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Older Australians facing major pension delays

Article image for Older Australians facing major pension delays

Older Australians are expressing their frustration about lengthy delays in the processing of pension applications.

Some say their standard of living is falling as they wait up to six months for paperwork to be processed and approved.

Human Services Minister Michael Keenan says more staff are being deployed to clear the backlog.

Calling into Sydney Live, the Minister tells Deborah Knight changes in the way the pensions are processed cause the backlog.

“There should never have been the backlog in the first place, but once it was made known to me… I instructed my department to fix it.

“We established a task force, we put an extra 100 people into the processing and slowly but surely we’ve been working through the backlog.”

The Minister says he expects to have sorted through most of the backlog “by the end of this month”

Click PLAY below to hear the full interview 

Deborah also spoke with Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association’s Paul Versteege who says the government should be approving all pension applications and assessing them later.

“By and large people are honest. They will apply for a pension and they will supply the right information to determine what sort of pension they should be getting.

“In this emergency what the government should do is to simply approve pensions for anybody that applies with the proviso that later on, when they finally get around to actually assessing it, that adjustments can be made.”

Ross Greenwood spoke with shadow human services minister Ed Husic who has hit back at the claims made by the Minister.

“The biggest thing that struck me… the government said that they were overwhelmed by the number of applications and they weren’t expecting it, which is pretty odd.

“They know how Australians are aging, and the real reason that they didn’t predict what was coming is because they realised they hadn’t had enough people on deck to help process those claims.

“The government’s known this issue has been going on for a while.”

Click PLAY below to hear the full interview with the shadow minister

Deborah Knight