Mum on the dole says JobSekeer has completely changed her life – allowing her to buy a new fridge and stop skipping meals
- A mum has been able to buy a new fridge with COVID-19 JobSeeker payments
- Mandy Weber received $550 per fortnight before it was upped to about $1,100
- Ms Weber struggled to sleep because she was scared she couldn’t afford to eat
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
A single mum on the dole has been able to buy a new fridge with her COVID-19 JobSekeer payments after she feared she wouldn’t be able to put food on the table.
Mandy Weber received $550 per fortnight on Newstart, which has been renamed JobSeeker, before the government upped the amount to $1,100 during the coronavirus pandemic.
Ms Weber told A Current Affair her family struggled to afford the bare necessities before the increase and she often went to bed stressed about her bank balance.
‘The last couple of nights since I received my first payment I’ve actually slept. I’ve not gone to bed worried about how I’m going to make the budget stretch,’ she said.
Mandy Weber has been able to buy a new fridge with her COVID-19 JobSekeer payments
Ms Weber, who is grateful for the JobSeeker payment, has now used the extra cash to buy a fridge.
‘It means the world to us. It gives us the dignity to be able to cover the bills that we need,’ she said.
‘It removes the embarrassment of grocery shopping and having to put items back because you don’t have enough money.’
Ms Weber said one of her children was working at McDonalds, and the other was employed at Subway, to help bring in more money for the family to pay bills and buy food.
Australian Council of Social Service Dr Cassandra Goldie welcomed the increased payments.
‘Twenty-five years with no increase to the unemployment payment. They did the right thing – and they now need to make sure they stay the long haul,’ she told A Current Affair.
Ms Weber received $550 per fortnight on Newstart, which has been renamed JobSeeker, before the government upped the amount to $1,100 during the coronavirus pandemic
Dr Goldie said some welfare users are doing things they’ve never been able to afford for the first time in their lives. She used the example of one woman who couldn’t remember the last time she ate meat.
While the government wants to build confidence in the economy, Dr Goldie said vulnerable Australians must also be protected.
‘We all must focus on jobs opening up, but when, how, what they are going to look like are uncertain,’ Dr Goldie said.
‘Knowing that the government has got your back for the long haul is really crucial at the moment.’
The JobSeeker payment – a doubling of the old Newstart dole payment to $1,100 per fortnight – and JobKeeper payment – a wage subsidy of $1,500 per fortnight to help keep people employed – have been legislated to run for six months.
But the government has suggested the latter could be wound back after a review of the scheme in June.
‘That payment level needs to be fixed above the poverty line – for a single person that is about $500 a week,’ Dr Goldie said.
The Business Council, along with Labor, the Greens, economists and the Reserve Bank have being calling for an increase in the dole benefit for some time.
Ms Weber said one of her children was working at McDonalds, and the other was employed at Subway, to help bring in more money for the family to pay bills and buy food