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Life on newstart allowance: a new reality for low-income single mothers
journal contributionposted on 2019-01-01, 00:00 authored by Hayley MckenzieHayley Mckenzie, C McHugh, Fiona McKayFiona McKay
In recent years, significant policy changes have been made to Australian welfare benefits for single parent families. These changes include the addition of work requirements and changes to the eligibility requirements for family payments. This paper explores the most recent welfare payment change for low-income single parents in 2013, whereby a change in eligibility requirements has seen many move from the Parenting Payment Single (PPS) to Newstart Allowance, a decreased fortnightly payment with a stricter income test. Twenty-three in-depth interviews were conducted with women who had recently experienced this payment change. All of the women were already struggling financially on the PPS, with the shift to Newstart Allowance further exacerbating their precarious financial position. This paper focuses on the financial impacts, the need to prioritise expenses and women’s capacity to make up the financial shortfall since moving off the PPS. This paper adds to the existing literature exploring the impacts of welfare policy change on single parent families.