Everything you need to know about this week’s announcement of a rise in JobSeeker plus how single mums are reacting….
By Jason Bryce
From 1 April 2020, the Morrison government is raising the base rate of JobSeeker by $50 but axing the Coronavirus Supplement of $150. That means a NET result of $100 less in your pocket.
What will JobSeeker pay from 1 April?
For single parents on JobSeeker, the current full JobSeeker base rate is currently $762. From 1 April, the parenting base rate of JobSeeker will be $662 per fortnight.
What are the current Family Tax Benefit rates?
Family Tax Benefit Part A is paid per child and the current maximum rates (until adjusted again in September 2021) are $189.56 per child per fortnight up to 12 years and $246.54 per child 13 to 15 years, or up to 19 years for students.
The maximum FTB Part A Supplement for 2021 is $781.10, paid at the end of financial year and used to balance your payments against income.
Many single parents also get Family Tax Benefit Part B, which is paid per family per fortnight. The maximum rate of FTB Part B is currently $161.14, when your youngest child is 0 to 5 years of age and $112.56 when your youngest child is 5 to 18 years old.
The maximum FTB Part B Supplement for 2021 will be $379.60 per family.
How much is rent assistance for single parents?
Rent assistance for parents ranges up to $185.36 (maximum) for parents with three children. For a parent with one or two kids, the maximum rent assistance is $164.08.
Rent assistance is set at 75 cents per dollar of rent paid, up to these caps.
What are people saying about the JobSeeker changes?
Firstly, the Prime Minister said the changes are fair.
“Welfare is a safety net, not a wage supplement,” said Scott Morrison, “We want to get the balance right between providing support for people and incentives to work.”
Labor’s spokesperson for Centrelink matters, Linda Burney, told ABC Radio yesterday (Thursday) that the opposition will approve the $50 per fortnight increase. So the change is expected to go through the House of Representatives.
Greens Senator, Senator Rachel Siewert moved a motion in the Senate for JobSeeker to be raised to the poverty line. The motion was successful and was supported by a majority of senators but is not in any way binding on the government.
Minister for Employment, Michaelia Cash announced changes to mutual obligation, including the controversial employer hotline for dobbing in job seekers who decline a job offer and said some job seekers are cheating the system.
“Most job seekers are doing the right thing and trying to find employment, however, a small minority are actively trying to game the system.”
Michelle O’Niell from the ACTU replied: “Imagine a circumstance where someone is treated badly at the interview, where they’re harassed, or perhaps sleazy propositions put to them at the point where they’re going for a job.
“Then you’re saying that employer can dob in that unemployed woman for the fact that she’s knocked back a job? This is dangerous territory to give power to employers to further punish people who are simply looking for work.”
Dr Cassandra Goldie from the Australian Council of Social Services said the $50 rise “is a heartless betrayal of millions of people, including hundreds of thousands of children, single parents, people with disability, older people, students and people with illness and injury.”
“It’s a cruel decision,” said Dr Goldie, “It comes as devastating news for so many and will have serious consequences for people’s lives.”
The Senate voted this week to refer the government’s JobSeeker legislation to an Inquiry.
What single mums are saying about JobSeeker changes:
Single mum Careen is studying and posted in a single parent Facebook support group:
“I believe that Jobseekers is a payment to enable people to put a roof over their heads and provide food for their family. . .
“[My tutor] the other day said that I should have printed my resources at uni despite me saying that I had no money. I had $0 on my printing card as I exhausted my budget but that apparently means that I can prep my own resources and I was severely scolded for it. Living on $40 per day, looking after my two sons and I now have the pressure of providing holistic resources for a classroom. I am prepared to be failed but I will still show up. I am sick of the stress of survival. On Tuesday, I have decided to go to my local federal member to tell them a story of survival and having to jump through these hoops just so we can become our independent selves.”
Mum Marina Gardner, whose bio states she works at McCafe, described the changes as “an insult to everyone on Jobseeker.”
Disabled parent Skye commented on Facebook that the changes are “a start.”
Jodie Atkins from NSW’s central coast said on Facebook that: “The Government don’t care and don’t have a heart.”
Vicki Jamieson said “charities were overwhelmed with demand from parents sending kids back to school.“
Tammy Raymond urged JobSeekers to “speak up” and posted that: “The ridiculous hidden costs that this lowly payment creates affects everyone.”
Single mum Kellie Chandler posted: “The current welfare system is a mess and needs a complete overhaul” and urged the government to put single mums back on parenting payment.
Single parents and other people on JobSeeker are being urged to ‘share your story’ with these stories to sent to senators:
“Can you share your story to help build pressure on members of Parliament to legislate an increase that is more than a measly $3.57 a day?”