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Elderly At Risk Of Losing Benefits - ACT

ACT senior citizens spokesman Muriel Newman has hit out at the Government over playing 'mean and deceitful' games with the elderly.

She says thousands of older people are likely to lose their community service card as a result of the Alliance $20 election bribe.

"I have been contacted by many retired people who are terrified at the thought of losing their community service card entitlements," Dr Newman said.

"Two thirds of superannuitants have a community services card, and for many, the $20 hand-out will take them over the limit of $18,847 for a single person and $28,000 for a married couple. WINZ has been fielding large numbers of telephone calls from distressed elderly people, but can't answer the question."

Dr Newman said that although WINZ administers the community service cards, Health Authorities set the qualifying limit. The limits were last reviewed in 1997, and no current adjustment has been notified.

"The loss of a community services card is worth much more than the pre-election bribe of $20 a week. If there is no change to the threshold, many pensioners will lose their entitlement. The government must immediately reassure the elderly that it intends to increase the threshold; otherwise the pension "increase" is will be clearly seen as a mean and deceitful ruse to save money," Dr Newman said.

ends

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