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SA battlers cutting back on meals and meds

AAP logoAAP 4/08/2016 Marnie Banger

Battlers in South Australia are spending less on groceries and their medical needs so they can make ends meet, new research has found.

A survey of more than 500 low income households, commissioned by the South Australian Council of Services, shows many are struggling to cope financially.

More than half of respondents say they are spending less on groceries and a third have stopped or reduced their medical treatments.

Power and water bills have also been on the chopping block, with a third of households surveyed saying they are using utilities less often to save money.

SACOSS chief Ross Womersley says a lack of proper social support is driving people to make the cuts which will only make them "sicker, more isolated and more vulnerable".

"There is just no getting around it - the key issue for people is that their income payments are not adequate, and we know from our analysis of ABS living cost data that the situation has been getting worse in recent years," he said in a statement on Thursday.

The organisation has called on the federal government to abandon proposed cuts to social security payments and increase base levels instead.

SA Communities Minister Zoe Bettison said the Turnbull government should offer more support to low-income earners to help cover their energy costs.

However she said she may also consider what the state government is providing.

"I do think that we have a substantial concessions system but always I'm open to looking at the situation, understanding the concerns of our most vulnerable South Australians," she told reporters.

Opposition spokesman Corey Wingard said the Weatherill government should rectify policies that have driven up utility prices for struggling households.

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