March 30 update: All mutual obligations have been suspended until 27 April 2020. That means you should not have your payments cut off for not attending or reporting appointments or activities.
On 30 March 2020, the Government introduced a new wage subsidy called the JobKeeper Payment. Under the Scheme, all eligible businesses will receive $1500 per employee, per fortnight from the Australian Taxation Office from 1 May 2020. All payments will be backdated to 30 March 2020.
Eligibility is determined by loss of turnover. In order to be eligible, businesses will need to see turnover fall by 30%, or 50% if the turnover of a business exceeds $1 billion. All businesses structured through companies, partnerships, trusts and sole traders, and not-for-profit entities including charities, are eligible.
Individual eligibility is open to full time and part time workers who have been on the books since 1 March 2020, and casual workers who have been employed by the same employer for over 12 months. Sole traders and self-employed individuals will also be able to receive the JobKeeper Payment.
Recipients cannot receive both the JobSeeker and the JobKeeper Payment. There will be no superannuation guarantee levy on the JobKeeper payment.
The JobKeeper Payment will also exclude people on temporary work visas, but it will include New Zealanders who possess a sub-class 444 visa.
There have been changes to income support payments announced. These will apply to people with disability who receive the Job Seeker payment (Newstart or Sickness Allowance) and the Disability Support Pension.
These changes include the Coronavirus supplement; which is a temporary 6-month increase to JobSeeker payments of $550 more per fortnight starting on the 27th of April, and the bonus support payment; which is a second round of one off payments of $750 to be paid in July.
People already receiving eligible income support payments don’t need to do anything to receive this extra support.
If you are currently not receiving any income support payments, but need support at this time, you can apply to receive Centrelink payments over the phone. Proof of identity can also be done over the phone. Here’s a recent article about eligibility and how to apply.
The Coronavirus Supplement
To be eligible for the $550/fortnight Coronavirus supplement you must be currently receiving one of the following payments:
- Jobseeker payment (Newstart)
- Youth Allowance (Jobseeker and Student)
- Parenting Payment
- Farm Household Allowance
- Special Benefits recipients
The supplement does not extend to people currently receiving the Disability Support Pension or carer payments. We’re asking the Government to extend the Coronavirus supplement to people on receiving the Disability Support Pension. People with disability will feel a heavy impact during this time of crisis, and financial support has to be extended to them to ensure they have access to support, safe housing, and essential items.
If you are currently receiving the Disability Support Pension and are considering changing to Newstart or another Jobseeker allowance, please seek advice on the matter as you may not qualify to return to the DSP after the 6-month Coronavirus supplement is no longer available. We are advocating for the DSP to be included in the Coronavirus supplement.
Here is a fact sheet from Services Australia about the possible consequences from making the switch from DSP to JobSeeker Payment
There are resources available if you need help:
Or find a disability advocacy service near you
Second Round of Support Payments
To be eligible for the second bonus payment of $750, people must have been eligible for the first payment of $750, and must not be receiving the Coronavirus supplement of $550/fortnight.
The package includes measures to make arrangements more flexible for individuals.
- People on Jobseeker Allowance must still actively look for work and build their skills, but will be able to seek exemption if they need to care for someone or are required to self isolate.
- People receiving the JobSeeker payments, 40% who have illness or disability or ‘partial capacity to work’ will still be required to meet their Job Plan requirements, but flexibility might be allowed under certain circumstances.
- Job plan requirements will also become more flexible, allowing for community volunteering and training to count as mutual obligation requirements.
- Economic Justice Australia’s COVID-19 + Centrelink factsheet
- People in NSW can call The Welfare Rights Centre’s advice line on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings