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Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

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‘Grandfather’ arrangements for PPS – entitlement or inequity?

Since it was announced in the 2012-13 Budget that ‘grandfathering’ arrangements for single parents receiving Parenting Payment Single (PPS) would cease on 1 January 2013, there has been considerable concern expressed at the plight of these recipients who would see their weekly income support payments reduced by over $130 per fortnight for those on the maximum rate, and in some cases not be entitled to any income support and associated benefits if they had high enough earnings. However there appears to have been little recognition that these changes also mean that those who have been in receipt of PPS continuously since June 2006 are now being treated equally to the majority of single parents... Read more...

Why the Pensioner Concession Card is so valuable

The Minister for Human Services, Senator Kim Carr, has ordered Centrelink to apologise to tens of thousands of single parents who were mistakenly told that they were no longer eligible for a Pensioner Concession Card (PCC) after being moved from Parenting Payment Single (PPS) to Newstart Allowance on 1 January 2013. The letter to parents affected by changes to PPS eligibility arising from the Social Security Legislation Amendment (Fair Incentives to Work) Act 2012 advised them to destroy their concession cards even though most would still be eligible for a PCC. The PCC is a valuable supplementary benefit which provides access to a wide range of discounts and subsidies. The following explains... Read more...

Can single parent families survive on Newstart? It might depend on where they live

There has been considerable media coverage in recent days about the implementation of the new income support arrangements applying from 1 January for single parents whose youngest child is over 8, who are being moved from Parenting Payment Single (PPS) on to Newstart Allowance (NSA). Some of this coverage implies that these families will now be required to live on $35 a day. While this is not the case, with total entitlements being significantly higher than this, the ability of single parent households to live a reasonable lifestyle while solely dependent on income support will be heavily influenced by where they live. This FlagPost looks at the impact of different accommodation arrangement... Read more...

Who is on Newstart?

Given the current Senate Committee inquiry into the adequacy of the allowance payment system for jobseekers and others it is perhaps worth considering what sort of people are reliant on these payments? Recent data released by the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs enables us to explore the characteristics of those receiving these allowances as at June 2011.What allowances are people receiving?The major payment for jobseekers is Newstart Allowance (NSA). Other payments with more than 10 000 recipients which are currently linked to the NSA rates are Partner Allowance (PA), Widow Allowance (WA) and Parenting Payment (Partnered)(PPP). PA is no longer open ... Read more...

Despite the GFC, income support reliance remains low

The Senate Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Committee is currently holding two separate but related enquiries, one into the adequacy of the allowance payment system for jobseekers and others, and the other into legislation to remove the ‘grandfathering’ transitional arrangements for parenting payment recipients (among other changes). In this context, it is timely to look at the impact of previous changes to the welfare system and consider what proportion of the working age population is affected by issues being considered by the Committee. Despite the impact of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), which led to a slight increase over the period to 2010, the level ... Read more...

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