The state's peak social service body has presented to a Senate inquiry into the adequacy of Newstart payments a coal-face account of what it is like to be a Tasmanian living on the payment.
In its submission to the committee, TasCOSS detailed real life stories of people who had to go without essential life necessities just to remain fed and in shelter.
The stories of people went without medication because they could not afford it when food needed to bought.
Participants told of being on the verge of homelessness because they cannot find an affordable or appropriate private rental property.
Some said they had lost hope of employment - through either loss of self-esteem, the costs associated with attendance at job interviews, and their lack of transport options.
And it was not only the unemployed that told of their struggle.
Part-time workers on Newstart similarly reported stringent food budget where price was priorised over quality and childrens' clothes were only bought for birthdays and Christmas.
Of the 31 per cent of Tasmanians who received some form of financial support from the government in December 2018, 4.1 per cent received Newstart - compared to the national average of 2.9 per cent.
The submission noted the average duration of unemployment in Tasmania was 71, compared to an average of 48.3 weeks nationally.
It said more than a quarter of Tasmanian jobseekers were classified as long-term unemployed and were jobless for 262 weeks on average.
TasCOSS has argued Newstart, Youth Allowance and other payments for single people and single parents need to be increased by $75 a week and indexed twice a year according to wage levels and the Consumer Price Index.
It said the maximum rent assistance rate needed to be increased by 30 per cent.
TasCOSS chief executive Kym Goodes said many Newstart recipients were ready to work but were trapped in poverty due to inadequate payments.
"When you hear the first-hand stories of the lives of Tasmanians trying to survive on Newstart, the evidence of need is heart-rendingly clear," she said.
"The needs of people who are forced to make choices every day between heating their house and eating.
"Of a society in which taking your son to the local footy game means saving for weeks and then feeling like a failure because you can't afford to buy him a pie while you're watching the game together."
The Senate committee is accepting submissions until September 30.
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