COVID-19 SUPPORT AVAILABLE – Households & Individuals

Below you will find a summary of the support available during this unprecedented time of economic downturn and uncertainty.

 

Governments Economic Response

The Australian Government has announced a second range of measures to address the significant economic impact of COVID-19.  This is no longer seen as a stimulus package but is now being referred to a safety net package.

Please be mindful that the legislation for the introduction of these measures will need to go before parliament.  It is expected this will occur in the coming days and are expected to be passed promptly.

The key areas addressed by the government are summarised below:

 

Economic Support Payments

In addition to the previously announced $750 payment for income support recipients (due to rollout from 31 March 2020) the Government

  • have expanded the eligibility criteria for this payment,
  • will provide a second payment of a further $750 from 13 July 2020.

Will only receive the Economic Support Payments if not eligible for the new Coronavirus Supplement.

 

Coronavirus Supplement

From 27 April there will be a 6 month increase of $550 per fortnight in income support (Coronavirus Supplement) for Jobseeker Payment, Partner Allowance, Widow Allowance, Sickness Allowance, Wife Pension, Youth Allowance Jobseeker, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit recipients.

 

Expanded Access for Payments

From 27 April, for a period of 6 months, there will be expanded access to Jobseeker Payment and Youth Allowance For Jobseekers for permanent employees who are stood down or lose employment, sole traders, self-employed, casual workers, contract workers who meet the income test as a result of the Coronavirus economic downturn and those required to care for someone affected by Coronavirus.

There will also be reduced means test and waiting times.

Income tests will still apply.  For example If your partner doesn’t get a pension, your payment will reduce by 60 cents for every dollar they earn over $994.00 per fortnight.  Please see here for further details regarding the income tests: https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/topics/income-test-jobseeker-payment-partner-allowance-and-widow-allowance/29411#a1

 

Faster Claim Process

In addition, steps will be taken to accelerate and streamline the application / claim process.

Online claiming is encouraged, and new recipients will need to set up their myGov account, call to verify their identity, and get a link to their Centrelink online account.

For further information:

https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_sheet-Payments_to_support_households.pdf

https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_sheet-Income_Support_for_Individuals.pdf

https://www.dss.gov.au/about-the-department/coronavirus-covid-19-information-and-support

 

Early Access to Superannuation

Temporary access to superannuation for eligible individuals including those:

  • unemployed
  • eligible for job seeker payment, youth allowance for jobseekers, parenting payment (which includes the single and partnered payments), special benefit or farm household allowance
  • or since 1 January 2020:
    • You were made redundant
    • Your working hours reduced by 20% or more
    • A sole trader whose business was suspended or experienced a reduction in turnover of 20% or more

Can access your own super of up to $10,000 prior to 30 June 2020 and up to a further $10,000 from 1 July 2020.

Apply through myGov unless you have a self-managed superannuation fund which will have separate arrangements.

Ensure your fund has your correct contact details, proof of identity documents and bank account details.

These amounts will be tax free and not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.

For further information:

https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_sheet-Early_Access_to_Super_1.pdf

 

Support for Retirees

Temporary reduction in superannuation minimum drawdown requirements for account-based pensions and similar products by 50 per cent for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 income years.  This measure will benefit retirees with account-based pensions and similar products by reducing the need to sell investment assets to fund minimum drawdown requirements.

As of 1 May 2020, the upper deeming rate will be 2.25 per cent and the lower deeming rate will be 0.25 per cent.  The change will see a large number of Age Pensioners receive an increase in benefits.

For further information:

https://treasury.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/Fact_sheet-Providing_support_for_retirees_to_manage_market_volatility.pdf

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