Nearly one in three Australians believe the JobSeeker rate is rising, according to new figures released hours before the Coronavirus Supplement is due to expire.
The fortnightly $550 Supplement, which was introduced in March last year, effectively doubled the income support payment of $565.70 to $1,115.70 per fortnight.
The payment was extended twice, but reduced each time, and is currently just $150 per fortnight. The boost will be cut altogether after today (Wednesday 31 March).
JobSeeker payment with current $150 Coronavirus Supplement: $715.70 per fortnight
JobSeeker base rate without Coronavirus Supplement: $565.70 per fortnight
New JobSeeker rate from 1 April: $615.70 per fortnight
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced in late February that JobSeeker’s permanent base rate would see an increase of $50 per fortnight from 1 April amid intense lobbying and pressure to support unemployed Australians as the Supplement’s end date drew nearer.
But critics of Morrison pointed out that the $50-a-fortnight increase represented only $3.57 extra a day.
One in three stumped over JobSeeker rate
A new Finder survey of 1,015 adults revealed that only 63 per cent of Australians were aware that the Supplement is being axed.
Furthermore, the survey found 29 per cent of Aussies believe that the JobSeeker payment is actually increasing.
Baby boomers are the most well-informed group, with 73 per cent believing the JobSeeker payment will be less after 31 March, while only 57 of millennials believe the same.
Finder head of consumer research Graham Cooke said the end of the Supplement would hamstring the economy’s recovery.
“Welfare cuts may impact some people’s ability to pay their bills, mortgage payments or debt,” he said.
“These changes may also affect the property market– buying a home may become even more of a hurdle to prospective buyers, while mortgage holders will have further to reach to pay their bills,” said Cooke.
Aussies on the JobSeeker payment anticipating the reduced income should get in touch with their bank, lender or utility provider and request financial hardship assistance, he added.
“You may be eligible for measures like temporary interest only payments or payment plans which can help to alleviate some of the financial strain,” Cooke said.
The research comes as a new report by thinktank the Australia Institute found the end of the Supplement would push an extra 155,000 Australians into poverty.