A 19-year-old uni student living away from home feels abandoned by the government after being expected to live off just $20 a week.
Luke* moved out of his parents’ Hunter Valley house in February this year to strike out on his own, after landing a spot in Sydney University’s Bachelor of Health science course.
He moved into a share flat in the inner western Sydney suburb of Rozelle and got two jobs in the hospitality industry, as a waiter and a bartender.
Every week, he would work 28 hours to pay off his $225 in rent while also receiving $40 a fortnight in youth allowance from the government.
Due to Sydney’s lockdown, his hours have dwindled to nothing but a bizarre caveat in the $500 weekly Covid Disaster Payments means he can’t receive any additional help.
Up until a day ago, anyone already receiving government help was excluded from the Covid-19 supplement – meaning he was expected to get by on just 20 bucks.
“I can’t go back to my parents because of lockdown, I can’t get benefits,” Luke told news.com.au.
“Am I supposed to live on the streets?”
When lockdown was announced at the end of June, Luke was stood down immediately from both jobs.
“I got the bad end of the stick with that one,” he said.
“I did have quite a bit of savings, there’s not much left,” Luke said.
Luke’s distraught parents have been trying to send him money whenever they can.