Government Benefits - Don't miss out
An analysis of just four Centrelink payments, the Parenting Payment, the Carer Allowance, the Disability Support Pension and the Bereavement Allowance, showed that around 168,000 Australians are missing out on Government assistance.
Research shows that people are excluded because of:
a lack of awareness about available assistance
the complexity of claim forms and procedures
the stigma perceived to be attached to claiming assistance payments and concession benefits.
To help our members out, here are some of the key benefits and entitlements that may be available to you:
Spouse Contribution: If you are employed and your eligible spouse is either not working or earning less than $13,800 per year, you can contribute to their super and get up to $540 tax rebate a year, as long as you haven't already claimed a tax deduction for the contributions. Click here for more information.
Superannuation Co-contribution: If you are earning less than $61,920 and make personal superannuation contributions, the Government will match your contribution with a co-contribution up to a limit of $1000, depending on your salary. Click here for more information.
Paid Parental Leave: From 1 January 2011 working parents who have a baby or adopt a child may be eligible to receive up to a maximum of 18 weeks Parental Leave Pay at the national minimum wage, currently $570 a week before tax. Click here for more information.
First Home Owner Grant: For first home owners that satisfy all the eligibility criteria could receive a one-off grant of up to $7000 from the Federal Government. Click here for more information.
Education Tax Refund: This benefit helps with the cost of educating primary and secondary school children. Eligible parents, carer's, legal guardians and independent students are able to get up to 50% of money spent on education expenses such as purchasing computers, educational software, textbooks and stationery back. Click here for more information.
Further eligibility requirements for all benefits may apply so we recommend contacting the relevant government department for more information.
1. 'Missing Out: Unclaimed government assistance and concession benefits', The Australia Institute (May 2010) www.tai.org,au
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Insurance Check Up
Despite most Australians having some life insurance cover within their super, we are still one of the most underinsured nations in the developed world.
6 out of 10 Australians do not have sufficient life insurance cover to care for their families for more than a year, if they were to die prematurely1 and
Every day, more than 65 families are impacted by an event that seriously affects their ability to earn an income and support their children2
In the light of this recent research, perhaps now is the time to give your insurance a check-up. Just like getting a check up by your local doctor, assessing your insurance policy should be quick and easy. All you need to do is answer the following questions:
What type of cover have you got?
Assessing what type of cover you have is the first step to ensuring you are fully protected. Generally there are three types of insurance cover available within super. These are death, death and total permanent disablement (TPD) and salary continuance insurance (SCI) which is sometimes called income protection. For many people, cover for all scenarios (death, TPD and loss of income) is desirable as they all have a major financial impact should either occur.
Death and TPD - In the event of your death or total and permanent disablement while you're a member of the Fund, a lump sum amount consisting of your super and your insured amount may be paid to you or your dependants. It gives you and your family piece of mind should something tragic and unforeseen occurs.
SCI - This is the most common type of cover to be overlooked. This is a form of insurance that protects a person's income should they become unable to work due to temporary illness or disability. In other words it helps put food on the table, keep bills paid, assist paying the mortgage and maintain some means of a reasonable standard of living if you are not able to earn your income.
Do you have enough insurance to get you by?
The next step in ensuring you are fully protected is to check the level of your cover. Will the insurance you currently have cover continuing expenses such as mortgage repayments, daily living expenses and other debts if you are unable to work? Do you have piece of mind that your family will be taken care of when it will be needed the most?
Different milestones in your life usually coincide with an increase in the level of financial responsibility you take on. Milestones such as purchasing your first home, becoming a parent or changing your career, all increase the level of financial responsibility you have and therefore should increase the amount of insurance you have.
This year you should make it your resolution to regularly maintain and update your insurance policy just so you and your family knows you will be sufficiently covered when you need it most. Statistics show that on average, Australian's are underinsured by $100,000 or more. Do you want to be part of this statistic?
For more information regarding insurance or to check your insurance levels do not hesitate to give one of our fantastic member services consultants a call on 08 9480 3500 or visit our website www.walgsp.com.au/Members/Insurance.aspx. You should also carefully read the Funds PDS before making any decisions.
1. 'Fast facts - a nation overexposed' - Investment and Financial Services Association, 2005
2. 'First-time ever figures: Over one in five working age parents will die, become seriously ill or injured, new research shows' - Financial Services Council, 2010.
