An extra $25 a week for welfare recipients is "just not enough", according to a Hunter support service that has been on the frontline through the pandemic.
The Federal Government announced on Tuesday the permanent JobSeeker payment would be increased by $50 per fortnight from April 1, but that will be after the temporary $150 coronavirus supplement is cut completely from March 31.
Survivor's R Us founder Maria Martin said her organisation had experienced a surge in demand after each cut to support payments throughout the pandemic.
"It's like a wave each time," she said. "The first week or two when it's taken away they panic."
The Cardiff charity provides help to people who are unemployed, homeless or escaping domestic violence.
Ms Martin said for many clients on welfare benefits, up to 80 per cent of their payment was going towards rent and some were not able to secure rentals at all without a decent wage due to the strong real estate market.
"A $50 increase - I'm sorry just it's just not enough," she said. "That's just going to go towards rent or electricity bills. I thought $150 would have been better.
"I don't think the government realises how tough people are doing it.
"People are scared, especially families. They're mums and dads and one may have lost their job because of the coronavirus. They're wondering how they're going to feed their children."
Ms Martin said about 10 new people a day were reaching out to the service, which she described as a "basic support centre". She expected that demand to further increase come April 1.
"I think there's going to be a big impact," she said. "It's really sad."
St Vincent de Paul Society NSW said the $50 increase would still leave some people below the poverty line.
"While those of us campaigning for a permanent increase to JobSeeker will never knock back the rate going up, it's hard not to be sceptical at the numbers being discussed," St Vincent de Paul Society NSW CEO Jack de Groot said. "Importantly, we haven't seen evidence JobSeeker will be raised above the poverty line.
"In 2020, more than a third of people who sought assistance from Vinnies in NSW were receiving JobSeeker or its predecessor Newstart. About half of them needed help to buy food.
"People receiving JobSeeker should not be forced into a position where they require help from charities, especially in the numbers we are seeing them.
"What we've seen proposed is not nearly enough to help people who are forced into making terrible decisions between paying rent and eating."
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