Recipients of the Age Pension as their primary source of income may be ineligible for social housing by 2020 unless the State Government updates its eligibility rules according to Jennie Vartan, State Manager for the Community Housing Industry Association (CHIA) in WA, the industry body for community housing providers in the State.

“Income and asset eligibility limits for social housing have not changed since 2006. That means that 13 years of income inflation has been ignored by the State Government in terms of assessing eligibility for social housing. The Age pension has increased by an average of 4.9% per annum since 2005 whereas the eligibility threshold for a single person has remained static at $430.00 per week. The current basic rate for a single aged pensioner is $421.80 per week, meaning that by next year we could have the farcical situation where people on an Age Pension would be considered ‘over income’ and thus ineligible for social housing” said Ms. Vartan

“Already, the failure of the State Government to index the eligibility thresholds against increases in statutory payments and incomes (which, themselves, reflect increases in the cost of living) mean that people in housing stress who would have been eligible for social housing five or ten years ago are being turned away. In addition, clear workforce disincentives are being created as even modest increases in income can result in social housing tenants becoming ineligible. As such, the social housing waitlist can no longer be said to be an accurate measure of either demand for social housing demand in WA or housing stress among low income households.” said Ms. Vartan

“This is not the first time that CHIA WA has sought Government action on this issue. In fact, in 2016 we made reforming and updating the eligibility thresholds a key policy recommendation in our pre- State election policy platform. The fact that three years have passed and the issue has still not been dealt with is not acceptable.” concluded Ms Vartan.

ENDS- For further information, please contact Jennie Vartan, CHIA WA State Manager on 0409889437

Please find attached to this release a copy of  West Australian Housing Policy Where to from here