COVID-19 review: JobSeeker, JobKeeper & early access to Super

Kate Campbell from How To Money Australia provides a review of the COVID-19 Australian Government benefits, including Job Seeker, Job Keeper & getting access to Superannuation early.


If you told me a month ago that I’d be unable to leave the country, stuck inside and made redundant I wouldn’t have believed you for a second, yet here we are in this new reality.

It’s certainly a challenging time as we come to terms with the last few weeks, where time has rushed by and gone painfully slowly at the same time. Thankfully we’ve been provided with a number of Australian Government packages to ensure the money keeps flowing through our economy and everyone can afford to eat. I’ve broken down some of the key schemes to be aware of, which you may be able to access during this time. 

In the following Australian Finance Podcast episode, I spoke with Owen Raszkiewicz to talk through the options available right now, including the best and worst bits of the schemes. You can listen to the podcast by clicking here or by using these links:

Listen now: iTunes | Spotify | Castbox | YouTube 

 

I’ve recently become unemployed – Job Seeker explained

First things first, if you’ve been made redundant, make sure that you’ve been correctly compensated as per the Fairwork entitlements and have it in writing (you may need the document as evidence later on). 

If you’ve recently lost your source of income due to COVID-19 you may be eligible for the JobSeeker payment, if you’re between 22 and the Age Pension age. If eligible, a single person with no dependents will receive a maximum payment of $565.70 per fortnight plus the fortnightly Coronavirus Supplement of $550 (from the 27 of April). 

I’d encourage you to head into your MyGov account and register your intent to claim as soon as possible. Due to the overwhelming number of Australians out of work Centrelink staff simply can’t process this volume of claims overnight, so you’ll need to get in the ‘virtual queue’. If you haven’t used Centrelink before you’ll need to wait for them to give you a call (on a private number) and verify your identity, before providing you with a CRN (customer reference number) which you can then use to make your claim. 

I’m currently employed – Job Keeper

To prevent employers from making everyone redundant and closing up shop for good, the government’s plan is to subsidise each eligible employee with $1,500 per fortnight. The employer will claim this on your behalf and pass it through to you if they can demonstrate significant income loss due to COVID-19. 

To be an eligible employee you must have been employed as of 1 March 2020, currently employed at the company and have worked at the company for more than 12 months. There are a few other criteria worth checking out here.

Businesses with a turnover of less than $1 billion who estimate their turnover has or will likely fall by 30% or more and businesses with a turnover of more than $1 billion who estimate their turnover has or will likely fall by 50% or more will be eligible to claim this on behalf of their employees

What are my other options?

Another big announcement made by the government was the ability to access some of your Superannuation early if you meet one of the following criteria:

  • You are unemployed.
  • You are eligible to receive a job seeker payment, youth allowance for jobseekers, parenting payment (which includes the single and partnered payments), special benefit or farm household allowance.
  • On or after 1 January 2020, either      
    • you were made redundant
    • your working hours were reduced by 20% or more
    • if you are a sole trader, your business was suspended or there was a reduction in your turnover of 20% or more.

If eligible, you’ll be able to take out a maximum of $10,000 from your super (before 30th June) and a further $10,000 from 1 July 2020 until 24 September 2020. At the moment you are not even required to provide evidence to support your application (although keeping the relevant proof on file is recommended). 

Please ensure you have considered all options and spoken to your accountant/advisor before doing this, as it may impact the insurance policies you currently have within your superannuation account. You can register your intent to claim through your MyGov account as well. 

Here are a few other things to consider at the moment:

  • Check out the Australian Government Jobs Hub
  • Call your bank to negotiate/suspend payments of any loans you have
  • Call your water/energy/gas providers and speak to their hardship teams
  • Chat to your landlord about rent payments
  • Speak to a free financial counsellor
  • Explore the No Interest Loans Scheme 

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