Since the 1990s, the receipt of social security in Australia has become more conditional as well as more punitive, in concert with a broader global transition. I have been researching the lived effects of two specific conditional measures: the controversial Cashless Debit Card and a pre-employment program targeting single mothers, ParentsNext. I offer here narrative accounts of subsisting on welfare today. I document conditional welfare’s impact and examine multi-scalar ‘looking after’ relations. I refer to state-citizen relations andrelationships between so-called ‘welfare recipients’ and their close others, foregrounding everyday efforts to keep ‘the show on the road’ amidst poverty.