This blog post does not serve as legal or financial advice. We’re all just reading the Economic Response to the Coronavirus, fact sheet on Income Support for Individuals, on a Monday morning, the 24th of March at 9:50am, so take from it as you like.
Let’s read it together.
The Government is temporarily expanding eligibility to income support payments and establishing a new, time-limited Coronavirus supplement to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight. This supplement will be paid to both existing and new recipients of the eligible payment categories. These changes will apply for the next six months.
So $550 per adult per fortnight, to new and existing recipients of “the dole” as us Aussies like to call it, for the next six months.
My best understanding is that if you’re self-employed and out of work, you’ll fo on the Jobseeker Payment.
Asset testing is waived.
Waiting times are waived.
Income maintenance periods do apply, this means if you are on annual leave or received a lump sum payment on “leaving work” then you have to wait. I’m guessing us self-employed aren’t doing this?
People will not be permitted, and will need to declare that they are not, accessing employer entitlements (such as annual leave and/or sick leave) or Income Protection Insurance, at the same time as receiving Jobseeker Payment and Youth Allowance Jobseeker under these arrangements.
So don’t put yourself on annual leave if you are in a situation like I am and you’re an employee of your trust or company.
To ensure timely access to payments, new applicants are encouraged to claim through on-line and mobile channels.
Go through my.gov.au or the Centrelink app.
From April 2020, Services Australia will allow new applicants to call to verify their identity to reduce the need to visit a Services Australia office.
So if you are not already in the Centrelink system, you can do it on the phone, instead of lining up at Centrelink.
And it looks like Rent Assistance is available too.
Applicants may also declare the amount of rent they pay in this declaration to qualify for Rent Assistance.
They have simplified the application process. We don’t need employment separation certificates, or proof of rental arrangements, or verification of relationship status. We don’t need to do a job seeker assessment to make sure we are “job ready” and you don’t need to see an employment service provider first.
Sole traders that become eligible for the Jobseeker Payment will automatically meet their mutual obligation requirements during this period by continuing to develop and sustain their business.
So if you are already a sole trader or self-employed, you do not need to look for work during this period.
The payments begging on April 27 and it sounds like they’ll end on October 27 unless shit gets even more crazy.