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Income and wealth inequality in Australia

August 17, 2023
TrueCover Community

As Australia grapples with rising income and wealth inequality, seniors and pensioners find themselves at the forefront of this economic divide. The golden years, once envisioned as a time of relaxation and financial security, are increasingly overshadowed by the harsh reality of growing disparities. At TrueCover Community, we are passionate about reducing financial inequality in the Australian community.  

Across the country, many retirees are facing the challenges of fixed incomes and escalating living costs, making it harder to maintain a comfortable standard of living. This blog post delves into the current state of income and wealth inequality in Australia, highlighting its impact on seniors and pensioners, and exploring potential solutions to ensure a fairer and more secure future for our ageing population.  

Research done by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and the University of New South Wales highlight the growing disparity in financial stability among older Australians. According to the AIHW, many older Australians rely primarily on government pensions and allowances as their main source of income. In fact, over 60% of people aged 65 and over receive most of their income from such sources. This dependency makes seniors particularly vulnerable to changes in pension policies and cost-of-living increases. 

Wealth inequality among seniors has also intensified over the past two decades. The University of NSW indicate that wealth distribution has become more skewed, with the wealthiest Australians accumulating a significantly larger share of assets while lower-income groups see little to no growth in their financial resources. This disparity is not just a matter of numbers; it directly affects the quality of life for many seniors who struggle to afford essential expenses such as food, housing, transport and utilities. 

In line with our dedication to the Australian community, TrueCover Community is actively combating financial disparity. We’re achieving this by reinvesting our profits to drive down insurance premiums nationwide and enhance the value of our coverage. Every car insurance policy now comes with complimentary roadside assistance, ensuring added peace of mind for our customers. Additionally, we’re deeply committed to supporting our community through initiatives like Meals on Wheels, providing both financial assistance and volunteering efforts. 

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The Current Reality for Seniors and Pensioners 

1. Rising Living Costs: The cost of living in Australia has been rising steadily, with essentials such as healthcare, housing, and utilities becoming more expensive. For seniors on a fixed income, this means their purchasing power is steadily eroding. 

2. Healthcare Costs: Healthcare expenses are a significant concern for seniors. Although Medicare provides substantial support, out-of-pocket expenses for medications, treatments, and specialised care can still be substantial and potentially unaffordable. 

3. Housing Affordability: Many seniors face housing instability due to the high costs associated with rent and property maintenance. Those without their own homes are particularly vulnerable to market fluctuations. 

4. Income Dependency: With many seniors depending on government pensions, any policy changes, or inadequacies in pension adjustments to inflation can have severe consequences on their financial well-being. 

To address these challenges, there are ways of getting support should you need it: 


The first point of contact for many of these government services is Centrelink, which can provide information and assistance on applying for the Age Pension, Rent Assistance, and other benefits.  

My Aged Care

My Aged Care is the Australian Government’s portal for aged care services, providing information and referrals for health, housing, and financial support services.  

Community Information and Support Services: 

Many local councils and community organizations offer information and referral services to help seniors access the support they need. 

By taking advantage of these resources and support programs, pensioners in Australia can better manage financial difficulties and maintain a reasonable standard of living in retirement. 

Commonwealth Government Assistance Programs 

  1. Seniors Health Card: 

The Commonwealth Seniors Health Card card provides access to cheaper health care and some discounts on pharmaceuticals through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). It is available to Australian residents of pension age who do not qualify for the Age Pension due to income or assets.  

  1. Rent Assistance: 

Rent Assistance is an additional payment available to those receiving the Age Pension or other government benefits who are paying rent or lodging. It aims to help cover the cost of renting privately or in community housing.  

  1. Energy Supplement: 

The Energy Supplement is an ongoing payment to help with household expenses, specifically aimed at offsetting the cost of energy bills. It is paid automatically to those receiving the Age Pension or other eligible income support payments.  

  1. Pension Loan Scheme: 

The Pension Loans Scheme is a voluntary, reverse mortgage-type loan allows older Australians to supplement their retirement income by borrowing against the value of their home. The loan can be taken as a fortnightly payment or a lump sum.  

State and Territory Concessions 

Many Australian states and territories offer additional concessions and rebates for seniors. These may include discounts on utilities, transport, rates, and car registration fees. 

State-based Seniors Card: 

Every state and territory issue its own Seniors Card, often with reciprocal benefits for inter-state travellers. Essentially, it’s a complimentary card offering transport discounts and discounts at participating businesses for various goods and services. 

Though most eligibility criteria across states and territories align, there may be slight variations. Be sure to review the specific eligibility requirements for your state or territory. 

Here are the websites for each state-based scheme: 

Community and Non-Governmental Support 

Financial Counselling

Free and confidential financial counselling services are available at Good Shepherd to help manage debts and budget effectively. These services can provide advice and advocate on behalf of pensioners facing financial hardship.   

No-Interest Loans: 

Some organisations such as Good Shepherd offer No-interest loans for those experiencing hardship. These loans can be used for household items, education fees and equipment, car repairs and medical costs.  

Emergency Relief:  

Various community organizations such as the Salvation Army and other charities offer emergency relief to those in immediate need. This can include food vouchers, assistance with bills, and referrals to other support services.  

Food Relief: 

Organizations like Foodbank and local community pantries provide food relief to those struggling to afford groceries.  

Legal Aid: 

Free or low-cost legal advice and assistance are available for those dealing with financial disputes or needing legal help related to debt and housing issues. Click here to see a list of the state-based legal aid organisations.  


Income and wealth inequality in Australia significantly impacts seniors and pensioners, who often find themselves on the losing end of the economic spectrum. With rising living costs and a heavy reliance on fixed incomes, it’s imperative to address these issues through improved financial literacy, supportive policies, and affordable healthcare and housing options. TrueCover Community is committed to helping ensure a more secure and dignified retirement for Australia’s older population.  

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