Driving your pension dollar further
September is shaping up to deliver record cost of living relief for pensioners as federal pension payments rise and savings are delivered through the NSW Budget.
For the first time pensioners are eligible for cash back on their tolls and are now accumulating toll savings that will be delivered into their bank accounts in January.
In addition, NSW Treasurer Matt Kean said the state has more than 70 discounts and rebates available through the Savings Finder program, with a range of them specifically designed to assist pensioners drive their pension dollar further.
“Our pensioners have worked hard, they’ve paid their dues and we want to make sure that they’re getting all the financial help they are entitled to,” Mr Kean said.
“From council rate rebates to free glasses, free rego, free driver’s licences, nearly $300 off energy bills and more than $100 off gas, the NSW Government wants to ensure pensioners get a boost to their budget at the end of the week.
“For the first time, pensioners can also access up to $750 a year in toll relief from January, in addition to the Gold Opal that caps public transport costs at $2.50 a day.”
The Energy Bill Buster program, announced in the Budget, allows pensioners to swap out 10 years of energy rebates for a free solar system or energy efficient appliances valued at up to $4000 that will deliver ongoing energy savings of up to $600 a year.
Minister for Seniors Mark Coure encouraged pensioners not to leave a single dollar on the table and claim everything they can.
“These rebates and concessions available are of course in addition to the discounts that are available at over 6,500 businesses and service providers through the Seniors Card,” Mr Coure said.
“The Savings Finder tool via the Service NSW website also makes it really easy to see what help is available. If pensioners don’t have access to the website, they can make an appointment with a savings specialist at a Service NSW centre or they can do it over the phone by calling 13 77 88.”
Here are 10 ways for NSW pensioners to save:
- Council rate rebates: Pensioners are entitled to up to $250 a year off their council rates. But depending on where you live, you can get an even bigger discount.
- Electricity rebate: The Low Income Household Rebate will shave up to $285 a year off your electricity bill for households with a retail provider.
- Gas rebate: This rebate will give you a discount of up to $110 a year.
- Water rates: Eligible pensioners can access a quarterly rebate, shaving hundreds of dollars a year off a typical household bill.
- Gold Opal: Unlimited travel for no more than $2.50 a day on public transport across Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Hunter, Illawarra and Southern Highlands.
- Toll relief: For the first time, pensioners can access toll relief from January thanks to the recent NSW Budget which delivers up to $750 a year cash back. Pensioners need to spend a minimum of $375 a year on tolls to be eligible for cash back.
- Travel vouchers: Pensioners are entitled to four Pensioner Travel Vouchers each calendar year. They can be used for two return or four single trips, giving access to free or discounted travel in economy class on NSW TrainLink Regional services within regional NSW.
- Free car rego: Pensioners in NSW don’t pay registration fees or motor vehicle tax on one of their cars. They also receive free driver’s licences, free driving tests and concessions on the cost of Mobility Parking Scheme permits.
- Free glasses: You can get yourself one pair of single vision glasses or one pair of bifocal glasses in a two-year period under the NSW Spectacles Program.
- Seniors Card: The NSW Seniors Card is packed with discounts for thousands of retailers and services across the state from groceries to tradespeople and insurance.