Charities are bracing for a second wave of pain when the marginal savings of single parents run out after their welfare payments were slashed.
On January 1, the Federal Government moved 5607 single parents in WA on to Newstart, cutting their payments $65 or more a week.
"For the group that have a tiny amount of savings to get them through the first months, what we're finding is every bit has been exhausted," National Council of Single Mothers and their Children chief executive Terese Edwards said.
"Where they relied on the goodwill of family members or friends to help them through, whether it's with food, rent or electricity, that avenue has been used."
Ms Edwards said the cost of living and accommodation in WA was a burden and the start of school meant many people struggled to pay for uniforms and schoolbooks.
Working single parents lose out even more on Newstart because their income threshold before their benefit is cut from $176.60 a fortnight to $62.
A single mother earning $300 a fortnight stands to get $176 less a fortnight under Newstart.
Mother-of-five Pamela Henderson said that after an agency helped her draw up a new budget, she found she had just $40 a week to feed herself and two children still living at home.
She lost $140 a fortnight when she was switched to Newstart.
A commerce and resource management student who previously worked part-time, Ms Henderson was forced to cut her studies to part-time so she could look for full-time work.
"Getting a part-time job is not worth it any more . . . but as soon as I can get a full-time job I'm going to have to spend my time at home studying just to keep up," she said.
"It's a lot of pressure and even then I'm worried the kids aren't going to get what they need from me."
Children's charity The Smith Family had a 25 per cent jump in demand for services since January 1, WA general manager Greg Ryan-Gadsden said.
WA Council of Social Service chief executive Irina Cattalini said the impact would be more children growing up in poverty, unable to access education and in long-term unemployment.
"It's a false economy to say this is a saving for the community," Ms Cattalini said."While the Federal Government is raising $700 million from this income cut, longer term you're talking about imposing billions of dollars of cost on the community."
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