An out-of-work hospitality worker has opened up about his struggle to support his family of eight on JobSeeker payments.
The man, known only as JP, was already caring for his oldest nephew and a friend’s child when his sister-in-law had serious mental health episode and he now cares for her and her four children as well.
The increase in his dependents came at an unfortunate time as the coronavirus pandemic escalated, forcing cafes and restaurants to close or offer takeaway only.
JP was suddenly without a job as he cared for seven others.
The generous caregiver became emotional as he explained how he had to rely on the JobSeeker benefit because he did not qualify for JobKeeper.
‘I wasn’t eligible for JobKeeper because of the fact that I, like most hospitality workers, have moved around and I moved back to a former employer,’ he said in a video posted to Twitter.
‘I’m currently still without a job.’
A person on JobSeeker with dependent children is eligible for a $1,162 fortnightly payment, $550 of which is a coronavirus supplement.
From September JP’s COVID-19 benefit will be reduced from $550 to $250 a fortnight as the government cuts back on its coronavirus wage subsidy program.
The announcement has left JP upset and stressed as he still has to support seven others.
‘I’m now at the point where I’m trying to raise a family of eight on JobSeeker and as you can probably tell I’m just getting a little bit stressed and a little bit upset by it all,’ he said.
Australians have rallied to support him after Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese shared the clip on Twitter.
‘Hoping he gets more support and help as needed,’ one person wrote.
‘What a good human. How can we help?’ another asked.
JP is just one of many Australians calling on the government not to cut JobKeeper payments.
On Tuesday Scott Morrison announced the wage subsidy, which currently helps 3.5million Australians, would be reduced in phases as the economy recovers from lockdown.
The payment was due to end on September 27, but instead it will be decreased from $1,500 to $1,200-a-fortnight.
A lower rate of $750-a-fortnight will go to people who worked fewer than 20 hours a week in February, before coronavirus struck.
The two-tiered system has been brought in because one in four casuals are earning more on JobKeeper than when they worked.
From 4 January, the payments will be reduced to $1,000-a-fortnight for full time staff and to $650-a-fortnight for those who worked fewer than 20 hours.
Fewer businesses will be eligible for JobKeeper as they must continue to prove a revenue decline of 30 per cent compared to the period before coronavirus.
Many will not meet this threshold because business has picked up since lockdown ended.
This means the number of people on JobKeeper is expected to decline from 3.5million now to 1.4million between October and December, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.
One million people are expected to receive the payment from January.