Key Support for Individuals
- JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance Jobseeker, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit doubled from $550 per fortnight to $1100 per fortnight – further information below
- The Government is allowing eligible individuals who are affected by the Coronavirus to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21. Eligible individuals will need to apply directly to the ATO for access to this payment. Individuals will not need to pay tax on amounts released and the money they withdraw will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments – further information below
- The Government is temporarily reducing superannuation minimum drawdown requirements for account-based pensions and similar products by 50% for 2019-20 and 2020-21. This measure will benefit retirees holding these products by reducing the need to sell investment assets to fund minimum drawdown requirements.
- Reducing Social Security Deeming Rates
The Government and Parliament has amended the Income Support framework, to temporarily expand eligibility to income support payments and establishing a new, time-limited Coronavirus supplement to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight. This supplement will be paid to both existing and new recipients of the eligible payment categories. These changes will apply for the next six months. We encourage the below summary as well as the attached fact sheet be shared to your team members.
Jobseeker Payment and Youth Allowance Jobseeker criteria will provide payment access for permanent employees who are stood down or lose their employment; sole traders; the self-employed; casual workers; and contract workers who meet the income tests as a result of the economic downturn due to the Coronavirus. This importantly fixes the problem of casuals not requiring a separation certificate to claim Jobseeker payment etc.
For the period of the Coronavirus supplement, there will be expanded access to the income support payments listed above.
- Expanded access: Jobseeker Payment and Youth Allowance Jobseeker criteria will provide payment access for permanent employees who are stood down or lose their employment; sole traders; the self-employed; casual workers; and contract workers who meet the income tests as a result of the economic downturn due to the Coronavirus. This could also include a person required to care for someone who is affected by the Coronavirus.
- Reduced means testing: Asset testing for JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance Jobseeker and Parenting Payment will be waived for the period of the Coronavirus supplement. Income testing will still apply to the person’s other payments, consistent with current arrangements.
- Reduced waiting times: The one week Ordinary Waiting Period has already been waived.
- Accelerated claim process: To ensure timely access to payments, new applicants are encouraged to claim through on-line and mobile channels. If applicants do not have internet access, they can claim over the phone.
Streamlined application process: A number of simplified arrangements will be put in place to make it easier to claim, including removing the requirements for:
- Employment Separation Certificates, proof of rental arrangements and verification of relationship status;
- Job Seeker Classification Instrument assessment for those people who have recently left jobs, recognising they are job ready; and
- Job seekers to make an appointment with an employment service provider before they can be paid.
Links to Government Support for Households
The Government is acting to cushion the blow from the coronavirus for businesses and households to help them get through to the other side of the crisis as the world deals with the significant challenges posed by its spread. Below are the quick links to the measures available to small and medium businesses, sole traders and households under the $189 billion economic support package announced by the Prime Minister.
- Household finances hit by reduced work? Here’s what we’re doing to help support your family budget.
- Require early access to superannuation? Read more here in the Government fact sheet.