Pensioners who live in the nation’s 3000 nursing homes will keep their entire lump sum payment, the Minister for Ageing, Mrs Justine Elliot, said.

Mrs Elliot made the comments to reassure nursing home residents and their families following speculation this morning that the one-off payments would go to nursing home owners.

“This is totally incorrect. The one-off payment goes to all pensioners – including those who live in nursing homes,” Mrs Elliot said.

“Nursing home owners will not be allowed to increase their fees – so all of the one-off bonus will go straight into the pensioner’s pockets.

“My main priority is the health and welfare of older Australians.” 

The Rudd Government will deliver a $4.8 billion down-payment to Australia’s four million pensioners, carers, seniors and veterans – providing them with immediate financial help in the lead-up to comprehensive reform of the pension system.

Mrs Elliot said this amount over a nine-month period, that is, from now until June 30 next year, represents the equivalent of some $35 a week for single pensioners and some $24 a week for members of a married couple.
 
“This decisive action is part of the Rudd Government’s $10.4 billion Economic Security Strategy to boost the Australian economy and support pensioners and families during the global financial crisis,” she said.
 
The $4.8 billion down payment will be made available through a lump sum payment of $1,400 to singles and $2,100 to couples, which will benefit:    

Age Pensioners

Disability Support Pensioners

Carer Payment recipients

Wife and Widow B Pensioners

Partner, Widow and Bereavement Allowees

Veterans Affairs Service Pensioners

Veterans Income Support Supplement recipients

Veterans Affairs Gold Card holders eligible for Seniors Concession Allowance

Those of age pension age who receive Parenting Payment, Special Benefit, or Austudy

Eligible Self-Funded retirees holding a Commonwealth Senior Health Card (CSHC).
 
Mrs Elliot said people who are receiving a Carer Allowance will also receive $1000 for each eligible person being cared for.