Raise the Rate for Good – Poverty is a Political Choice #RaiseTheRateforGood

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Raise the rate for good National day of Action Wed 27 April 2022

So, as I’m typing this, I’m overly full of ice creams because  I was just on the phone to Centrelink trying to sort out the last of the financial paperwork they need for my DSP application. I’d sent through my partner’s tax return SUMMARY, but they needed the full thing, and then I spent time trying to screenshot it off the ato site because that seemed to be the easiest way? Ugh, who knows? She’ll get back to me if she needs more. It’s been a process, hasn’t it? From applying in September, to the December rejection, to getting the medical approval last month and now getting all the financial information together to prove that my partner shouldn’t be supporting me.

Abolish the partner income test, mmmkay?

But first what we’re here to do is raise our voices together and call for a raise of the JobSeeker payment and all other payments to ensure recipients are not struggling below the poverty line.

my jobseeker payment

I’m currently, as I type this, still on JobSeeker, which as the partner rate is a grand total of $42.59 a day. $52.40 a day including rent assistance. So that’s less than the $46 a day bandied around, because they anticipate you need less money if you’re in a couple, and while yeah, there’s some shared expenses, I really don’t think it’s justified to halve the pharmaceutical allowance since I have a partner. We can’t share meds, you know? $3.10 a fortnight is laughable when you see my pharmacy bills each month.

chemist bill

Hilarious.

When (I say when) I get converted over the DSP, I’ve calculated I’ll be getting $53 a day. I assume I’ll be getting the same rent assistance, so it’ll be $63 including rent assistance. Score.

I use sarcasm as a defence mechanism.

The amount it should be raise to is up for discussion, but many agree that the $88 a day rate that puts the payment at the Henderson Poverty Line would be a great point. I know the Greens are promising this, however Labor has disappointed all by saying they have no plans to raise the rate of JobSeeker, and no plans yet to even review it, citing the “raise” given by the LNP when they took away the Covid supplement as seemingly enough by their standards.

poverty line chart vs jobseeker payment

 

I’ve been on JobSeeker with no obligations to look for jobs for a couple of years now. Cantrelink have acknowledged repeatedly that I’m not well enough to look for or maintain employment  but there is not financial acknowledgement of that for so many. I’m finally getting DSP, but it was a fight. I could easily have taken the rejection in December and been on rolling medical certificates once more.

The rate of welfare payments needs to be liveable across the board, as the barriers to work are real for so many, and even once people DO get work, they’re still technically below the poverty line at the point they earn too much to receive JobSeeker. How shit is that?

Also, as I’m confirmed not to be able to supplement my income with work, then the argument that the payment is low as an incentive to work is more than ridiculous. And does not wash at all for how low the Disability Support Pension is with the rate of inflation and cost of living pressures ballooning in recent years. Once I get DSP my payment will be finally more than the total rent my partner and I pay, so there’s that?

Raise the rate. Of all payments. Stop giving us excuses as to why people should suffer and struggle to meet their basic needs. Stop making us beg, because people are over begging and might need to take a bit more direct action.

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