Jeff Mitchell of Newstead and Peta Bricknell of Ravenswood have both relied upon government support payments for about 30 years.
From AusStudy to Newstart, and now JobSeeker, the payments from the Australian Government have helped them to get by.
But this is not by choice.
Medical conditions and past circumstances have left them both in the category of the long-term unemployed.
In other news:
Both take exception to the "dole bludgers" stereotype sometimes bandied about, used to discredit long-term welfare recipients on the perception that it was easier than working.
It does not sit well with Mr Mitchell or Ms Bricknell.
"Maybe there is a tiny minority, the 1 per cent of people who do that," Mr Mitchell said.
"What I've seen [is] most people receiving a benefit are out in the community doing something."
It means he can't work most jobs because he may have to go to the toilet "at the drop of a hat".
So instead he spends his days volunteering at the Ravenswood Men's Shed, the scouts and as a facilitator of a support group for others with Crohn's.
In related news:
But that doesn't mean he escapes the stigma attached to being on social welfare.
"There is a lot of stigma attached to people who rely on government payments," he said.
"People think 'I've paid my taxes why should someone else use the money that I've paid?' To me, that is a very selfish way of thinking."
Skipping meals to help her children
Ms Bricknell, who spends her days volunteering at the Starting Point Neighbourhood House at Ravenswood, feels that stigma too.
She has been on payments since she became pregnant at the age of 16.
Ms Bricknell, 44, said dropping out of school to become a mother left her without the necessary skills to obtain employment well into her adult life.
"I will admit I wasn't the best of students [but] the possibilities were still there," she said.
"Then by the time I was able to be in the workforce full-time the skills just lacked severely."
Ms Bricknell is a mother of three - she has raised all her children as a single parent while receiving government support payments.
She said for years she was living in poverty while trying to raise three kids on the $550-per-fortnight Newstart payment, now doubled under JobSeeker.
Rice, pasta and potatoes were staples in the Bricknell household because that is all they could afford, Ms Bricknell said.
She said she also used to skip meals in order to provide better meals for her children.
"It is quite common as a parent on any form of welfare payment ... to skip meals," she said.
But over the last few months Ms Bricknell and Mr Mitchell's finances have been markedly improved.
A better quality of life
The COVID-19 pandemic brought with it the first raise in the JobSeeker rate for about 20 years.
Ms Bricknell said on the doubled rate she can afford to provide fully nutritious meals for herself and her one daughter who still lives at home.
"When I go grocery shopping I don't have to buy pasta - I can go and look at buying fresh vegetables for myself - I don't need to rely on getting food help," she said.
"We can have meat everyday if we want instead of having it maybe once a week. Before the payments there just wasn't any money [for bills] - now I can put aside money to pay on my Aurora."
The increase has also allowed Mr Mitchell, who now receives about $640 per fortnight compared to $300 previously, and his wife, who works part-time, to get ahead on bills.
"It's meant that we can catch up on things like our rates, power, water and sewerage," he said.
"We have been able to pay a little bit extra to try and get ahead with the payments."
Both are hopeful the government keep the elevated rate beyond the end of the pandemic.
"I would like to see politicians ... spend some time with people in the lower socioeconomic sector of the community and look at how they live," Mr Mitchell said. "Ask the questions - 'how much do you really need to spend to not just survive but to be comfortable?'"
In June, Bass Liberal MHR Bridget Archer confirmed the government was exploring the possibility of keeping the rate increase but said it was unlikely to remain at double the pre-COVID level.
What do you think? Send us a letter to the editor: