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Youth



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Minister for Social Security Senator Graham Richardson

M EDIA'REIJEASE

YOUTH

Young people - and especially homeless youth - will get better access to Social Security benefits as a result of the 1991-92 Budget.

The Minister for Social Security, Senator Graham Richardson, said that young people had been missing out for too long on getting appropriate assistance.

"The plight of our homeless kids has been one of this society's hidden problems. They have been ignored for too long. The problems they face are extraordinary," Senator Richardson said. "The Commonwealth is seeking to work with the States to do more for disadvantaged young Australians".

The Budget reforms to youth payments will:

. make the Young Homeless Allowance (YHA) available on a weekly basis from January, 1992. Many homeless young people do not have the skills to manage their finances on a fortnightly basis. This measure complements an

initiative to reach all homeless young people with financial counselling through the Financial Information Service.

. from 20 March 1992 extend rent assistance to single people under 18 years old. For a 16 or 17 year old living away from home, this is worth up to $62 per fortnight;

. make Special Benefit easier to get for people aged 16 to 20 years old from low income families. From October 1 this year, these young people will not have to wait the normal 13 week Education Leaver Deferment Period before they are entitled to income support.

. extend eligibility for the higher, independent rate for Job Search Allowance, Sickness Allowance and Special Benefit to State wards in foster care. This will apply from 1 January 1992 where no other

allowance is paid by the relevant State authority. It will improve the prospects of 16 and 17 year olds getting foster care;

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extend access to Job Search Allowance and Sickness Allowance conditions for certain Special Beneficiaries under 16. This will give these young people access to labour market assistance including training. The measure, to apply from 1 January 1992, will improve

the employment prospects of disadvantaged early school leavers. It will help reduce youth unemployment.

modify eligibility for independent Job Search Allowance and Sickness Allowance. This move will make it easier for 16 and 17 year olds to receive these payments. From 1 January next year, to qualify these young people will need to have:

* had a full-time job for 13 weeks in the previous six months or

* been unemployed and registered at the CES for 13 weeks of the previous six months.

establish pilot projects which will make it easier for homeless young people to get both social security payments and complementary services from other agencies. One aim of this initiative is to cut through the bureaucracy homeless youth have to deal with.

Contact: Media: Gregg Borschmann (Minister’s office) 06-2777560 General inquiries: Social Security Information 008 060 123 for Metropolitan areas (including Darwin)

008 112 468 for all other areas (including Canberra). 008 039 009 Multi-Lingual Telephone Service. August 20 1991