Extract from an article by Peter Whiteford
Social security and household incomes in Australia
We can measure reliance on or use of social security using ABS statistics on income distribution. These show the proportion of households for whom social security cash benefits are the main source of income, that is, where social security payments are the largest single source of income usually 50% or more. Figure 1 shows these trends in Australia from 1994-95 to 2013-14.
Figure 1: Reliance on social security has been falling
% of households by age with social security as main source of income
Source: ABS, Household Income and Wealth, Cat. No. 6523.0, various years.
The numbers in Figure 1 refer to the proportion of households for whom social security payments (including Family Tax Benefits and other supplementary payments) constitute the largest single share of their annual income. This differs from the presentation of recipient numbers for social security in Figure 2 of Part 2 which refer to the proportion of individuals receiving any income from income support payments only at a point in time each year. While these differences in definition explain the differences in these numbers, the two series are generally quite consistent.
For example, an Age Pensioner couple will count as one household but two individuals. If the couple derive more than half of their income from investments they will not be counted as a recipient household, but they will still be counted administratively as individual recipients…(continues)
SOURCE: Peter Whiteford, “Social Security and Welfare Spending in Australia: Assessing Long-Term Trends (Part 3)”, Tax & Transfer Policy Institute, ANU, 31 July 2017
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