Coalition stopped welfare payments to 55,000 homeless or at-risk jobseekers in six months

Payment suspensions under new compliance regime condemned as a ‘social security horror show’

About 55,000 jobseekers who were without a home or on the cusp of homelessness have had their welfare payments temporarily suspended under the government’s new compliance regime, despite the Coalition saying it would include “protections for the most vulnerable”.

Updated Senate estimates figures show 55,714 homeless or at-risk people who get payments such as Newstart received a suspension between July 2018, when the system came into effect, and December 2018.

As of 31 December, Centrelink counted 58,878 homeless jobseekers on its books, though the total number over the six-month period would be greater as people moved in and out of the system.

As Scott Morrison and Bill Shorten faced questions about the low rate of Newstart on the campaign trail on Friday, the chief executive of the Australian Council of Social Service, Cassandra Goldie, said the new figures showed “the social security horror show in action”...