Hundreds of thousands of Australians have lost their jobs in just over a week. It’s heartbreaking hearing from locals who have been stood down or whose businesses have folded. If you have lost your job or are facing financial hardship, help is available.
A WORD ON HEALTH
STAY HOME UNLESS IT IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY TO GO OUT.
Please follow this health advice to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep safe.
For your safety and the safety of others please avoid Centrelink queues. We are urging the government to rapidly boost online and phone services. Go to myGov or call 132 850
Phone lines are now open 8am-8pm (Monday-Friday) and 9am-5pm (Saturday & Sunday).
The waiting period for the JobSeeker Payment has been waived. If you were stood down, terminated or lost income (such as sole traders or casuals) claims will be back paid from 23 March 2020. You may also be eligible for JobKeeper.
In addition, you may be eligible for the Coronavirus supplement.
If you are having any Centrelink problems please call my office 4353 0127.
IF YOUR PARTNER HAS LOST THEIR JOB
JobSeeker Payment is subject to a partner income test which has been temporarily relaxed by the government. This mean an eligible person can now receive the JobSeeker Payment, and Coronavirus Supplement, providing their partner earns less than $3,068 per fortnight, around $79,762 per year.
ECONOMIC SUPPORT PAYMENT
On 12 March the Government announced an Economic Support payment of $750 to Social Security and Veterans' income support recipients, Farm Household Allowance (FHA) recipients, Family Tax Benefit (FTB) recipients and holders of a Pensioner Concession Card, Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) or Commonwealth Gold Card who were eligible on 12 March 2020.
This has been extended to those eligible between 12 March - 13 April 2020.
On 10 July a second $750 Economic Support payment will be made to those eligible.
If you already receive a Centrelink benefit you do not need to do anything it will be paid automatically.
Find out if you are eligible here
A temporary Coronavirus Supplement of $550 a fortnight is available to new and existing income support recipients from 27 April 2020 for six months.
Those eligible will receive their usual payment plus $550 fortnight.
The Coronavirus Supplement will be provided to recipients of: JobSeeker Payment; Sickness Allowance; Youth Allowance for jobseekers; Parenting Payment Partnered; Parenting Payment Single; Partner Allowance; Sickness Allowance; Farm Household Allowance.
IF YOU ARE STUDYING
The supplement will also be paid to students on Abstudy and Austudy. Students receiving Youth Allowance (student) or other study related payments, in Australia and unable to attend classes are deemed to have a reasonable excuse for not meeting study activity requirements for their payment.
Contact Services Australia to advise of your circumstances.
IF YOU HAVE CENTRELINK DEBT
Labor continues to seek a moratorium on Centrelink debt payments. Unfortunately, this has not yet been granted. In the meantime, advise Centrelink you can only afford the minimum repayment and enter into a repayment plan. CONTACT ME IF YOU ARE TOLD YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO DO THIS.
IF YOU ARE A PART-PENSIONER OR SELF-FUNDED RETIREE
The pensioner deeming rate is being lowered. As of 1 May the lower deeming rate will be 0.25 per cent and the upper deeming rate will be 2.25 per cent.
Labor is calling for the rates to change now.
If you are a self-funded retiree the best way to find out if you are eligible for any additional income support is to seek independent financial advice.
If you have any concerns you can depend on my office for help. Email emma.mcbride.mp.gov.au or phone 4353 0127.