A young event planner will be forced to live off just $6 a day for food when the federal government cuts JobKeeper payments later this month.
Sarah Marshall, 26, has been out of work during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the events and hospitality industries decimated by restrictions on public gatherings.
She signed on to the government’s wage subsidy scheme that currently hands up to $1,500 a fortnight to workers losing out on work because of the coronavirus crisis.
But on September 27 the handout will be slashed to $1,200 per fortnight, despite the extension of Stage Four stay-at-home orders in Melbourne, where she lives.
Sarah Marshall says she will be forced to live off just $6 a day for food when the federal government cuts JobKeeper payments later this month
‘The JobKeeper payment was a lifesaver for me, but it’s a dramatic drop from what my full-time salary was,’ Ms Marshalll told news.com.au.
‘The drop again means I won’t be able to afford my food for the week after paying my rent and my car loan, and I’ve got barely any savings after moving away from home at 19 and living in Sydney, now Melbourne.
‘The cut of JobKeeper only adds on more stress to an already difficult situation.’
After tax is taken out of Ms Marshall’s JobKeeper payment in three weeks time, she will receive about $540 a week.
Her rent is roughly $270 a week and her car loan costs $370 a month with an extra $100 for insurance, she said.
When Ms Marshall deducts money for essential bills like electricity and gas, she will be left with just $40 a week to pay for food – or about $6 a day.
On September 27 the handout will be slashed to just $1200 per fortnight, despite the extension of Melbourne’s Stage Four stay-at-home orders
Ms Marshall said: ‘The JobKeeper payment was a lifesaver for me, but it’s a dramatic drop from what my full-time salary was’
The successful events organiser says she will be forced to ask her parents for money to survive.
To make matters worse, she’s not able to visit her childhood friends and family in Western Australia due to state border closures.
Ms Marshall revealed she does not have a partner and lives alone, so feelings of isolation during lockdown have been compounded.
She said it’s a struggle just to get out of bed in the morning.
Now, all her focus is centered around not falling into a ‘huge slump’.
But Ms Marshall is able to apply for a top up in payments under the other subsidy scheme JobSeeker.
From September workers who are getting JobKeeper at a rate of $1,200 per fortnight may also be eligible for a part payment of JobSeeker which would bring in an extra $276 a fortnight.
This would leave Ms Marshall with about $25 per day for food.
JobKeeper is being extended beyond the end of September but businesses will need to continue proving they have suffered a 30 per cent drop in earnings and payment rates will be slahsed
Those affected by the coronavirus crisis are seen queuing outside a Centrelink office in Preston, Melbourne
A crowd is pictured outside the Centrelink office in Melbourne’s Abbotsford in March when the COVID-19 lockdowns began
The Victorian Labor government has been calling on Mr Morrison to introduce a program to that would assist Victorian workers during lockdown – which is set to continue until at least October 26 in metropolitan Melbourne.
So far, the federal government appears reluctant to keep shelling out the fortnightly $1,500 payments.
But one of Australia’s leading economists says Mr Morrison will be left with no choice as the ‘once in hundred years’ economic crisis deepens.
‘The government was hoping things would be bouncing back, people would be back in work and that everything was going to be brought back to normality,’ Digital Finance Analytics principal Martin North told Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday.
‘But I don’t think it is going to be feasible for the government to try and ride it out because we are not just looking at a few months – this crisis could echo for up to five years.
‘This cliff face is really stepping down dramatically… and we now have about one million people affected by greatly reduced income.
‘It’s not just Victoria. It’s also happening more broadly in other states… so we have to find a way to support them through this.’
Two women load their luggage into an Uber car at Sydney Airport after arriving on Jetstar flight 510 from locked-down Melbourne on August 5
How are the support payments changing from September?
* The $1500 fortnightly wage subsidy will continue until September 27
* From the end of September to January, JobKeeper will be reduced to $1200 for full-time workers and $750 for people working 20 hours or less
* From January to March, the full-time rate will be $1000 and part-time will reduce to $650
* Businesses turning over less than $1 billion will have to requalify for the program at both stages through showing a 30 per cent drop in revenue.
* Businesses with more than $1 billion in turnover have to demonstrate a 50 per cent fall
* The elevated unemployment benefit will remain at $1100 a fortnight until September 27
* From that date until the end of the year the $550 coronavirus supplement will be cut by $300 to make the overall fortnightly payment $800
* People will be able to earn up to $300 without having their payment reduced
* The mutual obligation rules requiring people to search for four jobs a month will restart on August 4
* Penalties for people refusing a job offer will be reintroduced
* Job search requirements will increase in September when the assets test will also return
* The permanent JobSeeker rate to take effect from January next year will be announced in the October 6 budget.