BAS’ Vision for Beneficiaries (part 4): Individuals
This is our fourth segment in our series of suggestions for the future based on our vast experience helping people on benefits.
In addition to raising benefit levels, we advocate for individual benefit entitlement (not tested on a partner’s income), which gives clients more independence and options.
Joseph and Diane were both working, but neither was on a high income. Diane worked 40 hours/week (and was receiving minimum wage of 15.75/hour). Joseph, who had been working 20 hours/week (at $18/hour), lost his job due to economic downturn. Whilst they were able to receive more from their family tax credits and accommodation supplement, he was not eligible for any benefit on his own and they suddenly had to survive on ~$150/week less than they had previously. They didn’t know how to cope with this sudden loss or where to trim their budget of necessary costs.
This sort of situation is becoming more common and could be solved by individual benefit entitlement, which would enable Joseph to receive an unemployment benefit until he was able to find another paying job. Not having enough money for weekly costs causes incredible stress and reduces people’s chances of securing work, meaning the cycle gets worse.