JobSeeker cuts to hit older Australians hardest

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It may have been a happy start to the new year for many, but for older Australians on JobSeeker, life just got a little tougher.

As of 1 January, 1.3 million JobSeeker recipients lost $100 a fortnight as the federal government reduced the coronavirus supplement from $250 to $150.

And while many may think younger Australians and families would be worst hit by the cuts, it seems older Aussies are bearing the brunt of the payment reduction.

The $250 coronavirus supplement was paid on top of regular welfare payments every two weeks from 25 September.

From 27 April to 25 September, the coronavirus supplement was $550 a fortnight.

The government reduced the supplement down to $150 on Friday and intends to end the scheme on 31 March.

According to new figures released by the Department of Social Services (DSS), fewer people aged 55 and older came off welfare payments during October and November than younger people, indicating they may be more dependent on the scheme. 

Just under four per cent (3.8 per cent) of people aged between 25 and 34 came off welfare, compared to 0.8 per cent of Australians aged 55 and over. 

The payment cut has been dubbed ‘cruel’ by Financial Counselling Australia chief executive officer Fiona Guthrie.

“People don’t have enough money to live on. It’s impossible,” she told the Daily Telegraph.

“This is almost the worst time to be trying to manage on less money because you have Christmas bills coming in and children going back to school.”

Many older workers who had a ‘better work ethic’ aren’t getting job interviews, says Small Business Australia founder Amanda Rose, who claimed it was more difficult for older people to get a job post pandemic.

“People who are over 50, they are less likely to get a job. They are looking for work and they have a better work ethic and want to work, but people aren’t hiring them,” she said.

“There are jobs out there especially for the younger ones, but I work with women who are 50 plus and they can’t get a job, they can’t get an interview.”

JobSeeker and Youth Allowance recipients dropped from 1.498 million in October to 1.454 million in November. Social Services Minister Anne Ruston says it’s a positive sign more recipients were finding work.

“It is pleasing that we are seeing Australians moving off social security payments and back into the workforce as economic confidence builds and the labour market outlook improves,” she said.

“As we go forward, the government’s absolute focus is on jobs creation through JobMaker and helping people to re-skill through JobTrainer because we know that getting a job is a real game changer in anyone’s life.”

As YourLifeChoices reported in October 2020, the JobMaker program favours workers under 35 and leaves older workers out in the cold.

In fact, Council on the Ageing (COTA) chief executive Ian Yates claims older workers are losing their jobs as a result of the JobMaker initiative.

“We are very worried,” he said.

“Already we’ve seen reports of older workers being laid off so they can be replaced with JobMaker workers.”

Former Labor leader Bill Shorten is concerned the payment cuts and the end of JobKeeper in March will mean more businesses will be forced to close, particularly in regional areas.

“We’re going to see more insolvencies … in 2021,” he said.

“For the young people living out of home, maybe their family live in the country, and they’re in the city trying to make a living, these cuts are just too tough, so I think the government should reconsider it because we’re not out of the woods yet with this pandemic.”

According to a Sydney Morning Herald report, a growing number of economists support a permanent increase to the base rate of JobSeeker and want a review of JobKeeper before it ends in March.

Are you receiving the coronavirus supplement? Will you cope once it’s gone?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Total Comments: 27
  1. 6

    what are people doing about it besides whinge and complain ?? which the govt ignores, how about a nation wide protest on this and other issues the people dont like, as long as we do nothing they wont , why should they??

    • 1

      What you are saying ’tisme’ is nothing new and is often the cause of getting 3rd rate governments who allow business to do whatever they like. The ordinary people that whinge and complain can do nothing else without the help of a strong man willing to bring the nation together to fight bad government and and profit greedy businesses.

  2. 1

    I’ve been retired for several years now but prior to that spent my last 8 years on the dole .. don’t recall the media or anyone else showing too much concern over dole payments for over 55s back then …. sympathy factor NIL!

    • 4

      I had written a lot about it .But most people did not read or did not care about my comments that i made . The L N P gave us the most acidic assets test , yet cut out our pensions and leave those most vulnerable people duck . Yet they stated that we should not complained whilst their wages and pensions were going up . We were taken for a very big ride by the L N P . They are just looking after their mates and their own pockets . If you think this way , i am sorry . As one person cannot change their attitudes . We need to group up . United we stand , or fall like a ton of bricks if we don`t .

  3. 2

    SO, you should all do what I have done, write to the key mongrels in govt who are responsible for JobSeeker, and tell them in no uncertain terms what you think of them and their scurrilous policies. ALSO, of course, come the next election, you WILL vote these cruel heartless assholes OUT OF OFFICE !! Won’t you ???

    • 2

      You are right fearless fly , do not vote for the LNP, they don’t care about you, only for themselves and their business mates. It’s s got me tossed how people are fooled into voting for them time after time.

    • 0

      ROFL, Albo, like Shorten before him, will not become PM at next election despite the LNP doing its best to give him an armchair ride. Hope rests in the youngsters bringing change because we know the majority of retirees will likely continue to vote LNP as they have done previously.

  4. 1

    I can remember when I was about 17 or 18 and I was unemployed I had to go to the Riverland to work or I would lose the dole. I went and really enjoyed it. There is a desperate shortage of people to pick this seasons fruit approx 50,000 people needed now. So we get them in from Vanuatu to pick our mangoes. Why shouldn’t jobseeker people have been sent up to do it? Many don’t want to work which is always a problem. I am retired and could probably only manage alternate days to work otherwise I would go.
    The aged pension, disability allowance, unemployment all need a decent increase and that is, desperately needed but will our blind government see that?????

