Individual Income Support
The Government is providing support for individuals to assist them during the next six months. The Government is temporarily expanding 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.
The income support payment categories eligible to receive the Coronavirus supplement are:
Jobseeker Payment1 (and all payments progressively transitioning to Jobseeker Payment; those currently receiving Partner Allowance, Widow Allowance, Sickness Allowance and Wife Pension).
Youth Allowance Jobseeker.
Parenting Payment (Partnered and Single).
Farm Household Allowance.
Special Benefit recipients.
Anyone who is eligible for the Coronavirus supplement will receive the full rate of the supplement of $550 per fortnight.
For the period of the Coronavirus supplement, there will be expanded access to the income support payments listed above. Jobseeker Payment and Youth Allowance criteria will provide payment access for permanent employees who are stood down or lose their employment, sole traders & the self-employed (who earn less than $1,075 a fortnight), 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.
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.
The one-week Ordinary Waiting Period has already been waived.
People will not be permitted, and will need to declare that they are not, accessing employer entitlements (such as annual leave and/or sick leave) or Income Protection Insurance, at the same time as receiving Jobseeker Payment and Youth Allowance Jobseeker under these arrangements.
To ensure timely access to payments, new applicants are encouraged to claim through on-line (www.my.gov.au) and mobile channels. If applicants do not have internet access, they can claim over the phone.
Applicants will make an initial declaration about their identity, residency status, income and that they have been made redundant, or had their hours reduced (including to zero) as a result of the economic downturn due to Coronavirus. In the case of sole traders and the self-employed, applicants will make a declaration that their business has been suspended or had turnover reduced significantly. Applicants may also declare the amount of rent they pay in this declaration to qualify for Rent Assistance.
The Coronavirus Supplement and expanded access for payments will commence from 27 April 2020.
Example of Unemployed Individual
Crystal is in her mid-30s, with two dependent children aged 10 and 12 and works as a telephone consultant for a travel agency. The economic downturn due to Coronavirus has caused the travel agency where she works to close for a six-month period and resulted in Crystal’s hours being reduced to zero. Crystal will be eligible to apply for Jobseeker Payment and the Coronavirus supplement under the new streamlined process. Crystal can apply on line and make a declaration about her identity, residency status, income and that she has had her hours reduced to zero as a result of the economic downturn due to Coronavirus.
Crystal is eligible for Jobseeker Payment and will receive $1,171.50 per fortnight, comprising of Jobseeker Payment single, with dependent child rate of $612.00 per fortnight; plus Energy Supplement of $9.50 per fortnight; plus Coronavirus supplement of $550 per fortnight. Crystal will also receive Family Tax Benefit Part A and Part B of $483 a fortnight. Having recently left employment, Crystal is already job ready.
Example of Sole Trader
Bob is a sole trader, running an architecture practice, specialising in home renovations. Bob’s practice has been successful over the years, and he has been able to build up a reasonable amount of assets during his career, to a level that would ordinarily make him ineligible for an income support payment. The economic downturn due to Coronavirus has adversely affected Bob’s business, and his income has been reduced to zero. Bob will be able to apply for the new Jobseeker / Coronavirus supplement and will not have his assets included as part of the eligibility assessment for the payment. He will also not be required to serve a Liquid Asset test Waiting Period, as that has been waived.
Bob is eligible for the Jobseeker payment and, as he is married, will receive Jobseeker Payment partnered rate of $510.80 per fortnight; plus Energy Supplement of $7.90 per fortnight; plus Coronavirus supplement of $550 per fortnight. This brings Bob’s total fortnightly income support payment to $1,068.70.
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The information presented is general in nature and not to be used, relied or acted upon without seeking professional advice to ensure that the information appropriate for your individual circumstances. National Taxation accepts no liability for any errors or omissions, or for any loss or damage suffered as a result of any person acting without such advice. www.nationaltaxation.com.au. ABN 63 665 545 130