COVID-19: Have you been financially impacted? We can support you.
With the ever evolving COVID-19 situation and it's impact on society, many are facing into a reduction in work hours, temporary stand downs and / or job loss. With so much uncertainty, it's natural to feel overwhelmed and unsure about the future.
Below you'll find some practical tips, insights and a summary of potential financial support during this challenging time.
Helping your financial security
If your financial situation has changed because of job loss or a reduction in income, it's important to get a clear picture of your financial position. There are some actions you can take to understand your income and spending. They will help you understand where you can modify your budget and spending habits.
- Use our to review where you can cut expenses for the short term (for example, gym membership, streaming services, takeaway meals, etc.)
- Find out what you have in savings and list every expense you’ll have to meet for the next three months – a Budget planner can help you manage your cash flow.
- If you’re under 65 and actively looking for new employment, you may be eligible for Jobseeker Payments. If you’re aged 65 or older, you can review your eligibility for the Age Pension.
- Check your insurance policies and speak with your insurers to confirm any potential cover.
- Talk to all lenders and utilities services with which you have arrangements if you feel you may get into financial difficulty. They may be able to help during this period.
- You can also reach out for free, confidential financial counselling services offered by community organisations. If you require legal advice, there are free services available through community legal centres and Legal Aid offices in each state and territory. The Financial Rights Legal Centre, which is national, provides a debt helpline and plenty of useful resources.
Our COVID-19 Customer Support Package
During this period of uncertainty, help is available for existing customers financially impacted by COVID-19. The COVID-19 Customer Support Package offers ways to help manage your home loan, credit card and / or personal loan. For more information, and to check your eligibility, please visit westpac.com.au/covid19.
Managing financial hardship
You’re not on your own. We may be able to help you find ways to manage your Westpac debts and other financial commitments through this period of unemployment. We can also help you apply for financial hardship. Please call Westpac Assist on 1800 067 497 or see our Financial hardship FAQs to help you find the financial support you may need online.
Other COVID-19 financial assistance
The Australian Federal Government has released various economic and financial assistance packages to support people, businesses and the economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is an unusual and unsettling time. Staying as informed as possible about where and how you can access support will help you plan. Depending on your circumstances you may be eligible for assistance, such as:
- Coronavirus supplement: an extra payment of $550 per fortnight, to new and existing eligible income support recipients.
- JobSeeker Payments (previously Newstart): If your income has fallen below a certain level, you may be eligible for support from the government. You can apply for immediate income support from JobSeeker support through MyGov Online.
- JobKeeper Payment: The Government has announced a JobKeeper payment to help keep more Australians in jobs and support businesses affected by the significant economic impact caused by the Coronavirus. You could be eligible to receive a fortnightly payment of $1,500 (before tax) through your employer if they are eligible. The payment ensures employers remain connected to their workforce and will help businesses restart quickly when the crisis is over.
- The Government is providing two separate (Economic Support) payments of $750 to social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders. The first payment will be made from 31 March and the second from 13 July 2020. For more information visit Services Australia.
- Accessing super early: The government has announced some changes in relation to temporarily allowing individuals to access some of their super early, if they’ve been affected by the coronavirus related downturn. This change has not commenced but is expected to be available from 20 April 2020. Eligible individuals will be able to apply through MyGov Online (not through their super fund).
Prioritise your well-being
Your mental and physical well-being can suffer with anxiety and worry when you experience job loss. This is a time in which most of us will worry about the future.
It’s important to talk to your friends and family about how you’re feeling. Your GP can provide advice and referrals, including information about free counselling services.
Make sure you get plenty of sleep. Exercise where you can, even if this means a YouTube work out in the lounge. Enjoy fresh air and healthy meals, and spend time with your loved ones (though this may currently be remotely) so you’re in the best place to commence the search for a new job when the time comes.
Preparing for your future job
Looking for a new job can feel daunting but being prepared can help. Times of crisis can often result in unexpected career pivots. Review your goals and aspirations and think about what you’d really like to do next. Talk to people you’ve worked with or know – word-of-mouth is the fastest foot in the door to an interview.
Things to do:
- Review your skills and achievements.
- Look for online courses and seminars to upskill or retrain. These sites may help you find a suitable course.
- Update your CV and LinkedIn profile.
- Network online with people in your industry.
- Set online appointments to meet recruiters.
- Consider temporary, part-time work or casual work in essential services.
Other helpful resources:
- Explore job opportunities on the Australian government’s Jobs Hub.
- Contact your local council and community centres to learn about free services.
- Contact Fair Work Australia for information on your rights after redundancy or loss of your job.
- Think about volunteering. To find out how you can volunteer, even during these challenging times visit Volunteering Australia.