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The Government has announced a range of financial support packages to help people who have been affected by COVID-19.

Access to Superannuation

If you’ve been affected by COVID-19, you can now access $10,000 of your superannuation this financial year, plus an additional $10,000 for the 2020/2021 financial year. These payments aren’t taxed and won’t affect your Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.

However, you should consider any possible consequences which may be caused by accessing your super funds early. For more information on what to consider before accessing your funds can be found here

Income Support

If you’re receiving welfare support, a COVID-19 supplement of $550.00 per fortnight has been introduced to top up your existing payments. This includes both new and existing recipients of support payments.

Eligible support payments include:

  • Jobseeker payment (formally known as Newstart)
  • Youth Allowance
  • Parenting payment (partnered and single)
  • Austudy
  • Abstudy
  • Farm Household Allowance
  • Special Benefit recipients
  • Partner Allowance
  • Widow Allowance
  • Sickness Allowance
  • Wife Pension

In addition to the supplement, the criteria for eligibility has been expanded to allow more people to access income support.

Expansions to the Jobseeker Payment and Youth Allowance criteria now provide payment access for:

  • permanent employees who are stood down or lost their employment;
  • sole traders;
  • self-employed and casual workers; and
  • contract workers who meet the income tests as a result of the economic downturn due to COVID-19.

This could also include people who are required to care for someone who is affected by COVID-19.

Waiting periods have also been waived and the payments no longer require asset testing, although income testing will still apply.

Support Payments

The Government is providing two separate $750.00 payments to social security, veteran and other income support recipients, as well as eligible concession card holders.

The first payment will be available to eligible recipients and concession card holders at any time during the period 12 March 2020 to 13 April 2020. These payments will automatically be paid from 31 March 2020.

The second payment will be available for eligible recipients and concession card holders on 10 July 2020. These payments will automatically be paid from 13 July 2020.

If you are eligible for the payments, you don’t have to do anything. Payments will automatically be made to the bank account where your usual support payments are made.

JobKeeper Payment

Businesses impacted by the Coronavirus are able to apply for a wage subsidy to allow them to continue paying you as an employee. Businesses can claim a fortnightly payment of $1,500.00 per eligible employee from 30 March 2020. This subsidy will be available for a maximum of 6 months.

The payment of $1,500.00 per fortnight is pre-taxed and must be paid to you, the employee.

Full time and part time employees are eligible. Casual employees may also be eligible if they have been employed in that business for more than 12 months.

There are several ways to receive the JobKeeper Payment:

  • If you usually receive $1,500.00 or more each fortnight before tax, you will continue to receive your regular income according to any existing workplace arrangements you have in place. The JobKeeper payment will cover all or part of your income;
  • If you usually receive less than $1,500.00 each fortnight before tax, your employer must pay you $1,500.00 per fortnight before tax at a minimum;
  • If you have been stood down as a result of the Coronavirus from 1 March 2020, you must be paid the minimum $1,500.00 per fortnight before tax; and
  • If you were employed on 1 March 2020, ceased employment and then were re-engaged by the same employer, you will receive the minimum $1,500.00 per fortnight before tax.

Eligible businesses can register their interest via the ATO website. Payments will be paid to the business from the first week of May and will be backdated to allow businesses to support their workers immediately.

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