The federal government is spending up to $18.9 million to trial the cashless welfare card for 1850 people.
Data published by the Department of Social Services show the government is paying the debit card provider, Indue, at least $7.9 million, while the Social Service Department's administrative costs are $2.6 million. The government is also spending $2.6 million on additional supports, such as drug and alcohol services.
The government has vowed to continue the program, despite the lack of evidence of its effectiveness. Almost half of the participants felt the card had made their lives worse.
The card costs about $10,000 a year to administer for each participant, while the person only receives $14,000 a year in Newstart payments.