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Aussies forced to choose between heating homes or eating meals



Australian families are finding it harder than ever to put food on the table, according to new data.

The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) data found 270 welfare recipients are making sacrifices on food, medication and heating, as the cost-of-living crisis escalates.

Brad Horton, who relied on JobSeeker while looking for work said the payment barely covered the cost of rent, groceries and energy bills.

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His family camped out in the living room over winter, so they only had to heat one room.

"We concentrate on getting rent money first so we can keep a roof over our heads," Horton said.

"After that it's hell to be honest. We virtually all lived in the lounge.

"We have been really struggling. We both don't sleep really at all."

The data found 73 per cent of people surveyed reported eating less or skipping meals.

The same number cut back on heating and cooling their homes, while 60 per cent couldn't afford basic medicines.

"Almost everyone has told us it's having an impact on their physical or their mental health," ACOSS Deputy CEO Edwina MacDonald said.

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Housing is also proving to be another anxiety, with 94 per cent of those surveyed experiencing rental stress.

"People are already living in cars, living in tents," MacDonald said.

"We have got a whole group worried that's where they're heading as well."

From September 20, there will be a $40 a fortnight increase to JobSeeker and Youth Allowance, announced in the May budget.

Plus an extra $16 for those on JobSeeker, due to indexation.

When the increase flows through, people on Jobseeker will be living off $54 a day.

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