PENSIONERS are facing winter power bills without the offset of the $14 a-fortnight energy supplement, according to Bendigo MP Lisa Chesters.

Labor is preparing to lobby cross bench senators before a vote on the 2018-19 budget.

Cutting the supplement was first announced in the 2016 budget and was meant to start in September last year but the Coalition government has repeatedly failed to get it passed through the Senate.

Ms Chesters said Labor and the cross bench would have to defeat the cut in the Senate again.

“These zombie cuts may make their Budget look a little bit better but it creates a lot of fear in the community,” she said.

Bendigo pensioner Steve Aitkenhead said the solution was to tie the pension to the cost of living.

He said the pension was too low meaning recipients were sometimes unable to afford staples such as meat and fuel.

“We think hard about whether we drive to medical appointments in Melbourne or take public transport because of the price of fuel,” Mr Aitkenhead said.

Fuel costs were also the difference between pensioner Maggie Merigan volunteering in the community, or not.

Ms Merigan, who is a single pensioner, said her mental health depended on contact in the community which she sought through volunteer work.

Graeme Smith said pensioners were left behind because they don’t have a full working life of superannuation when they retired.

Compulsory superannuation was introduced in 1992.

It will be another two decades before the retirement of workers with a full working life of super.

Ms Chesters said theoretically Australia’s pension bill should be lower every year.

“But that gives us the opportunity to lift the pension out of poverty,” she said.