Income support volatility in Australian households
How common are late receipt of Newstart Allowance and volatile payment amounts?
This study by the Brotherhood of St Laurence, RMIT University and Australian National University focuses on the payment patterns of Newstart Allowance, the income support payment for those who are unemployed and looking for work.
Fortnightly Newstart payments may change depending on wages reported, suspensions or other factors. This can have a damaging effect on household income. International research finds incomes that vary by more than 25% from one pay period to the next lead to higher risks of household financial hardship and emotional conflict.
Understanding how often and how much Newstart payments fluctuate gives an insight into a key factor that increases the risks of financial hardship.
The study will draw on a Department of Social Security database that records every Australian’s interactions with Centrelink since the year 2000. This daily, event-based data provides an important opportunity to examine individual patterns of NSA receipt over an 18-year period, and especially since 2009, the year after the global financial crisis.