'Out on the street': Welfare recipients struggling to get by
WITH no job, a blown up car, a heart condition, two kids and another one due next week, Darrell Woods claims he is close to being out on the street.
The lack of an increase for the Newstart allowance in this week's budget is just another setback for the Cushnie man.
Mr Woods worked in the meat industry for 12 years before a heart condition stopped him from continuing his employment.
He has been unemployed for nearly two years.
He receives $504 each fortnight on the Newstart allowance and he is sick of living pay cheque to pay cheque.
"To put it into perspective, I get $12,000 a year and my rent alone is $13,000 a year," Mr Woods said.
"If I wasn't married and didn't have my wife's and children's income I would be out on the street.
"We only pay so many bills each fortnight. The others get left.
"Some weeks we have to go without fuel and just hope the kids don't get sick."
Mr Woods is trying not to let his medical condition stop him from gaining full-time employment, but is finding it hard.
"At the moment I'm looking for a change," he said.
"That's why I got my warehouse certificate and a forklift ticket," he said.
"I've been applying but every man and his dog is in the same boat."
Mr Woods said he knew he would receive criticism from those who suggested he should "just get a job", but he said it wasn't that easy for some people.
"I know I will cop some slack for this," he said.
"I'm willing, I apply for jobs.
"My best effort was when I applied for 900 jobs in one month. From that I got four replies and one interview.
"Nine-hundred applications for one interview."
Mr Woods isn't the only one struggling to survive on the Newstart allowance.
Billy Engle is soon to leave his Wondai rental and live in a caravan because he can no longer make ends meet.
A truck driver for 37 years, Mr Engle injured his back and has been on the Newstart allowance for nearly two years.
"I can't work. I am flat out cleaning the floors in my house," Mr Engle said.
"I used to get mates to come in and help me."
Mr Engle receives $680 per fortnight and his rent alone was costing him $400 per fortnight.
"I just couldn't afford it," he said.
"I had to start digging into my super."
Mr Engle has decided to move into a caravan to attempt to get his life back on track.
"It has been a tough few years," he said.
"I went through a divorce and then this happened to my back. Some nights I just balls my eyes out."