JobSeeker payments will increase by up to $8.70 for singles without children, taking the fortnightly payments to $629.50, while single Parenting Payment recipients will see their payments increase by $11.90 a fortnight to $862.10.
This is what that looks like:
Your maximum fortnightly payment from 20 September 2021
Single, no children
Single, with a dependent child or children
Single, 60 or older, after 9 continuous months on payment
Single principal carer granted an exemption from mutual obligation requirements for any of the following: foster caringnon-parent relative caring under a court orderhome schoolingdistance educationlarge family.
That’s in addition to the Energy Supplement, which is set at $8.80 for single recipients with no children, $9.50 for those with children and $7.90 for each person in a couple.
That takes the highest JobSeeker payment to $638.30 for singles and $874.10 for those with children.
The Age Pension, Carer Payment and Disability Support Pensions will also increase by $14.80 a fortnight for single recipients, taking it to a maximum rate of $967.50. Over the course of a year, the single pension will now be $25,155.
Couples will have their joint income increased by $22.40 to $1,458.60, or $37,923 together.
The Centrelink payments are adjusted twice a year in March and September in a bid to match the changing cost of living, with Social Services Minister Anne Ruston last week saying the payments will help Australians maintain their purchasing power.
“This is putting money in the pockets of all Australians who rely on our social security system and, in particular, older Australians,” she said.
However, according to welfare advocates, the new payments are still far from enough.
Centrelink payments lower than official poverty line
JobSeeker payments for single people – including the Energy Supplement – are $319.15 a week.
“Compared with last year when everyone receiving unemployment and related payments was provided extra support, this year more than 80 per cent are seriously struggling to survive,” Australian Council of Social Services social security program director Charmaine Crowe said on Monday.
“When people can’t afford to cover basic costs like food, rent, electricity, medicine and public transport, they find it harder to travel to get vaccinated and are more exposed to the risk of COVID-19.”
ACOSS said the Government desperately needs to increase social services payments, with CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie noting research finding that people in the lowest socio-economic group died of COVID-19 at four times the rate of those receiving the highest incomes.
She also noted that while the Government has introduced weekly $200 support payments for people receiving JobSeeker, they are only open to people who were working prior to lockdown.
As of 12 September, the Government had received 195,000 claims for the $200 Income Support payments and made payments to 152,000 people.
That reflects around 16 per cent of those receiving working-age payments, ACOSS found, arguing that around 800,000 people are missing out.
The ACOSS analysis also found that with 96 per cent of welfare recipients struggling with living costs, 41.5 per cent are not at risk of homelessness.
“The Federal Government must urgently extend Disaster Payments to all people on social security or without other incomes including those on temporary visas,” Goldie said.