The survey questionnaire comprised of four parts: respondent basic information and demographics, income and employment, financial situation, and social supports and wellbeing.
Part One (Basic information) was a set of demographic questions asking people to describe their personal and family circumstances, living situations and housing status.
Part Two (Income and employment) was a set of questions asking respondents to identify their current income situation, financial expenses and resources, and actions to source work.
Part Three (Financial situation) was a set of questions asking individuals to rate their perceived current and future financial situation. Individuals were asked to respond to list of 20 items representing those services, items, activities or opportunities that are considered essential in Australia today according to the indicators of disadvantage developed by Saunders, Naidoo and Griffiths (2007).20,21 Participants were asked to indicate for each item whether or not they had the item. Another list of 18 items was specifically designed to capture information about essential items for children and were adapted from Saunders, Naidoo and Griffiths (2007) and UNICEF Child Deprivation Index.22
Part Four (Social supports and wellbeing) was a set of statements requesting respondents to rate their level of agreement or disagreement against a seven and 10-point scale. The statements described how much support they received from other people and was based on the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey (Wave 11 Self Completion Questionnaire B17).23
The survey questionnaires were distributed nationally through 262 Salvation Army emergency relief and community support services during the period 2nd February to 20th February 2015. The questionnaires were paper based and participation was voluntary. The questionnaire was provided to individuals to complete. Centre staff and volunteers were encouraged to assist people if they required it.