Support for Individuals & Couples

These additional measures include:

  1. Supporting individuals and households
  2. Support for Businesses
  3. Supporting the flow of credit

The Government’s consolidated package of $189 billion represents fiscal and balance sheet support across the forward estimate of 9.7 per cent of annual GDP. The support is designed to help businesses and households through the period ahead.

The Government is moving quickly to implement this package. To that end, a package of Bills is being introduced into Parliament on 23 March 2020 for urgent consideration. Subject to passage of the Bills through Parliament, the Government will then move to immediately make, and register, supporting instruments.

We will continue to review these measures and provide further analysis over the coming weeks.

Summary of the Economic Response

  1. Support of individual and households

Income support for individuals

Over the next six months, 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, commencing to be paid from 27 April 2020. This will be paid to both existing and new recipients of Jobseeker Payment, Youth Allowance Jobseeker, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit.

The Jobseeker Payment applies from 20 March 2020 and replaces the Newstart and Sickness Allowance, Wife Pension, Partner Allowance, Bereavement Allowance, Widow B Pension and Widows Allowance.

Expanded access to income support payments

Employees who are stood down or lose their jobs, sole traders, casual workers and contract workers that meet the income test as a result of the economic turndown due to Coronavirus will have access to the Jobseeker Payment or Youth Allowance Jobseeker.

Assets test waiver

Assets testing for Jobseeker Payment, Youth Allowance Jobseeker and Parenting Payment will be waivered for the period of the Coronavirus supplement. Income testing will still apply.

Reduced waiting period

The one-week Ordinary Waiting Period has already been waivered.

The Liquid Asset Waiting Period and Seasonal Work Preclusion Period will be waivered for people eligible for the Coronavirus supplement. Those already serving the Liquid Asset Waiting Period will no longer need to serve the balance. 

The Newly Arrived Residents Waiting Period will be temporarily waivered for people eligible for the Coronavirus supplement. Once the supplement ceases, the remainder of any waiting period will need to be served however time in receipt of the Coronavirus supplement will count towards the waiting period.

No relief has been granted from serving the Income Maintenance Period and Compensation Preclusion Period

Faster application processing

Measures have been introduced to allow for accelerated and streamlined processing of new applications including telephone verification of new applicants (to avoid having to physically visit a Centrelink office), and removal of the need to provide Employment Separation Certificates, proof of rental arrangements and relationship status.

Mutual obligation will remain provided it can be done with flexibility and safely. Those with caring responsibilities and people required to self-isolate will be excused from mutual obligation requirements without having to provide a medical certificate. 

Sole traders that qualify for the Jobseeker Payment will be deemed to have met their mutual obligation by continuing to develop and sustain their business.

Fact sheet

Payments to support households

The Government is providing two separate $750 payments to social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders. The first payment announced on 12 March 2020 will be made from 31 March 2020 and the second payment will be made from 13 July 2020. Around half of those that benefit are pensioners. These payments will help to support confidence and domestic demand in the economy. The second payment will not be made to those eligible for the Coronavirus supplement (e.g. recipients of the Jobseeker Payment).

The two payments will be exempt from tax and will not count as income for income test purposes.

Fact sheet

Temporary early release of superannuation

The Government is allowing individuals affected by the Coronavirus to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21.

Early access to superannuation will be available to the following:

  • The unemployed, or
  • Those eligible for Jobseeker, youth allowance for jobseekers, parenting payment, special benefit or farm allowance, or
  • On or after 1 January 2020:
    • A person was made redundant, or
    • Working hours were reduced by 20% or more, or
    • If a sole trader, business was suspended or there was a reduction in turnover of 20% or more.

Applications for early release must be made to the ATO through the myGov website: www.my.gov.au. Applications for early release can be made from mid-April 2020.

Individuals will not need to pay tax on amounts released and the money they withdraw will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.

Fact sheet

Temporary reducing superannuation minimum drawdown rates

The Government is temporarily reducing superannuation minimum drawdown requirements for account-based pensions and similar products by 50 per cent for 2019-20 and 2020-21. This measure will benefit retirees with account-based pensions and similar products by reducing the need to sell investment assets to fund minimum drawdown requirements.

The revised drawdown rates for 2019/20 and 2020/21 are:

Age

Default minimum

Minimum for 2019/20 & 2020/21

< 65

4%

2%

65 – 74

5%

2.5%

75 – 79

6%

3%

80 – 84

7%

3.5%

85 – -89

9%

4.5%

90 – 94

11%

5.5%

95+

14%

7%

 

Fact sheet

Reducing social security deeming rates

On 12 March 2020, the Government announced a 0.5 percentage point reduction in both the upper and lower social security deeming rates. The Government will now reduce these rates by another 0.25 percentage points.

As of 1 May 2020, the upper deeming rate will be 2.25 per cent and the lower deeming rate will be 0.25 per cent. The reductions reflect the low interest rate environment and its impact on the income from savings.

The change will benefit around 900,000 income support recipients, including around 565,000 Age Pensioners who will, on average receive around $105 more of the Age Pension in the first full year the reduced rates apply.

Fact sheet

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