JobSeeker has kept recipients below the poverty line for years, but advocates say they've never been worse off
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Australia is in the grips of a ballooning cost-of-living crisis — and Leigh is literally paying for it with his health. 
The 39-year-old Adelaide resident has type 2 diabetes and was diagnosed in 2019 while on placement for aged care qualifications.
He's now on the $334-per-week JobSeeker payment — widely considered to be below the poverty line — and is struggling to keep up with rapidly rising prices.
The jump in food prices means Leigh can't afford to buy healthy food — and that's not good for his condition.
"Because I can only afford the cheaper food and processed stuff, it's really bad for my diabetes," he said.
"My blood glucose level spikes immediately. It's just making my numbers go up. Numbers going up are not good.
"If I continue the way I am, it's going to become unmanageable."
Pre-COVID, Leigh said he was spending about $100-120 fortnight on food.
"Now, I'm spending around $180 a fortnight," he said.
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Leigh said being on JobSeeker while the cost of living surged has been detrimental to his health.
"Because of the type of food I'm able to afford, I believe it's [having] a direct impact on exacerbating my diabetes," he said.
Leigh isn't the only Australian on income support who's been struggling in poverty, and it isn't just healthy food they're going without.
Survey results released last month by the Australian Council of Social Service showed a majority of respondents had been skipping meals, medication and taking fewer hot showers due to the skyrocketing cost of living.
Social services advocates have been calling for a more substantial increase to JobSeeker for years.
While the rate of JobSeeker was technically increased last month, it wasn't an increase in real terms.
Most social security payments are adjusted automatically twice a year to account for inflation, under a process called indexation.
Last month's indexation bumped JobSeeker for someone who is single and over 22 up by 4 per cent, according to government figures.
But according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics' inflation measure, the Consumer Price Index (CPI), prices actually rose by 6.1 per cent between June 2021 and 2022.
Because the indexation didn't match the cost-of-living increase, the purchasing power of JobSeeker recipients declined.
Some experts argue the cost-of-living crisis and inflation is actually hitting those on low incomes harder than those on higher incomes.
CPI tracks increases in a basket of goods and weighs them all equally.
But it doesn't account for the fact that low-income households spend a greater percentage of income on essentials such as food and housing — expenses that are now rising the fastest.
Cabinet minister Murray Watt says the government is providing the largest cost-of-living increase to welfare recipients in 30 years. RMIT ABC Fact Check investigates.
Elise Klein, an associate professor at the Australian National University's Crawford School of Public Policy, said it would be better for recipients if JobSeeker was indexed to wages rather than CPI.
But more than that, Ms Klein said, "it just needs an increase" in real terms.
"JobSeeker is extremely low compared to the various poverty lines circulating," she said.
The Henderson poverty line, one of the most commonly used metrics, had the poverty line, as of June 2022, for a single adult at $616 per week.
The base JobSeeker rate for a single adult with no children is currently $334 per week.
Other payments such as the Disability Support Pension ($468 per week for a single adult) and Youth Allowance ($265 per week for a single adult living away from home) also remain below the Henderson poverty line.
"People's payments are way below the poverty lines that we have here in Australia," Ms Klein said.
The only real-term increase JobSeeker has seen since the mid-1990s was a $3.57-per day lift in 2021.
It was temporarily increased to $550 per week by the coronavirus supplement at the onset of COVID lockdowns in 2020, before reverting back to its original level the following year.
On the day the ABC visited Leigh, he returned a blood glucose score of 16 millimoles per litre, which he said was "very high".
"Ideally, I'd like to get it under 10." 
He said when he has more money to spend, he buys better quality food, which means he returns better blood glucose scores.
"When I was on the coronavirus supplement I was able to get under 5 some days," he said.
Pas Forgione, a coordinator at Anti-Poverty Network SA, has spent over a decade in the advocacy space.
He said JobSeeker recipients are struggling now more than ever.
"I've never come across more people on JobSeeker who are in crisis or who are a couple of bad weeks away from being in crisis," he said.
"This is absolutely the worst that I've ever seen."
Next week's federal budget comes after weeks of political debate focused on whether to maintain legislated tax cuts for Australians on some of the highest incomes.
"Those stage three tax cuts, those billions of dollars there could change lives overnight for folks who find themselves on JobSeeker," Ms Klein said.
The government, which released a number of promotional election materials this year with the motto "no one left behind", has ruled out any further increase to social security payments.
Mr Forgione said raising JobSeeker should be more of a priority.
"We've been told by the government that it's not going to happen this year, and that's going to mean that people are going to continue to be … skipping meals [and] fresh fruits and vegetables."
Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said next week's budget was about "difficult decisions in difficult times" and would include "responsible cost of living relief with an economic dividend".
"We always want to provide as much support as is financially responsible for people who are doing it tough, and we recognise that people on JobSeeker are doing it tough," she said in a statement.
"Australians understand that we didn't create these challenges, but they elected us to take responsibility for addressing them — and we are."
Ms Klein said social security had been unfairly weaponised, and its recipients demonised, by a number of governments in the last few decades.
"The face of social security today are single mums, older women, people with disabilities and First Nations people living remotely.
"An increase is not so people can go on lavish holidays or anything like that — people don't even have enough for food at the moment."
That's something Leigh knows all too well.
"It makes me feel angry I can't support myself in a way that I need for my condition," he said.
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