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“Oh my gosh. I’m not managing.”

These were the words of a single mother from Melbourne when she began to feel the economic pressure of the coronavirus pandemic.

Amber McGregor now often does not eat in order to feed her children.

Amber McGregor (right) with her youngest daughter. (Supplied)

At the end of each month, after the groceries, bills and rent are paid, the Melbourne mother of two is very familiar with the vision of an empty bank account.

“I have nothing left. Absolutely nothing,” McGregor told

The 44-year-old is one of 750,000 Australians in the Disability support pension (DSP), according to the latest data from the Department of Social Services from 2018.

And she says it’s only enough to survive.

Ms. McGregor has battled a number of diagnoses for the better part of 25 years, including fibromyalgia, depression, severe anxiety, and chronic pain.

She receives $ 926 a fortnight from DSP, which is her only income, $ 400 of which is eaten with rent.

While it’s the highest DSP rate for a single person, once McGregor’s youngest daughter turns 18 in 2022, she says her payments will drop to about $ 500.

“In fact, I’m behind on my gas and electric because I just don’t have anything extra to put into those two bills,” McGregor said.

“I had to cancel my Netflix and Stan accounts because I can’t afford it.

“I don’t have money to fix my car that broke down.”

Ms McGregor (left) with her eldest daughter and mother, whom she has not seen in months because she cannot afford to travel to their home in rural Victoria. (Supplied)

“The cost of living is higher for people with disabilities to begin with, and then the pension itself is insufficient for people not only to cover the normal cost of living, but also the cost of living with a disability,” said the director. AFD Ross executive. Joyce said.

A person with a disability needs an average of an additional $ 107 per week above their disposable income to achieve the same standard of living as a person without a disability.

the Inequalities in Living Standards: Evidence for Better Income Support for People with Disabilities The report, commissioned by AFD last year, found that couples’ households needed an additional $ 152 per week compared to an additional $ 46 among single adult households.

Households with severely disabled members need an additional $ 173 per week compared to $ 87 for those with moderate disabilities.

The coronavirus has only made it worse

As the pandemic took its toll on the economy, it hit people’s back pockets.

Amber McGregor says the people at the DSP are a “forgotten bunch” during the coronavirus pandemic. (Supplied)

Ms. McGregor says that while most have felt financial stress this year, people with disabilities like her are the “forgotten group” of the pandemic.

“During the confinement, when you could only go out for what was necessary and everyone was running out of toilet paper, it was almost impossible for me to buy in bulk,” he said.

Mrs. McGregor had no choice but to withdraw money from her rental account.

She says she is still behind on her gas and electric bills as a result.

“We manage. We have no other choice.”

JobKeeper It has guaranteed that those economically affected by the pandemic are paid 30 percent or more.

The scheme originally provided a flat rate of $ 1500 per fortnight. Now, people can receive up to $ 1200 per fortnight depending on the hours worked.

But DSP recipients have not been so lucky.

“We believe that the increased payment that was given to people for benefits during the course of the pandemic should have applied to people in the DSP, but this was not the case,” Joyce said.

“Instead, they received two batches of payments of $ 750 that are equal to $ 1,500 that people with retirement pension and disability support pension received.”

This equates to only two weeks in the first round of JobKeeper.

DSP recipients will be among the 5 million Australians who will receive Financial Support Payments that will be delivered in two installments of $ 250, one in December this year and the other in March 2021.

A spokesperson for the Department of Social Services (DSS) told that DSP recipients have not had access to increased financial support during the coronavirus pandemic as the pension is a long-term payment.

“(DSP) recipients are not expected to work to support themselves due to their age, disability or caregiving responsibilities,” the DSS spokesperson said.

“The Coronavirus Supplement is a temporary measure for job seekers in recognition that the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic directly hampered people’s ability to find and retain paid employment during 2020.”

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