Individuals & Households
1. $750 Payments and Coronavirus supplement - measures extended by announcement on 22 March 2020
TWO tax-free cash payments of $750 per person will be made to social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders. The eligibility for the two payments will be slightly different.
- The first payment (announced on 12 March 2020) will be available to people who are eligible payment recipients and concession card holders at any time from 12 March 2020 to 13 April 2020 inclusive. This will be paid automatically from 31 March 2020.
- The second payment will be available to people who are eligible payment recipients and concession card holders on 10 July 2020. This will be paid automatically from 13 July 2020.
A person can be eligible to receive both a 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. The payments will not be considered income for income-testing purposes by Centrelink.
The Treasury has released a factsheet listing all the income support payments that will qualify you for the two stimulus cash payments, as well as the Coronavirus supplement discussed below. The factsheet also provides additional details on these measures. You can access it here.
The payments will be delivered by Services Australia or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Most of the first wave payments are expected to be made by mid-April.
OUR TIP: If you are a holder of a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card or a Veteran Gold Card, you will be contacted to confirm your account details, to enable the stimulus payment to be made. We urge you to exercise caution when you get such contact and to ensure that you are speaking to a legitimate representative of a government department before giving out any personal or financial information, in order to minimise your exposure to potential scammers.
2. Increased and accelerated income support, new Coronavirus supplement
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.
Eligible payment categories
Recipients of the following income support payment categories will be eligible to receive the Coronavirus supplement are:
• Jobseeker Payment (formerly “Newstart Allowance”) and all payments progressively transitioning to JobSeeker Payment; those currently receiving Partner Allowance, Widow Allowance, Sickness Allowance and Wife Pension
• Youth Allowance Jobseeker
• Parenting Payment (Partnered and Single)
• Farm Household Allowance
• Special Benefit recipients
Please see the table provided on page 4 of the Treasury’s fact sheet, which shows benefits eligible for the Coronavirus supplement.
Anyone who is eligible for the Coronavirus supplement will receive the full rate of the supplement of $550 per fortnight.
Access to payment
The eligibility criteria will be expanded and relaxed to enable access for 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. This could also include a person required to care for someone who is affected by the Coronavirus
Asset testing for JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance Jobseeker and 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.
Waiting times will also be reduced from the standard timeframes with accelerated claims and application processes.
The Coronavirus Supplement and expanded access for payments will commence from 27 April 2020.
Further information and examples are available here.
3. Superannuation related measures
The government has also introduced two superannuation measures that may affect individuals:
- Temporary early access to superannuation; and
- Temporary reduction in mandated rate of minimum pension withdrawals.
We explain these measures in our Assistance for Retirees and Super Funds Section.
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The content of this newsletter is general in nature. It does not constitute specific advice and readers are encouraged to consult their Ruddicks adviser on any matters of interest. Ruddicks accepts no liability for errors or omissions, or for any loss or damage suffered as a result of any person acting without such advice. This information is current as at 24 March 2020, and was published around that time. Ruddicks particularly accepts no obligation or responsibility for updating this publication for events, including changes to the law, the Australian Taxation Office’s interpretation of the law, or Government announcements arising after that time.
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