Support for individuals

July 2020 Economic and Fiscal Outlook

On 21 July 2020, the Government announced important changes to the Coronavirus Supplement, reflecting the gradually improving economic conditions.

The key announcements were as follows:

  • The current arrangements for the Coronavirus Supplement of $550 per fortnight will continue until 24 September 2020
  • For the period 25 September 2020 to 31 December 2020, the Coronavirus Supplement will continue at a lower rate of $250 per fortnight. 
  • The rate of payment of the Coronavirus Supplement and JobSeeker more generally in 2021, will be decided either in the 2020-21 Federal Budget in October or later in the year
  • From 4 August 2020, a number of mutual obligations for JobSeeker will be reintroduced and these obligations will increase from the end of September.

Coronavirus Supplement

The temporary Coronavirus Supplement payment period has been extended further from 25 September 2020 to 31 December 2020. There has been no commitment at this time to make any temporary or permanent changes to the rate of payment past 31 December 2020. However, the Prime Minister has indicated that further decisions will be made later in the year, when more information about the economy is available.

Entitlement to the supplement will be available to both existing and new recipients of the following support payments:

  • JobSeeker Payment
  • Youth Allowance 
  • Parenting Payment 
  • Austudy 
  • ABSTUDY Living Allowance 
  • Farm Household Allowance 
  • Special Benefit 
  • Eligible New Enterprise Incentive Scheme participants 
  • Department of Veterans’ Affairs Education Schemes.

Adjusted income taper test

To partly compensate for the decrease in the rate of payment, from 25 September 2020 until 31 December 2020, the amount of income that recipients of the JobSeeker Payment or Youth Allowance (other) can earn, without affecting their maximum entitlement will increase from $106 per fortnight for JobSeeker Payment and $143 per fortnight for Youth Allowance (other) to $300 per fortnight for both. The current income free amount for principal carer parents continues to apply.

Mutual obligations and access to payments

Jobseekers’ mutual obligation requirements which were suspended from 24 March 2020 until 8 June 2020 are being gradually re-introduced from 9 June 2020. These commmitments will increase on 4th August and will be further increased at the end of September.

From 25 September 2020, means testing in the form of the Asset Test and Liquid Assets Waiting Period (LAWP) will be reinstated. There will also be changes to Partner Income Testing from 25 September 2020. For more details please see Treasury’s fact sheet here.

Economic Support payment

The Government has not announced any further Economic Support Payments.
Two separate $750 payments were provided to certain social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders during, broadly, April and July 2020.

JobTrainer skills package

On 16 July 2020, the Government announced an investment of $1 billion to provide up to an additional 340,700 training places in short and long courses to provide skills in growth sectors. The courses will be free or low cost in areas of identified need, with the Federal Government providing $500 million with matched contributions from state and territory governments. Further details can be found here (including a wage assistance scheme for employers of apprentices).

Access to superannuation extended

The Government has announced an extension of the application period to access early release of superannuation from 24 September 2020 to 31 December 2020 for individuals who may still be financially impacted by COVID-19.

July 2020 Economic & Fiscal Outlook

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