Am I Eligible for Centrelink Payments? A Guide for Parents.

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Thousands of Australians have been blindsided by the cumulative effects of the Coronavirus crisis. While services have been halted, businesses forced to close and just about everyone advised to stay at home, a record number of Australians are facing sudden unemployment, with no end in sight.

The Government has revealed a hefty bailout package of $189billion over the next six months for individuals and businesses, including stimulus payments to boost the economy and income support for thousands of Aussies who lose their jobs during this turbulent period. 

Coronavirus Supplement

A temporary Coronavirus Supplement of $550 a fortnight will be given to new and existing income support recipients from 27th April 2020. This is an additional top-up payment set to double the existing Jobseeker Payment. People will receive their usual payment plus $550 each fortnight for the next six months. 

The Coronavirus Supplement will also be provided to people receiving Parenting Payment Partnered or Single, Partner Allowance and Sickness Allowance.

Those already unemployed or soon to be forced out of work will be able to get up to $1,100 a fortnight in Centrelink payments.

Everyone earning less than $1,075 a fortnight will be eligible to receive the full benefit, with it scaling back with additional income.

The ordinary waiting period has been waived.

JobSeeker Payment

The Government has temporarily expanded eligibility for the JobSeeker allowance beyond permanent employees who has been stood down or lost your job. You may be eligible if you're a sole trader, self-employed, a casual or contract worker whose income has reduced, or if you are caring for someone who's affected by Coronavirus.

If you're earning less than $1,075 a fortnight you should be eligible for the JobSeeker allowance and the Coronavirus Supplement. 

 Assets tests and waiting periods will be waived during the period for those on the JobSeeker Payment and Parenting Payment and from 27th April 2020, access to payments will become easier with the temporary removal of the requirement for an Employment Separation Certificate, proof of rental arrangements and verification of relationship status.

 If you're not currently receiving welfare, you'll need to apply.

$750 Stimulus Payments

Two separate Economic Support payments of $750 each will also be dispensed to recipients of JobSeeker Allowance and Family Tax Benefit, as well as those receiving the pension, the disability support pension, carers' allowance, youth allowance and veteran support payments.

If you’re living in Australia and get a welfare payment between 12 March 2020 and 13 April 2020, you will also get the Economic Support payments. These payments will be made automatically on 31st March and 13th July.

If you claim Family Tax Benefit as a lump sum after the end of the financial year and are eligible for FTB in the 2019-20 and/or 2020-21 financial year and will receive the support payment as part of their lump sum payment.

How to Apply

If you already receive welfare payments, you don't have to do anything. You will automatically receive any eligible supplements.

Centrelink has encouraged new applicants to claim online or through the app, and anyone without internet access can also claim over the phone.

However, be prepared to wait! Getting your hands on your cash might take a while, as long queues at Centrelink offices are spilling out onto the street and causing hours of delay. The MyGov website also crashed amid the coronavirus chaos leaving people both those at home and in the Centrelink offices unable to proceed with their payments.

You can apply online at MyGov using your Centrelink account or contact Services Australia by phone.

More Coronvirus Advice for Parents

What Are The Alternatives When Everything is in Lockdown?
The Best Podcasts For Mums And Dads
Top TV Shows To Binge-Watch While You're In Self-Isolation

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