Well, if you’re over 55 and claiming Newstart Allowance then the chances are that you are perceived to be taking advantage of welfare payments, but do you agree?
Unemployment is rising five times faster for those in their 50s than their 20s, according to The Australian, but rather than trying to find work, the over-55s seem happy enough to remain on the dole, or at least this is what the Employment Department would have you believe. There has been a nine per cent increase over the last year in this demographic, but perhaps this is due to the lack of employment opportunities available to older Australians, rather than them being happy not to work and claim the dole.
Jobseekers over 55 only have to complete 15 hours of voluntary work per week to be eligible for Newstart Allowance and have no requirement to look for employment. However, a proposal by the Employment Department would see those unemployed under 60 required to search for full time work. In a submission to a Senate inquiry on proposed changes to Newstart eligibility, the Employment Department stated, “Given the ageing workforce and the fact that most people aged 55 have many potentially productive years ahead of them, it is no longer acceptable for 55-59 year old job seekers to effectively retire on Newstart while undertaking a bit of voluntary or part-time work.” However, it’s worth noting that of the 45,000 jobseekers aged between 55-59, only 6000 are actually receiving Newstart Allowance by volunteering.
The recently introduced Restart program, which sees employers given incentives of up to $10,000 for employing someone over 50, who has been unemployed for six months or more, has seen only 384 Australians find work through the scheme.
Newstart Allowance is currently paid at $258 per week, $130 less than the Age Pension.
Read more at News.com.au
Has the Employment Department been misguided in its use of language? Should more be done to help older Australians find work? Or do you think that more older Australians than before are happy not to work and claim Newstart Allowance?
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