People missing out on disaster recovery payments to lock down

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Riley, 21, normally completes payments with casual retail work at Target, but her shifts have been reduced to three hours every two weeks since the shutdown began.

Once the rent and utilities bills come in, that money becomes virtually nothing. “I have to turn to the family for groceries,” she said. “I’m definitely nervous because I don’t have access to disaster payments, even though I lost my job and have been working for years.”

Cameron Biggs, an engineering student in Wollongong, said his part-time retail business has also dried up, leaving him reliant on $600 fortnightly through the youth allowance.

The students were ignored in the financial support package, he said, adding that he fears how he will support himself if the lockdown is extended.

“If I cancel the youth allowance and go to the lower level of the disaster payment, I will earn an extra $150 every two weeks, but it is a gamble at best. There is no guarantee how long it will take to get the youth allowance back.”

Comment was requested from Federal Treasurer spokesman Josh Frydenberg, who directed Announces For an interview he gave on Sky News.

“If you are no longer working now…because of the shutdown, your welfare payments could increase in certain circumstances,” Frydenberg said Thursday. “We can’t get everyone to be in the exact same situation they were in before the lockdowns.”

Cassandra Goldie, chief executive of the Australian Council of Social Services, said students, single parents and older women were left out of financial help when they needed it most.

This is a public health issue. People cannot stay in their homes in a closed state if they lose their homes because they cannot afford to keep them.

Figures from the Federal Department of Social Services show there are 378,478 people in NSW receiving Social Security payments, not including children.

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The top five federal electors receiving social security in NSW are Fowler, Blacksland, Wariwa, Chifley and McMahon, almost all of which cover heavily closed local government areas such as Fairfield, Canterbury, Bankstown and Liverpool.

Housing and Work Homelessness spokeswoman Rose Jackson said Sydney residents can’t just live on payments such as youth allowance, ostode and job seeker.

“Last year, these people were either receiving JobKeeper through their employer or a COVID supplement on government income support,” she said.

“No one has been living in Sydney for long on government income support alone, but that’s what these people are being asked to do now.”

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