Covid-19 Australia: Student has to live on $20 a week after losing both of his jobs

Student, 19, is forced to live on $20 a week after losing both of his hospitality jobs during Covid – as he struggles to pay rent even with latest round of government financial aid

  • University of Sydney student living on $20 a week with little government aid
  • Due to the provisions of the benefit scheme, he barely has enough to pay the rent
  • Nineteen-year-old is disappointed with the little help he gets from the government

A University of Sydney student has been forced to live on $20 a week after government financial Covid benefits left him with little support.

The 19-year-old, whose identity has been withheld for privacy reasons, moved from his parents’ home in February this year after securing a spot on the university’s Bachelor of Health Science degree.

He moved to a shared flat in the inner-city suburb of Rozelle and took two jobs, one as a waiter and the other as a bartender to earn a living.

A young student at the University of Sydney lives on just $20 a week due to the Covid-19 pandemic and government benefits (stock image)

He would work 20 hours a week to pay off his rent, which was $225 a week, and received only $40 in benefits from the government’s youth allowance.

But when Covid nearly stopped his services and a $500 warning in the weekly Covid Disaster Payments meant he would not receive any benefits.

Until this week, anyone already receiving government aid was excluded from the Covid-19 surcharge, meaning they could be expected to survive on just $20 dollars.

“I can’t go back to my parents because of lockdown, I can’t get benefits,” the student said

“Should I live on the street?”

When the lockdown was declared at the end of June, he was immediately sacked from both jobs.

“I got the bad side of the stick with that one,” he said. “I had quite a bit of savings, there isn’t much left.”

The young man’s distraught parents have tried to send him as much money as possible, but he does not like to take the alms.

His mother works part-time while his father mows grass for a living.

On Wednesday, the NSW government announced changes to their financial aid policy in light of the additional four weeks of lockdown for Sydneysiders.

As with Jobkeeper, eligible employees can receive $750 per week if they lose 20 hours or more on work, while those who normally work less than 20 hours get $450 per week.

People who already receive government aid and who meet the other criteria can receive a weekly lump sum of $200 through the Covid Disaster Payment.

“This new level of payment recognizes the significant impact the new Covid-19 Delta strain is having on communities, businesses and workers,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, Senator Bridget McKenzie, Senator Anne Ruston and Senator Linda Reynolds said in a joint media statement. .

That means the young student gets his youth allowance plus $200, which just barely covers his rent.

Young student says disappointed but not surprised at how little the government is doing to help people in his position (stock image)

Young student says disappointed but not surprised at how little the government is doing to help people in his position (stock image)

Although disappointed, the student says he is not surprised at how little help he gets.

He was working at fast food chain Porto in early 2020 when he quit to work in a bar.

But because he had only been working there for two months when Covid struck, he was not eligible for Jobkeeper.

He also couldn’t get a job seeker because he was under 22 and eventually had to return to Porto for work.