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Centrelink cash boost for renters impacting nearly 1 million households

Treasurer Jim Chalmers has revealed the Commonwealth Rent Assistance payment will go up by 10 per cent.

The 2024 Federal Budget has outlined an increase in Commonwealth Rent Assistance. Treasurer Jim Chalmers has unveiled the government's fiscal plan for the next year and he has confirmed Aussies on welfare support will receive a bit more relief from their rental payments.

The fortnightly payment will go up by 10 per cent, which will cost taxpayers $1.9 billion over the next five years. This is on top of the 15 per cent hike in the payment that was contained in last year's budget.

"[This] will take maximum rates over 40 per cent higher than in May 2022 – a combined result of indexation and the actions of the Government," the government said in a statement. "Nearly 1 million households will benefit."

Treasurer Jim Chalmers will unveil a package to increase the Commonwealth rent assistance payment system as part of the 2024 Federal Budget. (Source: Getty)
Treasurer Jim Chalmers will unveil a package to increase the Commonwealth rent assistance payment system as part of the 2024 Federal Budget. (Source: Getty)

Find out how the 2024 Federal Budget will impact you by following Yahoo Finance’s coverage here.

It comes after the Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee recommended an increase to Commonwealth Rent Assistance as the dual cost-of-living and housing crises have a disproportionate impact on vulnerable Australians.

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"Rental costs in recent decades have exceeded household incomes for lower income families and individuals," the report said.

"The composition of the rental market has also shifted from lower cost public housing to the higher cost private rental market.

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"Australians on income support payments often suffer from high rates of rental stress, with many finding their incomes heavily absorbed by rent, pushing them further into poverty or unsuitable and unsafe forms of accommodation."

The committee has also called for a substantial increase in JobSeeker and related working-age payments.

There are concerns cost-of-living relief could hurt Australia's attack on inflation, which is causing serious stress on household budgets.

On the other hand, there are fears meagre increases wouldn't do much to help with record-high rents, which is pushing an alarming number of people to homelessness services.

Cost of living is a focus in the budget and every Australian household will be getting a $300 energy bill relief.

Chalmers said this budget will deliver a $9.3 billion surplus for the current financial year. The government has also revealed that inflation is expected to fall within the Reserve Bank’s target range a year earlier than the bank has forecast.

The Commonwealth Rent Assistance program is accessible to Australians receiving the following social security payments:

  • ABSTUDY - Living Allowance

  • Age Pension

  • Austudy

  • Farm Household Allowance

  • JobSeeker Payment

  • Special Benefit

  • Youth Allowance

To access the payment, there's a minimum amount you need to pay in rent and that threshold changes depending on your circumstances.

For every $1 of rent you pay above the minimum amount, you get 75 cents back, but you can’t get more than the maximum amount.

A single person would need to pay between $146 and $396.94 per fortnight for their rent and the government works out how much they receive based on where they fit in those numbers. The maximum payment is $188.20 every two weeks.

The highest payment is $249.90 and that goes to single people with three or more children, as well as a person of a couple who has been separated due to illness, a partner in respite care or prison, or temporarily separated, with three or more children.

In terms of easing everyday costs, no. But the Albanese government is pouring $11.3 billion into housing initiatives including:

  • $9.3 billion for a new five-year national agreement on social housing and homelessness

  • About $1 billion for crisis and transitional accommodation for women and children escaping domestic violence and young people

  • A further $1 billion for the construction of roads, sewers, energy, water and community infrastructure needed for new homes and additional social housing supply

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