Policy on Social Security
At present, there are a great many different social security benefits. Some beneficiaries get paid next to nothing, and others get paid quite a hefty amount, for no good reason we can see. If we are elected, we will pay only three different social security benefits:
- Unemployment Benefit
- Child Benefit
- Old Age Pension
Currently, people on the unemployment benefit get roughly $250 a week, while people on the disability pension get $385 a week. Many of the people on the disability pension have pretended to be disabled to get the extra $135 a week. Clearly a person on the disability pension would not want to get a job, as that would lead to the extent of his or her disability being called into question. If the unemployed and disabled people were paid at the same rate, there would be no incentive for bludgers to pretend to be disabled. Hence we say that the disabled should get unemployment benefit.
The argument is made that unemployed people are only temporarily unemployed, and when they are working they can afford to buy new personal belongings. The disabled, on the other hand, never have access to serious cash, so should get a higher rate than the unemployed. In reply to this, we point out that many of the unemployed have been without serious cash for so long that they are in the same financial position as the disabled.
In view of the large numbers of people who have been without serious cash for prolonged periods, and need to replace their personal belongings, we propose that the level of benefit should depend on how long someone has been on social security since the age of 16 years. Every five years, the rate should go up by $35 a week. If someone is working 20 hours a week for a year, that should count as being unemployed for six months.
Accordingly, we propose the following rates of benefits for people aged between 16 and 65:
|Years Out of Work||Weekly Benefit|
Currently, beneficiaries get rent assistance. In our view, this encourages people to live in capital cities, when we want them to live in regional cities. We would scrap rent assistance. Also, people get their benefits cut if they get married or start living in a de facto relationship. We want to encourage people to get married, so we will not penalize them by reducing their benefits. In many cases, the decrease due to scrapping rent assistance will be cancelled out by the increase due to there being no penalty for living in a relationship.
In addition to the abovementioned rates, we are proposing $450 per week each for Old Age Pensioners, and $150 per week for each dependent child or young person under 18 years. Also, under our policies, Old Age Pensioners will not have to pay council rates on their main property and one other property.