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Budget 2022: $250 one-time cash bonus for Centrelink recipients

Budget 2022: The Centrelink logo and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.
Centrelink recipients will recieve a one-time $250 cash payment as part of the Federal Budget. (Source: Getty)

Around 35.3 per cent of the Federal Budget will be spent on social security and welfare payments after an increase was introduced earlier this month.

This will bring the total amount spent to $221.68 billion - down from $227.8 billion last year.

Those receiving a welfare payment, including pensioners, veterans and concession card holders will also get an automatic $250 payment to help with the rising cost of living.

Despite the rise in payments, the lesser spend is due to a pullback in COVID-19 Disaster payments.

This comes after the Government announced Centrelink recipients would see a boost to their payments from March 21, to help cover the cost of rising inflation.

The boost means a $20.10 fortnightly increase for individuals to $987.60 and a $30.20 increase for couples combined at $1,488.80.

Asset-test limits will also be stretched to allow more people to access a part pension, with the cap rising by $6,750 to $599,750 for single homeowners.

Homeowner couples will see a $10,000 rise to the asset cap to $901,500.

Almost 5 million Australians will benefit from the three rising payments.

Increase not enough

However, the boost to rent assistance and other Centrelink payments was criticised as inadequate by some experts.

Under the welfare increase, rent-assist payments will increase by $3 per fortnight to $145.80 for singles, $3.50 to $171.50 for families with up to two children and $3.92 to $193.62 for families with three kids or more.

The Australia Institute’s Matt Grudnoff said these sorts of increases were not enough, given the low base rate for the payments.

“An extra $3 a fortnight is not going to make any difference to people's rental payments,” he said.

He said rental rates hadn’t yet seen the same rises as house prices, with the latest ABS figures showing residential property prices rose 23.7 per cent in the past 12 months.

However, he said rents traditionally followed house prices.

“And so this problem of underpaying, of employment and pensions and all the other welfare payments is only going to get worse,” Grudnoff said.

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