More than 7000 people with cancer are “languishing below the poverty line” on JobSeeker payments as low as $45 per day.
The Department of Social Services has told a Senate estimates hearing 7694 people receiving JobSeeker as of September 24 had “cancer” or “tumour” listed as their primary medical condition.
Greens senator Janet Rice labelled the figure “an indictment on our country”.
“We’ve got over 7000 people across the country who are struggling with cancer, being treated for cancer, who are languishing below the poverty line on JobSeeker”, she said on Thursday.
JobSeeker payments are $629.50 a fortnight, or $45 a day, for a single person with no children.
Eligibility for the Disability Support Pension has tightened over recent years.
A single person on the pension receives $882.20 a fortnight or $63 a day.
To qualify, someone must have a fully diagnosed, treated and stabilised condition that will last for more than two years.
The department declined to detail the number of people receiving JobSeeker and Youth Allowance payments on the grounds it wasn’t a number the government ever published.