Data released to the Senate Committee on COVID-19 this week show the number of people already relying on unemployment payments has more than doubled since December 2019. At that time there were 813,721 people receiving Newstart (now JobSeeker) and Youth Allowance Other. On 22 May the number was over 1.64 million. This is just three weeks after the government released figures for April 2020 which showed there were 1.34 million people receiving these payments. The Department of Social Services had expected the numbers to reach 1.7 million by September, so this reiterates the need for further government stimulus spending to avoid a deeper and longer recession. One effective option would be to ensure unemployment payments remain above the poverty line as we know this helps those doing it toughest, as well as pumps dollars directly back into the economy. We can never go back to $40 a day. See our APW Briefing Poverty, Unemployment & COVID-19 for more.