Set top boxes for pensioners

PENSIONERS in Page needing Federal Government help with making the switch to digital television in the second half of next year, should wait until Centrelink writes to them early next year.

Federal Member for Page Janelle Saffin said eligible households would receive a letter from Centrelink about six months before Northern NSW is due to switch over to digital TV.

This week’s Federal Budget has allocated $308.8 million for the Household Assistance Scheme (HAS) to install, free of charge, high definition digital set-top boxes in the homes of certain pensioners until December 2013.

"Households are eligible where at least one resident is receiving a maximum rate of the Aged Pension; Disability Support Pension; Carer payment; Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) service pension; or the DVA income support supplement payment," she said.

"Under the HAS, the Government has already provided assistance to more than 38,000 households in regional South Australia and Victoria."

Ms Saffin said suitably qualified contractors would supply and install these set top boxes, and demonstrate how they will meet specific needs of the elderly and people with disabilities.

"People should not go out and purchase any equipment from retail outlets, expecting a reimbursement under the scheme," she said.

"And they should not accept any approach from door-to-door salespeople or other advertised schemes. Centrelink will make the initial contact and organise everything from there."

More information on the timetable for digital switchover is available from the Digital Ready Information Line on 1800 20 10 13 or from

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