Who ‘deserves’ income support and why? An important new study on the social legitimacy of benefits sheds light on why some groups and some benefits are more favoured than others. This helps explain why the Newstart Allowance is $160pw less than the pension, why there are periodic ‘moral panics’ over the so-called ‘rorting’ of the DSP, and why people are concerned when millionaires receive Age Pensions. It also helps inform the design of social security payments.
The Welfare Review Report has finally been released. It advocates a “new flexible social support system that is simpler, sustainable, coherent and outcomes focused”.
The Review proposes to replace the present tangled mess of 20 income support payments paid at various levels (see figure)
with ‘five main payments’ (see figure):
- Tiered Working Age Payment
- Supported Living Pension
- Child and Youth Payment
- Carer Payment
- Age Pension.
Sounds good, and a welcome change of tone from last year’s Budget. But unscrambling this egg is not as simple as it sounds, and nor is the recommended payment structure.