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ME Bank Flood Relief
ME Bank is to reduce financial burden for flood-affected members by:
Payment relief program available to support customers in flood-affected areas
Support to include waiving of fees and suspension of repayments for customers
ME Bank to donate $20,000 in support of the Queensland Flood Relief Appeal
In an effort to support ME Bank customers - and all Australians - affected by the disastrous floods in Queensland and New South Wales, the Bank today announced its support of the Queensland Flood Relief Appeal with a donation of $20,000, and will consider further aid as required.
ME Bank is also applying its Customer Hardship Policy in response to the devastating effects of floods on people's homes and businesses. The Policy available to help to reduce the financial burden of ME Bank customers who have suffered loss of property, employment or are facing any other financial difficulties.
"We know the impact of the floods throughout Queensland and New South Wales on people's homes, businesses and lives has been devastating. Our thoughts are with all those affected and we hope the availability of ME Bank's Customer Hardship Policy will go some way to reducing the financial burden for our members," said Mr. Jamie McPhee, CEO, ME Bank.
Specifically, the financial relief will include:
Opportunity for up to 3 months suspension of repayments, with capitalised interest for Home Loan customers;
Waiving of fees on any fixed term savings (i.e. Super Members Term Deposit, Standard Term Deposit, Business Term Deposit) where the customer needs to break their term early to access their savings;
Opportunity for Personal Loan customers to suspend their repayments for up to 3 months, with the interest capitalised to their loan;
Prioritisation of customers applying for limit increases on their Credit Cards in order to gain access to additional funds; and
Direct liaison by our Business Banking representatives with all affected businesses to assess their needs and offer support.
ME Bank's Customer Help Team (1300 500 520) will be available to discuss the financial relief available, and customers can visit www.mebank.com.au.
"ME Bank will continue to monitor the situation to ensure we are in contact with as many impacted customers as possible, providing the necessary support and financial relief," said Mr. McPhee.
ME Bank is 100 percent owned by some of Australia's leading industry super funds. Profits earned provide a return on investment to these funds and their members.
The products are issued by ME Bank not WALGSP and WALGSP do not endorse or accept responsibility for the products. WALGSP is a shareholder but does not receive any commission. You should contact ME Bank to find out more about the products to ensure that they are suitable for you.
Well where to start? I might as well get the cricket out of the way. After 24 years of handing over beer bets, I have finally had an English win in Australia.
England won, we are the better team, had better batsmen, bowlers, attitude and self belief. As certain Plan staff has pointed out, they also had a team almost half made up of South African imports.
I bet Merv Hughes is grateful he was dumped as a Selector on the 29th October (before the Ashes). Punter is probably wishing he retired the same day.
The Australian Teams golden age is over again. As in 1983, it is time to start rebuilding. Get young players with potential and give them time to settle in.
The European Rugby tour by the Wallabies was mixed. They beat the Italians as expected, thrashed the French (enjoyed by everyone but the French) but lost to England (35 - 18). If the Wallabies don't get their goal kicking fixed, they will be easy meat for the All Blacks and Springboks this year in the Tri-Nations.
Western Force starts the Super 15 series on 20th February. It is too early to predict their chances of the finals but the betting odds are 51 to 1 for them to win the premiership (which places them at 11th out of 15 teams on the ladder). Let's see if we can beat that prediction.
Last update I said I would discuss is whether Perth Glory will win another game this year. I can proudly confirm they have (4-2 over Adelaide).
Their recent run of 4 draws in their last 6 games has helped them crawl off the bottom of the table - they are now 10th out of 11.
5 wins and 11 draws from 25 games means Glory are just making up the numbers and with 4 games remaining they are hoping to keep from the wooden spoon.
Perhaps they should get the ladies to play for them. The Perth Glory W League team is 4th out of 7 and is in the line for the finals.
Next Issue: One day cricket - can the Aussies get revenge? (Do England supporters care?) and AFL (the Heatstroke NAB Cup).
Disclosure and Disclaimer: Any advice in this email is of a general nature only. It doesn't take into account your specific objectives, financial situation or needs and you need to consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it. You should carefully read the Product Disclosure Statement of the Fund prior to action on information in this newsletter and before becoming a member.
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