Coronavirus – Individual Income Support

Coronavirus – Individual Income Support

From 27 April 2020, the Government will introduce a Coronavirus supplement of $550 per fortnight (payable to individuals currently receiving certain eligible income support payments) and will also temporarily expand access to certain income support payments, over a six-month period.
The Government will also provide two separate $750 tax-free payments to certain social security, veteran and other income support recipients, and to eligible concession card holders.

Introducing a new Coronavirus supplement

A new Coronavirus supplement at the rate of $550 per fortnight will be paid to individuals who are currently eligible for certain income support payments, including:
Jobseeker Payment;
Youth Allowance; and
Parenting Payment (Partnered and Single).

According to the Government, anyone who is eligible for the Coronavirus supplement will receive the full rate of the supplement of $550 per fortnight.

Furthermore, it appears that this new (additional) supplement will be paid to eligible individuals as part of their existing income support payments (e.g., Jobseeker Payment and Youth Allowance).

Expanding access (and eligibility) to certain income support payments

For the period that the Coronavirus supplement is paid, the Government will also expand access to certain income support payments (e.g., the Jobseeker Payment, the Youth Allowance Jobseeker and the Parenting Payment) for eligible individuals. For example:

(a) A new category of Jobseeker Payment and Youth Allowance Jobseeker will become available for eligible individuals who are financially impacted by the Coronavirus and satisfy certain requirements. According to the Government, this could include, for example, permanent employees who are stood down or lose their employment; sole traders; the self employed; casual workers; and contract workers who meet the income tests, as a result of the economic downturn due to the Coronavirus.

(b) Asset testing for the JobSeeker Payment, the Youth Allowance Jobseeker and the Parenting Payment, will be waived for the period of the Coronavirus supplement. Income testing will still apply to the person’s other payments, consistent with current arrangements.

Also, reduced waiting times will result from the waiver of a number of traditional waiting periods.

Tax-free payments of $750 to eligible recipients

The Government will be providing two separate $750 tax-free payments (referred to as ‘economic support payments’) to social security, veteran and other income support recipients, and to eligible concession card holders, as follows:

(a) The first casual workers; and contract workers who meet will be available to individuals who are residing in Australia and are receiving an eligible Government payment, or are the holders of an eligible concession card, at any time from 12 March 2020 to 13 April 2020 (inclusive). Also, where an individual has lodged a claim for one of the eligible payments or concession cards at any time from 12 March to 13 April 2020 (inclusive), they will also receive the payment if the claim is granted. This payment will be made automatically to eligible individuals from 31 March 2020. For this purpose, eligible Government payments and concession cards comprise the following (refer to the Treasury fact sheet: “Payments to support households”):

Age Pension Austudy Special Benefit
Disability Support Pension Bereavement Allowance Widow Allowance
Carer Payment Newstart Allowance Family Tax Benefit, including
Double Orphan Pension
Parenting Payment JobSeeker Payment Carer Allowance
Wife Pension Youth Allowance Pensioner Concession Card
(PCC) holders
Widow B Pension Partner Allowance Commonwealth Seniors
Health Card holders
ABSTUDY (Living Allowance) Sickness Allowance Farm Household Allowance
Veteran Service Pension;
Veteran Income Support
Supplement; Veteran
Compensation payments,
including lump sum payments;
War Widow(er) Pension;
Veteran Payment
Veteran Gold Card holders DVA PCC holders; DVA
Education Scheme
recipients; Disability
Pensioners at the temporary
special rate; and DVA
Income support pensioners
at $0 rate

(b) The second payment will be available to individuals who are residing in Australia and are receiving one of the above eligible Government payments or are the holders of one of the above eligible concession cards, on 10 July 2020 (except for those receiving an income support payment that qualifies them to receive the $550 fortnightly Coronavirus supplement). This payment will be made automatically to eligible individuals from 13 July 2020.

Note that, an individual can be eligible to receive both the first and second support payment. However, they can only receive one $750 payment in each round of payments, even if they qualify in each round of the payments in multiple ways.

Each of the $750 payments will be
exempt from income tax and will not count as income for the purposes of Social Security, the Farm Household Allowance and Veteran payments.

This has been taken from the NTAA document entitled “NTAA Stimulus Package”

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