Parents receiving Family Tax Benefit are among the winners in Budget 2020, if you can call anyone a winner in this year of crisis and disasters
By Jason Bryce
Single mum guide to Budget 2020
More cash for kids coming soon!
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s second budget has cash handouts, tax cuts, a new “JobMaker” wage subsidy and plenty of funding for crisis support.
“In 2020, Australians have been tested like never before,” said Mr Frydenberg
“Flood, drought, fires, and a global pandemic.”
No wonder so many mums and families need extra support in 2020.
More Centrelink cash for kids and carers
If you get Family Tax Benefit Part A or B you will get two bonus payments of $250 from Centrelink this financial year. The first will arrive before Christmas and the second in March 2021. This payment is $250 per FTB recipient, not $250 per child.
Carers will also get the two payments as will aged and disability support pensioners, veterans and pensioner concession/Seniors Card holders.
The NDIS will also get a funding boost “to ensure Australians eligible for the NDIS have access to the supports they need.”
Mums on JobSeeker have already had their COVID-19 boost wound back from $550 to $250 per fortnight.
The government did not commit to a permanent rise in the JobSeeker rate, as many had hoped
The Income Test and the Liquid Assets Test for JobSeeker has also been returned to pre-COVID-19 thresholds so many unemployed parents have lost Centrelink support in recent weeks.
JobKeeper will still end in March 2021.
Child-care subsidies that were increased in July to give many parents free care but have now been reduced even in Victoria. Subsidies for long day care and Out of School Hours care will continue to step down over the next six months so fees could rise.
“We can’t help reflect now on the challenges faced by single mothers who are in receipt of DSP or Carers,” said Terese Edwards, CEO of the National Council of Single Mothers and their Children.
“Women who have reduced or left the workforce to respond to health fears, compromised immune system or home-schooling are also doing it tough.
ParentsNext obligations are back
You may have received a break from your ParentsNext obligations but that has all finished on 27 September. Mutual obligation requirements for mums in the ParentsNext program have started again and will continue for everyone except those living in Victoria.
That doesn’t mean you have to attend face-to-face appointments, you can now opt for phone or online servicing.
ParentsNext must make a participation plan and complete it to avoid suspension of payments.
Victorian ParentsNext participants will get a monthly phone call from their provider.
Terese Edwards is disappointed ParentsNext is being resumed.
“ParentsNext is proving to be highly unpopular and produces more stress than value.
“The Australian Human Rights Commission have warned the government about this program.”
Big tax cuts plus another tax offset payment
Most who pay tax will get a repeat of last year’s $1,080 low and middle-income tax offset (LMITO) again in 2020.
And all taxpayers earning over $37,000 per year will now pay less, thanks to changes in tax thresholds said Josh Frydenberg. Single taxpayers will have up to $2,000 more in ther pocket. After tax.
Mums with taxable incomes between $37,000 to $45,000 stand to get the biggest cuts.
Jobs for young people
Finding a job for yourself or your teenager might get easier this year. Sixteen year-olds receiving Youth Allowance or JobSeeker will be eligible for the new JobMaker wage subsidy scheme. This scheme is for unemployed people up to the age of 35, so plenty of mums could benefit from this $200 per week subsidy to the employer as well.
JobMaker gives employers up to $200 per week to take on a new employee. The government says 500,000 people will get a job as a result of this measure.
More help for divorce and families in crisis
To meet increased demand as a result of COVID-19, the government has announced $220 million in additional support for relationship and critical front line services for families as well as the Family Court.
$133 million of that is for family and child support programs. Mental health, the pharmaceutical benefits scheme and suicide prevention services also get big funding boosts this year.
“Increased mental health funding will always be welcome however additional money in the pockets of Australians, who are a few short steps away from severe housing stress could really help,” said Terese Edwards.
Cash welcome but it’s not enough
Two $250 cash bonus payments are welcome according to welfare groups but hopes that Josh Frydenberg might raise JobSeeker, extend JobKeeper and keep additional Child Care subsidies have been dashed.
“The Government will need to do more to ensure that we are all in the recovery together,” said Dr Cassandra Goldie from the Australian Council of Social Services
“People without paid work will see no benefit from the income tax cuts.
“There is some extra funding for community services, including mental health services, but again, it is insufficient.”
Terese Edwards says the needs of single mothers during COVID-19 are not being recognised.
“I know these women have felt invisible and this budget won’t overcome the economic burden that they have shouldered through COVID 19.
“We hope the coronavirus supplement (on JobSeeker) which has already been cut from $550 to $250 will be continued and an announcement could be made on that within weeks.”
If you are feeling overwhelmed at the moment, you are not alone. 2020 is a year like no other. The government is providing additional assistance and banks are also being told to help people with debts. You can call a free government-funded financial counsellor whenever you need money advice on the National Debt Helpline 1800 007 007.