A woman able to buy new lighting so she can eat meals in the evening, the ability to visit the dentist and afford fresh food are among the benefits of the increased COVID supplement in Tasmania, stories provided to TasCOSS have detailed.
Seven stories were included in the organisation's submission to a Senate inquiry examining the extension of coronavirus payments, with a public hearing held on Tuesday.
The government plans to reduce the fortnightly rate of JobSeeker - which was $1115 up until September - from $815 to $715 starting from January 1 and finishing on March 31. This new rate would be $150 above the pre-COVID Newstart level.
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A Northern Tasmanian woman, aged 60, provided details to TasCOSS of how the initial increased had allowed her to drastically improve her quality of life.
"New lights in the kitchen and bathroom, have the car serviced, just things I've had to put off while other things were more important," she said.
"The lights were $110 and have made such a big difference because now I can cook past 6pm. But for years I just couldn't justify spending that, so I just had to cook my tea before 6 o'clock and eat while I could still see."
A 25-year-old student from the North spoke of being able to afford the dentist, but was concerned about the recent and upcoming rate reductions.
"We're going into a worse economy than when we started getting this money, trying to find work that isn't there," she wrote.
"The new rate has made an extraordinary difference. It means that we eat well, we actually have money to buy some meat, some vegetables," she told TasCOSS.
"The new rate meant we've been able to pay our car registration for the next year upfront."
In other stories, a man was able to reduce the amount of firewood he had to produce and sell from his property and could buy a new chainsaw, while a Northern woman stated that the arthritis in her legs prevented her from working and she was fearful of the reduced rate.
They are among the 54,000 Tasmanians on JobSeeker.
Permanent increase must be adopted: TasCOSS
In the submission, submitted by chief executive officer Adrienne Picone, TasCOSS argued for a permanent increase in JobSeeker - or the coronavirus supplement - to ensure it remained above the poverty line.
"We urge the government to ensure income support payments for working-age people do not return to below-poverty levels," she wrote.
"We also urge the government to retain important improvements in the system that will help people access income support quickly when they need it."
The organisation urged the government to allow the maximum rate of JobSeeker to increase to current pension rates and be indexed to wages and prices, with a 50 per cent increase in Rent Assistance.