The Coronavirus pandemic means thousands of workers face the prospect of lost income or unemployment.
In response, the Federal Government has temporarily expanded eligibility to income support payments and established a new, time-limited Coronavirus supplement to be paid at the rate of $550 per fortnight. This means those entitled to the full JobSeeker Payment (formerly known as NewStart Allowance) will receive $1,681.40 per fortnight.
The supplement is one of a series of assistance measures for individuals and households. Here’s a summary of what’s available:
The Coronavirus supplement
The Coronavirus supplement is a maximum of $550 per fortnight and will be made available to new and existing recipients of:
For the period of the Coronavirus supplement (for six months from 27 April 2020), there will be expanded access to the income support payments listed above. This includes:
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.
How to apply
If you’ve lost your job, been stood down, or find your business without customers due to the Coronavirus pandemic, you might be contacting Centrelink for the first time, or the first time in a long time. For information on how to apply for an income support payment, click below.
The Federal Government is providing two separate $750 payments to lower income Australians, including pensioners, other social security and veteran income support recipients and eligible concession card holders. To see if you’re eligible for one or both of these payments, click below.
Eligible persons do not need to apply for these payments. Services Australia or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs will automatically deposit payments into the bank accounts of those eligible from 13 July 2020.
Early access to super
The Federal Government is allowing eligible individuals affected by the Coronavirus to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation before 1 July 2020 and a further $10,000 from 1 July 2020 for approximately three months (exact timing will depend on the passing of legislation).
To apply for early release of super you must satisfy one or more of the following requirements:
People accessing their super in these circumstances will not need to pay tax on amounts released and the money they withdraw will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.
How to apply
If you are eligible, you can apply directly to the ATO through the myGov website: my.gov.au.
If you are suffering financial stress, we recommend exploring other possibilities before accessing your super. Given the falls in share markets, taking money from your super would be locking in losses. Give us a call on 9896 5100 to discuss your options first.
Support for retirees
The Federal Government has temporarily halved the minimum drawdown requirements for account-based pensions and similar products. This measure will reduce the need for retirees to sell investment assets to meet minimum drawdown requirements.
The reduced rates apply for the 2019/20 and 2020/21 income years:
|Age||Current minimum drawdown rates (%)||Reduced rates for the 2019/20 and 2020/21 income years (%)|
|95 or more||14||7|
In another win for retirees, the deeming rate will be reduced by 0.25 per cent. From 1 May 2020, the upper deeming rate will be 2.25 per cent and the lower deeming rate 0.25 per cent.
The reductions reflect the low interest rate environment and its impact on income from savings. The Government estimates that people on the Aged Pension will, on average, receive an extra $105 in the first full year the reduced rates apply.
We’re here for you
Some of these initiatives are yet to receive Royal Assent but we expect that the legislation will be passed in due course. We’re here to help, please do not hesitate to give us a call on 9896 5100.