Current Conditions and Claiming a Benefit

With the current Covid 19 conditions, you may be considering the best benefit for your clients. Interestingly, Jobkeeper, at its current amount of $1,500 per fortnight is more than the maximum single Jobseeker payment $1,124 per fortnight with the Covid 19 supplement. The maximum current pension rate is $944 (single) per fortnight. However, encouraging those on a Disability Support pension to change for these short-term gains could create more frustration than benefits.

But, changes are coming late September

  • On the 28th, the maximum Jobkeeper reduces to $1,200 pfn. It will also allow for eligible recipients to work for up to 20 hours a week and still receive the lower rate of $750 pfn . This will reduce again in January 2021.

  • The Covid 19 supplement is reduced from $550 pfn to $250 pfn for JobSeekers, Youth Allowance, Parenting Payment + more.

  • This will reduce the maximum JobSeeker payment to $874 pfn.

  • On the 25th, the Asset Test will apply again for JobSeekers.

  • The JobSeeker Mutual obligations (completing Job plans) will be required for most recipients.

What Stays?

  • Waiting periods are still waived until the end of the year.

  • The definition of unemployment includes caring for someone effected by Covid 19.

  • (Vic Only) Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment, $1,500 for each 14 days of isolation (or caring for someone in isolation).

  • (Not New) Pension Loan Scheme for home owners and pension recipients, borrowing installments of money each fortnight, from the Government, against home equity.

What are some other considerations?

  • The JobKeeper payment is a taxable benefit.

  • The JobKeeper payment is considered as income for Social Security Income Tests. While this may make your clients ineligible for benefits, it does not discount them alone.

  • If your clients are eligible for the JobKeeper, this will continue on unpaid parental leave.

  • However, the government paid parental leave scheme (including dad and partner pay) will mean JobKeeper payments cease.

  • Family Tax Benefit Part B (maximum payment of $161 pfn for 1 child 0 to 5 yrs) is for single parents or single income couples where the primary earner less than $100,000 a year.

  • Family Tax Benefit A maximum income limits depend on how many children and their age. For 2 children, the payment is not available for family income over about $110,000pa as a guide. The maximum payment for one child 0 to 12 is $189 pfn.

  • Family Tax Benefits may be paid as an annual lump sum at the end of a year or fortnightly.

  • If parents receive even $1 of JobSeeker, Carer Payment, Age Pension or Disability Support Pension and more, their income will not be assessed for a student applying for Youth Allowance.

  • Youth Allowance may now be applicable if students are no longer employed or working in casual positions.

  • Have your client's asset and income conditions changed making them eligible for a payment? For example, investment rental income ceasing, or reduced asset values.

For more assistance, we recommend your clients visit the below Services Australia link or speak to Centrelink about their circumstances. AdviceLink can assist with administration of claims, getting your clients the right benefit and keeping you and them up to date.

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