The coronavirus pandemic has caused a great deal of financial uncertainty. If you’ve been financially impacted by the pandemic and lost your job, you may be eligible for a range of supports.
You can use the Payment and Service Finder tool on the home page of our website at servicesaustralia.gov.au to explore what payments you could be eligible for.
The JobSeeker Payment offers financial help if you’re between 22 years and Age Pension age (66 years), looking for work, or if you’re sick or injured and can’t do your usual work. As part of this payment, you can also receive the temporary Coronavirus Supplement of $550 per fortnight.
The second $750 Economic Support Payment will also be paid from July to eligible income support payment recipients or concession cardholders, including the Age Pension, Carer Payment, Carer Allowance, Disability Support Pension, and the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card.
There’s nothing you need to do to prepare for this, we’ll automatically pay it to you if you’re eligible. You just won’t get the second Economic Support Payment if you’re receiving the Coronavirus Supplement.
The Government has also allowed individuals financially affected by coronavirus to access some of their superannuation early, before they reach preservation age.
Eligible Australian and New Zealand citizens and permanent residents can apply to access up to two lots of $10,000 from their superannuation.
To qualify, you need to be unemployed and eligible for certain Centrelink payments such as JobSeeker Payment, Parenting Payment, or Farm Household Allowance.
On top of this, as of 1 January this year, you need to have been made redundant, had your working hours reduced by 20 per cent or more, or if you were a sole trader, your business was suspended or you faced a reduction in turnover of over 20 per cent.
You can apply to access up to $10,000 until 30 June 2020, and a further $10,000 from 1 July until 24 September 2020. The early release of superannuation is managed by the Australian Taxation Office and you can find more information, including how to apply, on their website ato.gov.au.
If you’re receiving a Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payment or the JobKeeper Payment, any money you withdraw from your superannuation under this measure won’t affect your payments.
For Centrelink purposes, while we won’t treat the lump sum as income when assessing your income support payments, we just need to know what you’ve done with the money, for instance, if you’ve put it in the bank.
Remember to tell us within 14 days of receiving the funds, and the easiest way to do this is through your Centrelink online account on myGov. Once you start spending the money, then it’s simply a case of updating your balances.
Before you decide to access your superannuation, we strongly recommend seeking appropriate, independent financial advice.
You can also use the superannuation calculator on MoneySmart’s website at moneysmart.gov.au to see how taking out funds now may affect your superannuation in retirement.
If you’d like to speak to one of our financial information service officers to help understand your options, call us on 132 300.
Until next time.
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