Australian Government Raises Welfare Payments for Millions from September 20th

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The Australian government has announced a forthcoming increase in welfare payments for pensioners and job seekers, a move set to manifest in their next paycheck. The financial lift, which will come into effect on September 20th, is expected to positively impact millions of Australians. This comes as a result of a $20 per week increase that was stipulated in the May budget, and a subsequent 2.2 percent indexation.

JobSeeker beneficiaries stand to gain significantly from this increase. Singles without dependents are set to receive a biweekly payment of $729.20, reflecting a substantial rise of $56.10. Similarly, individuals with partners can expect their payment to surge by $54.80, leaving them with $686.00. Singles with children and those aged over 55 will also experience a distinct increase in their payment, with a boost of $57.30 after nine months, culminating in a total of $802.50 every two weeks.

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The pensioner community is not left behind, with the forthcoming increase poised to enhance their financial situation as well. Single pensioners will benefit from a $32.70 increase, bringing their total to $1096.70 per fortnight, while those with partners can anticipate a $24.70 boost to reach a total of $826.70.

Additionally, adjustments are slated for the pension-disqualifying assets limits, implying that the thresholds to access the pension are due for an increase. For couples who own their homes, the asset ceiling will now be $1,003,000, while single renters will be subjected to a $909,500 limit.

Scholastic beneficiaries of the youth allowance and Austudy payments will not be left out, with their payments set to rise by $40.

However, this increment is not without controversy; the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) has criticized the move as insufficient to extricate recipients from the clutches of economic hardship.

Deputy Chief Executive of ACOSS, Edwina MacDonald, maintains that given the average rental unit costs $510 per week and the average grocery bill reaches $160 per week, the boost will fall short in addressing the surging cost of living. MacDonald notes, “People relying on extremely low-income support payments are contending with the escalating cost of living, pushing them into acute financial crises.”

MacDonald describes alarming scenarios where individuals are forced to forego meals, essential medication, and medical care, live without heating and cooling, and grapple with social isolation due to insufficient funds. Furthermore, she points out that despite every dollar being significant, a $4 per day increase this month will barely scratch the surface of the increasing prices of food, rent, and clothing.

ACOSS is thus advocating for a more considerable raise in income support payments, suggesting that they match the pension rate as a minimum measure to tackle the current cost of living crisis.