Income support options (Centrelink)

Updated 14 April 2020, 12pm

For employees who have been terminated or stood down without pay, moved from full time to casual or had their hours of work reduced and not been nominated for JobKeeper Payments.

Applications can be made for income support such as Jobseeker Payments, Youth Allowance and Parenting Payments and a new coronavirus supplement of $550 per fortnight will commence from 27 April 2020.

Expanded eligibility and exemption from most waiting periods may help more people access payments. Even if someone is only eligible for a tiny portion of a Centrelink payment, they will still receive the full $550 a fortnight Coronavirus Supplement.

People can now register an intention to claim meaning their payment will be backdated.

They will need to provide information about their fortnightly income, where they live and who they live with. You no longer need to provide an employment separation certificate.

The asset limit has been waived and Centrelink has increased the amount partners can earn before it affects an applicant’s eligibility to $3,086.80 gross per fortnight.

Applicants will need to declare that they are not accessing employer entitlements such as the JobKeeper payment, annual leave, sick leave or Income Protection Insurance, at the same time as receiving Centrelink payments.

If they received a redundancy payout there could be a waiting period depending on how much was paid. They may be eligible for a partial payment during this time which will also entitle them to the full $550 a fortnight Coronavirus Supplement. 

From 27 April, the expanded criteria will also provide access to people who are unable to work because they are in isolation or hospitalised or caring for children and not able to draw on leave entitlements.

For more information visit Services Australia, watch this video about registering and claiming or follow this ABC step-by-step guide on applying for Jobseeker.

 

There is also access to temporary early releases of superannuation - up to $10,000 in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21. These are tax free and will not affect income support payments. Find out more about this option on the ATO website. Applications for early release of super will be accepted through myGov from 20 April. 

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For sole traders, self-employed and contractors

JobKeeper Payments

Sole traders, and self-employed contractors are eligible for the JobKeeper Payment of $1500 a fortnight. You will need to provide the ATO with:

  • an ABN for your business;
  • Your name and details as the nominee to receive the payment (the payment will be made to the nominee’s bank account);
  • Your Tax File Number; and
  • a declaration as to recent business activity.
Register with ATO

You need to be able to establish a fall in turnover of 30% or more in the relevant month or three months (depending on your natural activity statement reporting period) relative to your turnover for the same period in 2019.

Where your turnover a year earlier is not representative of usual or average turnover, the Tax Commissioner will have discretion to consider additional information that you provide to establish that you have been significantly affected by the impacts of COVID-19.

The Tax Commissioner will also have discretion to set out alternative tests that would establish eligibility in specific circumstances (eg directed closure under state of emergency).

Once qualified to get payments, you will need to provide updates to the ATO to declare your continued eligibility for the payments.

Centrelink Payments

Where a sole trader or self-employed contractor is not able to claim the JobKeeper Payment, they can apply for income support such as Jobseeker or Parenting Payments and the new coronavirus supplement of $550 per fortnight commencing from 27 April 2020.

Register Your Intention To Claim and your payment will be backdated.

You will need to make a declaration that your business has been suspended or had turnover reduced significantly and provide information about your fortnightly income, where you live and who you live with. You will also need to declare that you are not accessing Income Protection Insurance at the same time as receiving payments under these arrangements.

The asset limit has been waived and Centrelink has increased the amount partners can earn before it affects an applicant’s eligibility to $3,086.80 gross per fortnight.

Even if you are only eligible for a tiny portion of a Centrelink payment, you will still receive the full $550 a fortnight Coronavirus Supplement.

Sole traders will automatically meet their mutual obligation requirements during this period by continuing to develop and sustain their business.

For more information visit Services Australiawatch this video about registering and claiming or follow this ABC step-by-step guide on applying for Jobseeker.

 

There is also access to temporary early releases of superannuation - up to $10,000 in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21. These are tax free and will not affect income support payments. Find out more about this option on the ATO website. Applications for early release of super will be accepted through myGov from 20 April. 

 

Download the Income Support Options (Centrelink) PDF

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