You, or someone you know, may have had a change in circumstances and may need support. We have put together some information to help you navigate these uncertain times and to answer some frequently asked questions.

Q: I am already a social security recipient already. Will my payment increase?

You may receive additional payments, depending on what benefit or concession you’re
entitled to.
This could include:

  • either one or two $750 stimulus payments, or
  • the $550 per fortnight Coronavirus supplement on top of your regular payment.

Stimulus payments of $750

To be eligible for the first  payment, you must be residing in Australia and have been eligible for one of the income support payments, or a holder of one of the concession cards listed in the table below on a day between 12 March and 13 April 2020. If you had applied for an eligible payment and are subsequently granted the payment, you will also be eligible for
the one-off payment. You’ll also be entitled to a second payment of $750 unless eligible for the Coronavirus
supplement
(see below) if eligible to receive that payment on 10 July 2020.

Income Support Payments Concession Cards
Age Pension Austudy Pensioner
Concession Card
Disability Support Pension Youth Allowance Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card
Carer Payment Special Benefit Veteran Gold Card
Carer Allowance Sickness Allowance  
Wife Pension Family Tax
Benefit (including Double Orphan Pensions)
 
Parenting Payment Farm Household Allowance  
Widow B Pension Veteran Service
Pension
 
ABSTUDY (Living Allowance) Veteran Income Support Supplement  
Bereavement Allowance Veteran
Compensation Payments
 
Partner Allowance War Widow Pension  
Widow Allowance Veteran Payment  
Newstart Allowance    

If you are eligible the payments will be automatically made on:

  • 31 March 2020 for the first payment, and
  • 13 July 2020 for the second payment.

Coronavirus supplement

The Coronavirus supplement of $550 per fortnight will be paid to new and existing recipients of:

  • JobSeeker Payment
  • Youth Allowance
    (JobSeeker)
  • Parenting Payment
  • ABSTUDY and
    Austudy
  • Farm Household
    Allowance, and
  • Special Benefit.

The supplement will be paid over the next six months and will be paid automatically with your ordinary fortnightly entitlement. It will be paid from 27 April.

Q: I have been temporarily stood down. What are my options?

You may be entitled to a payment from Centrelink. We explain these options in the next question.

However before applying for a social security benefit, you should ask your employer whether they will be applying for the ‘JobKeeper’ payment on your behalf. This payment of $1,500 per fortnight would be paid from your employer to you, and would be assessed under the income test when calculating your entitlement to any social security entitlements. This will mean that you wouldn’t be eligible to an income support payment from Centrelink.

If you’ve been stood down but you’re receiving payments from your employer, such as annual leave or other paid leave, you’ll need to disclose this to Centrelink. Depending on the amount of the payment, it may reduce your
entitlement to a Centrelink benefit.

Low income health card

If you are ineligible for an income support payment, you may still be eligible for the Low Income Health Card from Centrelink. To be eligible, your weekly income needs to be below certain thresholds, depending on your family circumstances. If your income for the last eight weeks has exceeded the allowable threshold, it is worth reconsidering your circumstances and eligibility in future weeks, particularly if your circumstances have changed. Income uses the social security rules which does not always reflect the actual income you receive.

It is important to remember that the below income thresholds will include any income received by you and your partner (if applicable) and includes any amount
of JobKeeper received by you or your partner.

Status Maximum
weekly income
Maximum
income in 8 week period
Single, no children $570 $4,560
Couple combined, no children $984 $7,872
Single, 1 dependant child $984 $7,872
Couple combined, 1 child $1,018 $8,144
For each extra child $34 $272

Q: I have been made redundant, lost my job, or have been stood down. Can I apply to receive a social security benefit?

You may be entitled to a social security benefit or concession card. The benefit or concession you’re entitled to will depend on your circumstances but could
include:

  • JobSeeker payment
  • Youth Allowance
    (jobSeeker), or
  • Parenting
    Payment.

If you’ve reached your Age Pension age but have been continuing to work, you should instead apply for the Age Pension.

JobSeeker
payment requirement
 
Age requirement People aged at least 22 but less than Age
Pension age
 
Maximum entitlement per fortnight This
varies depending on whether you have children, how many children you have,
and whether you have a partner.
Maximum
entitlements (current)
If
you’re single with no children: $565.70
Single with children: $612.00
Couples
(each) $510.80
(current as at 20 March
2020 and may be indexed on 20 September 2020)
How much will I actually get? The amount that you’re entitled to receive
also varies depending on your income. The assets test has been a waived for six
months.
Do I need to serve a waiting period? Normally waiting periods apply before you can
receive these payments. However, some waiting periods have been waived for a
limited period. However, one waiting period you may need to undertake an income maintenance waiting period
(calculated by considering any redundancy or other termination payments
received, which may include lump sum payments for unused leave entitlements).
Services Australia will be able to provide details of any specific waiting
periods that apply to you.
What evidence do I need? Centrelink has temporarily waived the need to
provide Employment Separation Certificates, or letters from employers to
confirm a change in hours.
Do I need to demonstrate that I am looking
for work?
Ordinarily
entitled to the payment requires a mutual obligation agreement. This includes
activities such as actively seeking employment. However, the mutual
obligation requirements have been suspended until 27th April 2020
(unless extended further). This means you’re exempt activities during that
time.
It
also means if you’re continuing to earn some employment income, you don’t
need to report this each fortnight until this date.

Youth
Allowance (jobSeeker)
 
Age requirements People aged 16-21 and:
Looking
for full time workDoing
approved activitiesStudying
part time and looking for workTemporarily
unable to work

 

Maximum entitlement This
depends on your circumstances, including:
whether
you live with your parents or away from homeyour
agewhether
you have children, andyour
relationship status.

