Has the age of entitlement ended?


Flashback to Budget 2014 and the “team of bastards”

In 2014 I had just finished up at Macquarie Bank - after a period of just on 20 years.

I was setting up my own business - an independent financial advice business, with a focus on helping Australians plan their retirement.

I wanted to provide a service to help retiring Australians have a better understanding of “the system” when working out what to do with their savings.

I had been motivated by a Productivity Commission report that came out in 2013 showing the amount of support the government offers Australians over the age of 65. It was clear there was a lot of support available, however, I could not find an easy way to understand this from my client’s point of view.

Source: Productivity Commission

Source: Productivity Commission

As it turned out, neither did the Government.

Have a read of this article and you will see why: How Joe Hockey ended the age of entitlement.

Consider that Joe Hockey asked for a comprehensive list of all entitlements, and couldn’t find a complete document that included all federally funded payments, concessions and programs supplied through all levels of government.

Then he appointed a team of 4 treasury officials to pull together a full list (the “team of bastards”)

They spent weeks on the assignment. They found that age pensioners could be eligible for 23 other supplements and concessions depending on their situation. And then another 26 types of services, training or loans.

If Joe Hockey needed 4 treasury officials to work this out, how could anybody else do it on their own?

If you claim an entitlement, are you acting, well, entitled?

The 2014 Budget implied the “age of entitlement” was a bad thing.

However, If a government establishes a scheme or entitlement, accompanies it with advertising campaigns, and sets up an application process, it would be for good reason. Right? It doesn’t make sense that the message is not to participate?

Governments have continued to provide more targeted support - and this normally accompanied with eligibility arrangements and application processes.

Applying does not make you “entitled”. Applying means you are participating in the system as intended.

Has the age of entitlement ended?

No. The age of entitlement is here to stay - however it’s probably better to call this the “age of application”.

The list of Government programs continues to grow.

In the recent NSW election 2 programs aimed at Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders were announced.

The Federal Budget will contain programs targeted at age pensioners to help with energy costs.

In NSW, the government has come up with a service to help residents find out the targeted support they are entitled to. Check it out here.

Recently, the Federal government launched Long Live You, which contains 16 links to other government websites. These websites are there to help. No matter how hard they are to find.

You and “the system”

The journey for each Australian is different - depending on assets and income, where they live, what their family situation looks like, how much they spend, and a whole lot of other reasons.

Later Life Advice can help.

Brendan Ryan