It is widely understood that households with low economic resources and poor labour market attachment are at considerable risk of food insecurity in Australia. However, little is known about variations in food insecurity by receipt of specific classes of social assistance payments that are made through the social security system. Using newly released data from the 2016 Household Expenditure Survey, this paper reports on variations in food insecurity prevalence across a range of payment types. We further investigated measures of financial wellbeing reported by food-insecure households in receipt of social assistance payments. Results showed that individuals in receipt of Newstart allowance (11%), Austudy/Abstudy (14%), the Disability Support Pension (12%), the Carer Payment (11%) and the Parenting Payment (9%) were at significantly higher risk of food insecurity compared to those in receipt of the Age Pension (<1%) or no payment at all (1.3%). Results further indicated that food-insecure households in receipt of social assistance payments endured significant financial stress, with a large proportion co-currently experiencing “fuel” or “energy” poverty. Our results support calls by a range of Australian non-government organisations, politicians, and academics for a comprehensive review of the Australian social security system.
SOURCE: Temple J, Booth S, Pollard C. “Social Assistance Payments and Food Insecurity in Australia: Evidence from the Household Expenditure Survey.” MDPI, 4 February 2019.
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