) levels and data cells with less than 20 counts were removed (confidentialised). Due to the confidentialisation of data cells, there may be undercounting of some of the final numbers presented, where the final data is based on combining two indicator sub-sets, which may include the aggregation of confidentialised and non-confidentialised cells.

The ‘Unknown’ data are calculated from the difference between the sum of the PHA or LGA data to the State/Territory totals, and include the sum of these confidentialised data.

 

Numerator:  People in receipt of an Age Pension from the Department of Human Services

 

Denominator:  Persons aged 65 years and over

 

Detail of analysis:  Per cent

 

Source:  Compiled by PHIDU based on data from the Department of Social Services, June 2014; and ABS Estimated Resident Population, 30 June 2013.

 

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