  5. 5

    This was predicted as soon as the supplement was announced. When people are given something it is extremely hard to claw it back. When the pandemic struck, unemployment increased and job advertising ceased so the JobSeeker was raised to help those seeking work as well as JobKeeper being created to ensure that businesses could retain their key staff for the time that businesses were allowed to re-open. Keeping JobSeeker at the pandemic rate may lead to a disincentive to those seeking work.

    • 0

      Not may lead to a disincentive to find work, it already has!

    • 1

      record new employment since June would seem to contradict your contention of JobSeeker being a disincentive to work. Remember there are many ineligible for JobSeeker support that would also like to work but struggling to find opportunities.

  6. 1

    If over Preservation Age for Super can access some of that to supplement the Jobseeker payment.

    • 0

      Yes, you can, but Super is there for your retirement, not to help prop up a totally inadequate dole payment. Do that and then you have nothing, forcing people onto aged pension, which is exactly what the govt doesn’t want. Been there done that. Forced out of my job at age 64, I could not get any job and I had to dive into my super. I was lucky it was only 20 months, some people have to do it for years.

    • 0

      sunnyOz they are not going to increase Jobseeker, or if they do, not by very much. I meant that someone could access their Super for the $100 /fortnight the Coronavirus Supplement had reduced by, not necessarily plunder it.

    • 0

      there are many older unemployed already accessing super and savings to fund themselves while ineligible for JobSeeker support – the suspension of the assets test provided a couple of months respite until its resumption in September.

    • 0

      Yes Farside, although it was disappointing watching people in their 50s and 60s with hundreds of thousands in the bank claiming Jobseeker payment, that mentality needs to stop.

  7. 4

    OMG – Have ALL you OLD FARTS put your brains on ice?? The Government is NOT a bottomless pit of money, remember you pay taxes which get used to fund ALL of Government activities.

    Honestly, Age Pensioners (of which I am one) have done very nicely out of the action taken by Government. 2 x $750 pmts and 2 x $250 pmts, so we could go spend the money which helps the economy.

    To fearlessfly, you were a dole bludger, 8 years without working REALLY, you should have taken any bloody job you could do. Washing dishes in cafes etc. You sir are bone lazy!!

    I agree the amount of the Age Pension which was based on an extremely now out-old-date formula needs to address that 2 cannot live as cheaply as 1. Age Pension Payments have not kept up with the level of wages rises or cost increases. The ones who do it hardest are those on 100% Age Pension and rent in the private market.

    Again their is a limit to Public Housing – paid for from taxes paid – I strongly believe when a property rented to parents and they have both died, then whoever is living in that many bedroomed property gets moved into much smaller premises. This allows families access to a home.

    You whingers have got me on my band wagon, I lived and worked in the same suburban area for 25 years – I worked for Centrelink. I know what the coal face looks and feels like first hand. My heart goes out to all the staff who are trying valiantly to get on top of all the additional stress being put on them the the hierarchy of the organisation. When they start cutting jobs from the top down I will believe change is happening. Oh my wonderful superannuation pension has risen in the past 10 years since I retired from $25,000 per annum to a staggering $26,000 per annum.

    None of us are entitled to anything from our Government, we may be eligible for some financial assistance, but it is all in our hands.

    If you want change, then put pen to paper, follow the guidelines for contacting a Parliamentarian and get on with it. If you use threatening language, swear or be abusive in any way your letter ends up in the shredder, it will not be responded to.

  8. 2

    This new format Comments facility was obviously programmed by a 4 year old. There’s now no capability that I can see to edit or delete your post, and the Reply post does not stay associated with the post you are replying to. So listen up you YourLifeChoices editors, the revamp of the Comments facility is, in my view, an abject FAILURE !!!

    • 1

      I too, like you fearlessfly, had some issues with the change in the forum section of the website. I emailed the administrators and the problem was solved. I didn’t feel it was necessary to rant and rave publicly to achieve a result. It worked for me.

    • 3

      I fearlessfly. The new platform is awful and full of glitches.

      Horace, no-one is ranting and raving as you suggest and just for the record, my contact with the administrators has gone unacknowledged not to mention unanswered and much less actually fixed. If fearlessfly has done the same I can empathise with their frustration.

    • 2

      Well KSS, I classify this “So listen up you YourLifeChoices editors, the revamp of the Comments facility is, in my view, an abject FAILURE !!!” as a rant. Perhaps we disagree on semantics.

    • 2

      We can always stop making comments. Since the change I do not look at the site all that much any more and hardly make a comment. You can all do the same, pointless complaining. Go with the flow.

  9. 0

    We certainly do !

  10. 0

    Ok,but only the persons that show that they want to work, increase the basic unemployment benefit, give them a 10% increase, and if they want more offer them a further 10%-15% but it requires a “work for the dole” system to be introduced,in other words,”if you want it,you work for it” say 6 days a fortnight gets you the extra 15% in the form a subsity which means it is not counted as income, look at the food waste,fruit and vegy waste because there are no Aussie pickers,fly in fly out taking Australian money back to their country increasing those countries economy with our Australian Dollars, what is wrong with putting our population and country first and putting the extra cash into our economy and give the Australian population a fair go to enjoy our Australian fresh products home grown and home raised,
    well time to step down off my butter box I have had my say,good bye Australia,for the time being lets hope and pray that we in Australia will return to the days of yesterday.



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