In order to receive Newstart payments, recipients must abide by “mutual obligations,” which include attending appointments with their job providers.
In August this year, news broke that over 580,000 unemployed Australians in the Jobactive program were cut off from their welfare in the last financial year as they failed to actively look for work.
But later that month, it was found that over 120,000 of those welfare recipients actually had legitimate reasons for failing to attend their appointments.
And, like those recipients, Jeremy Poxon, media spokesperson for the Australian Unemployed Workers’ Union, informed his job agency he was working one day and couldn’t attend his appointment.
But, later that day, he was informed his Newstart payments had been suspended.
After having his income suspended for a week, despite informing the jobactive providers he was unable to attend the appointment, Centrelink informed him it was simply a “known systems error”.
“In news that will surprise no one, I was cut off from income support for a week through no fault of my own - but through a ‘known systems error,’,” Poxon said in a tweet.
Poxon later tweeted that knowing his income could be suspended “indiscriminately” and “at any moment” was stressful.
“It’s hard to articulate how stressful it is, knowing that yr [sic] income can be cut off indiscriminately at any moment,” he said.
“Our lives are dictated by systems & algorithms that prioritise profit over human life — no one on social security has any control over their lives or their future.”
Twitter users slammed Centrelink for “deliberately making things stressful,” for those receiving welfare.
“I suppose this is a tactic to get people off the safety net?” One asked.
Another said her daughter had faced the same problem this week.
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