Here’s a summary of the current Government initiatives that could help with financial support as the COVID-19 situation evolves.
The Government is offering emergency relief and financial assistance to help employers during this difficult time, including the JobKeeper Payment scheme. Under the scheme, you may be able to claim a fortnightly payment of $1,500 per eligible employee.
The Government’s website contains information, including whether you are eligible to claim these payments.
If your income has fallen below a certain level and you aren’t receiving the JobKeeper payment, you may be eligible for the JobSeeker Payment or other type of Government income support.
The Federal Government has temporarily expanded the eligibility for income support payments to make them easier to claim and have established a time-limited Coronavirus supplement of $550 a fortnight, which effectively doubles the existing JobSeeker Payment. This supplement is being paid to both new and existing recipients of the JobSeeker Payment, as well as recipients of the:
- Partner Allowance
- Widow Allowance
- Sickness Allowance
- Youth Allowance
- ABSTUDY Living Allowance
- Parenting Payment
- Farm Household Allowance
- Special Benefit.
Find out more about Government income support
Economic support payments
If you receive an eligible income support payment, you’ll receive either one or two automatic $750 economic support payments. The first payment has already been made (between 12 March and 13 April 2020) and the second payment will be made from 13 July 2020.
Find out more about economic support payments
You may be able to access up to $10,000 from your superannuation in the 2019-20 financial year and another $10,000 in the 2020-21 financial year. It’s important though to keep in mind that your superannuation is to provide for your retirement, so make sure you consider all your options and the impacts accessing your super early may have.
You can apply to access your superannuation if you meet one or more of the following criteria:
- You’re unemployed
- You’re eligible to receive a job seeker payment, youth allowance for jobseekers, parenting payment (which includes the single and partnered payments), special benefit or farm household allowance
- On or after 1 January 2020, you were either made redundant, had your working hours reduced by 20 per cent or more, or if you are a sole trader your business was suspended or there was a reduction in your turnover of 20 per cent or more.
Temporary residents that meet certain criteria are also able to access up to $10,000 of their super in the 2019-20 financial year. Refer to the ATO to check if you are eligible.
You can apply to access your superannuation by logging into your myGov account and following the 'intention to access Coronavirus support’ instructions. There’s no need to contact your superannuation fund.
Accessing your superannuation is tax free and won’t affect any welfare payments you may be eligible for.
Find out more about withdrawing from your super
Temporary reduction of superannuation minimum drawdown rates
The Government has temporarily reduced superannuation minimum drawdown requirements by 50 per cent for account-based pensions and similar products for the current and next financial year. This reduces the need for retirees to sell investment assets in order to fund minimum drawdown requirements.
Fact sheet 6 Providing support for retirees to manage market volatility
As part of the Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package released by the Government, families won’t have to pay childcare fees at approved childcare centres between 6 April and 28 June 2020. Speak to your childcare centre if they are eligible for the subsidy.
Find out more about support for families
Rental eviction moratorium
All Australian State and Territory Governments have agreed to a six-month moratorium on evictions for both residential and commercial tenants if they can’t pay their rent as a result of financial impacts from COVID-19. However, the legally binding rental agreement between a landlord and tenant is still in place. It could be worthwhile talking to your landlord to find out if any rental relief could be possible.
Although not a Government initiative, many utility companies (such as electricity and gas) and other businesses such as insurance providers have also launched support measures for customers who have been financially impacted due to COVID-19. If you’re struggling to pay for essential services, it’s worthwhile getting in touch with your service provider directly. They will likely also have details of temporary relief packages on their website.