Changes to welfare payments approved

(Australian Associated Press)



Changes taking effect on July 1:

* Unemployed people will no longer be able to repeatedly use drug or alcohol dependency as a reasonable excuse to avoid their job-seeking requirements unless they agree to seek treatment;

* Stronger penalties will apply for persistent and deliberate non-compliance;

* Welfare claimants will generally receive payments from the date they lodge their claim, rather than from the date they first contact Centrelink;

* Job seekers will be encouraged to start looking for work as soon as possible, with their payments to commence from the date they attend their first appointment with their employment service provider; and

* The widow allowance will be closed to new entrants and the payment will cease in 2022, when the last of existing recipients will be transferred to the age pension.
Change taking effect on September 20:

* Job seekers aged 55 to 59 years for their first 12 months on payment will be unable to fully meet their requirements through volunteer work alone.
Change taking effect on March 20, 2020:

* A new JobSeeker Payment will be introduced as the main working age payment, consolidating seven existing payments.


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