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COVID-19 Help for individuals

August 2020

As the economic hit from COVID-19 continues to impact businesses, individuals who are ineligible for JobKeeper or have to self-isolate are also in need of income support. Here's what's available.

Individuals who find themselves either without work or having to self-isolate due to close contact with someone exposed to COVID-19 do have some support options available. We explore below what is available and Services Australia has an online payment guide that guides you through the payments available if you are impacted by COVID-19 and what you might be able to access.

Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment for Victoria

If you have to self-isolate or quarantine at home because of COVID-19 or are caring for someone who is, and cannot earn an income as a result, you might be eligible for a $1,500 payment.

Tightening of access to income support

From 25 September 2020, the assets test and the Liquid Assets Waiting Period will be reintroduced for access to JobSeeker income support payments.

This applies to those with assets such as cash savings worth over $5,500 for singles or $11,000 for singles with children and partnered people).

In addition, partner income testing will resume from 25 September 2020, albeit with higher thresholds than those pre COVID-19. That is, you will not be eligible for income support if you are not earning an income but your partner earns $3,086.11 per fortnight or $80,238.89 per annum.

Job seeking requirements that were suspended from 24 March 2020 have been introduced from 9 June 2020.

Some leniency has been provided for Victorians if you maintain contact with your employment service provider.

Coronavirus supplement

The Coronavirus supplement will continue, albeit on a reduced rate of $250 per fortnight (from $550), from 25 September until 31 December 2020 for eligible individuals.

27 April to 24 Sept. 2020

$550 per fortnight

25 Sept. to 31 Dec. 2020

$250 per fortnight

Early access to superannuation

Figures from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority show that over $30 billion has been taken from superannuation to date under hardship provisions.

If you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident and New Zealand citizen, you can apply to release up to $10,000 of your superannuation between 1 July 2020 and 31 December 2020 if you were made redundant, your working hours have been reduced by more than 20%, and you have been adversely financially impacted by COVID-19.

If you are not in financial hardship you should not access your superannuation.

The application process through myGov is a self-assessment process that you are responsible for. Penalties of up to $12,000 may apply for providing false or misleading information.

Some financial institutions are reporting that early access to superannuation will be a factor taken into account for those seeking to apply for loans – lenders may interpret early access as meaning that you are unable to meet your commitments and or are insolvent, and this is likely to impact on your credit worthiness.

Get more information

For more information about how to access income support other than JobKeeper, please visit the Services Australia online payment guide.

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Disclaimer

This article is provided for information purposes only and correct at the time of publication. It should not be used in place of advice from your accountant. Please contact us on 02 9957 4033 to discuss your specific circumstances.

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