Dynamic Properties of Income Support Receipt in Australia

Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 23/06

Date: October 2006


Yi-Ping Tseng
Ha Vu
Roger Wilkins


Using administrative records on Australian income support (welfare) recipients over the period July 1995 to June 2002, we examine dynamic properties of income support receipt and the personal characteristics associated with alternative patterns of receipt. We draw on three concepts: churning the process of ending a spell on income support and subsequently commencing a new spell; transferring moving from one payment-type to another within a spell on income support; and Total proportion of Time On income support (TTO) the proportion of time on income support in a given period. We find that churning and transferring are significant features of income support receipt in Australia. For example, over half of recipients churn within five years of commencing an income support spell, and onefifth make a payment transfer within the same time frame. Examination of the characteristics associated with each of five distinct patterns of receipt reveals substantial differences in patterns by age, family composition, unemployment status, health status, and recent history of income support receipt

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