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Millions of Australians receive welfare payment boost

Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS

More than five million Australians struggling with the cost-of-living crisis will receive a boost to their welfare payments but experts say the increases are not enough.

Jobseekers, single parents, renters and pensioners are among those offered extra income support.

University students and apprentices will get an extra $40 a fortnight with increased rates also spread across a range of other Centrelink payments.

"It means more money in the pockets of those doing it toughest, and that will make a difference," Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said on Wednesday.

Cassandra Goldie from the Australian Council of Social Service said the increases "meant nothing" when the payment rates were low to begin with.

"It's cruel to expect anyone to be able to meet the basic cost of living," she said.

Ian Henschke from National Seniors Australia welcomed the aged pension boost but said some people were still being left behind.

He renewed calls to increase the income threshold so older Australians could work more without losing their payments.

"What we need is additional targeted support for people with limited means and to stop punishing those who need to work."

The increases merely tinkered around the edges of a broken social safety net, Greens senator Janet Rice said.

"People on Jobseeker will still struggle to afford food as well as their medicine; more and more students will abandon their studies because they can't afford to study and pay the rent," she said.

The Greens also called on the government to increase the single parenting payment age limit, which cuts off welfare when kids turn 14.

The welfare boosts are a mixture of government policy and regular indexation, which Treasurer Jim Chalmers said would help some of the most vulnerable Australians.

"We've been able to get the budget in better nick at the same time as we provide these increases in social security payments, whether it be JobSeeker or rent assistance," he told reporters.