See servicesaustralia.gov.au for payment
rates.

How much will I get? The amount that you’re entitled to receive
also varies depending on your income. The assets test has been a waived for six
months.
Do I need to serve a waiting period? Normally waiting periods apply before you can
receive these payments. Some waiting periods have been waived. However, you
may also need to satisfy an income
maintenance waiting period
(calculated by considering any redundancy or
other termination payments received, which may include lump sum payments for
unused leave entitlements).
 
What evidence do I need? Centrelink has temporarily waived the need to
provide Employment Separation Certificates, or letters from employers to
confirm a change in hours.
Do I need to demonstrate that I am looking
for work?
Ordinarily
entitled to the payment requires a mutual obligation agreement. This includes
activities such as actively seeking employment. However, the mutual
obligation requirements have been suspended until 27th April 2020
(unless extended further). This means you’re exempt activities during that
time.
It
also means if you’re continuing to earn some employment income, you don’t
need to report this each fortnight until this date.
My study load has been impacted because of
COVID-19. Will this impact my payment?
If you’re self-isolated or your study load
changes because your education provider has closed or reduced your study
load, you may remain eligible if you stay enrolled and plan on returning to
study.

Parenting payment  
Who is eligible? You must be the principal
carer of a child who is aged:
less
than 8 if you’re single, orless
than 6 if you have a partner.

You must also be an
Australian resident and in Australia at the time you claim.

Maximum entitlement per
fortnight
Single: $790.10
Couple: $510.80
Couple (illness separated): $612.00
(current as at 20 March
2020 and may be indexed on 20 September 2020)
How much will I get? The amount that you’re
entitled to receive also varies depending on your income. The assets test has
been a waived for 6 months.
Do I need to serve a
waiting period?
Normally waiting periods apply before you can
receive these payments. However, some waiting periods have been waived for a
limited period. However, one waiting period you may need to undertake an income maintenance waiting period
(calculated by considering any redundancy or other termination payments
received, which may include lump sum payments for unused leave entitlements).
Services Australia will be able to provide details of any specific waiting
periods that apply to you.
Do I need to demonstrate
that I am looking for work, studying and meeting other ordinary participation
requirement?
Ordinarily entitled to the payment requires a
mutual obligation agreement. This includes activities such as actively
seeking employment. However, the mutual obligation requirements have been suspended
until 27th April 2020 (unless extended further). This means you’re
exempt activities during that time.
It also means if you’re
continuing to earn some employment income, you don’t need to report this each
fortnight until this date.

Q: Will my partner’s income be assessed when determining my entitlement to JobSeeker?

Yes, a partner income test will still apply, which means your partner’s income may impact your entitlement. This will depend on the income earned by your partner. It is only the assets test that is being waived for 6 months until 24 September 2020.

A temporary change to the partner income test will be made to increase the amount that your partner can earn before the JobSeeker entitement reduces to zero. Currently, a partner can earn approximately $47,900 pa before a part JobSeeker payment would cease (assuming that the applicant has no income of their own
from any other sources). This will increase to $79,762pa.

Any ongoing income that you earn yourself (such as any employment income, or income
from investments) will also reduce your fortnightly payment as follows:

Applicant’s fortnightly income Reduction in payment
Up to $104 $0
$104 to $254 50 cents for
every dollar over $104
Over $254 $75 plus 60 cents for every dollar over $254

 From 27 April 2020, the partner income test will be temporarily relaxed, increasing the amount that the partner of an applicant can earn before entitlement to JobSeeker reduces to
nil under the income test.
 

Currently, entitlement to JobSeeker (including the Energy Supplement) cuts out once a partner’s income reaches  $1,858.50 per fortnight ($48,321
pa). As a result of this change, a partner will be able to earn up to $3,068.80 per fortnight ($79,788.80 pa), before the applicant’s entitlement is reduced to nil (assuming the applicant has no income of their own, which could reduce their entitlement to nil sooner).

The partner income test taper rate for JobSeeker will reduce from 60c to 25c. This means that for every dollar a partner earns over $994 per fortnight, the applicant’s JobSeeker entitlement will reduce by 25c. This is on top of any reduction that the person might have because of income
they receive, either from employment or other sources.

Q: How do I apply for a benefit?

To determine what benefits or concessions you’re entitled to, you should speak to a Pinnacle Advice financial adviser, or a Centrelink or DVA representative.

Applications may be able to be made online, through MyGov, or in your nearest Centrelink office.

Q: I’m overseas and can’t return home due to travel restrictions/quarantine/illness. Can my payment be
extended?

It may be possible to extend your benefits. You will need to call Centrelink International Services on +613 6222 3455 between 8am-5pm AEST to discuss your circumstances.

Next steps

To find out more about these are any other issues or
concerns you may have, we recommend you contact your financial adviser.

Important information

This document has been prepared by Jason McFadden a sub authorised representative (ASIC #310317) of Pinnacle Advice Pty Ltd ASIC No. 1258793 a corporate authorised representative of Direction Advice Group Pty Ltd (DAG). Direction Advice Group holds Australian Financial Service License number 492953 ABN 68
614150533.  Any advice provided is of a general nature only. It does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Please seek personal advice before making a decision about a financial product. Information in this document is current as at 2 April 2020. While care has been taken in its preparation, no liability is accepted by DAG or its related entities, agents or employees for any loss arising from reliance on this document. Any opinions expressed constitute our views as at 2 April 2020. Case studies are for illustration purposes only. Any tax information provided is a guide only. It is not a substitute for specialised tax advice.