Expert Opinion Panel
Jason Bryce – Business & Finance
There are two major new payments for single mums and other people that have been announced in the last week.
Firstly, two $750 Economic Stimulus Payments are being paid to Aussies on Centrelink.
Secondly, a $550 per fortnight Coronavirus Supplement will be paid to some people on Centrelink for 6 months.
Some single mums, like those on Family Tax Benefit, will get 2 x $750.
Plenty of single mums will get the first $750 then start to collect the $550 per fortnight on top of a new payment and miss out on the second $750. Because, like many people, they find themselves out of income suddenly and have recently applied for Jobseeker or Parenting. They will not get the second $750, they have become eligible for the $550 per fortnight.
Sound confusing? Read on …
Coronavirus Economic Stimulus payments information for single mums
The latest economic stimulus package from the government was announced on Sunday night.
The Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said everyone currently receiving Parenting Payment, Jobseeker, Farm Household, Special Benefit, and now also Youth Allowance, Austudy and ABSTUDY will get a coronavirus supplement of $550 per fortnight, on top of their regular payment.
They also made the $750 Economic Support Payment easier to get and available for people who haven’t signed up to any Centrelink benefit yet. You have until the 13 April to get your application in to be eligible for this payment.
A second $750 payment will be made to Centrelink beneficiaries from the 13 July 2020. This payment will not go to people who collect the $550 per fortnight.
How to get the $550 per fortnight Coronavirus Supplement from Centrelink
If you are already receiving Parenting Payment, Jobseeker, Youth Allowance, Farm Household, Austudy, ABSTUDY or Special Benefit, Centrelink says you don’t have to do anything. You will automatically be paid the coronavirus supplement of $550 per fortnight on top of your regular payment from 27 April 2020 for at least 6 months as long as you remain eligible.
“The $550 Coronavirus Supplement is paid to Parenting Payment, Jobseeker, Youth Allowance, Austudy, ABSTUDY, Farm Household or Special Benefit … “
If you are not already on a payment, apply now, online , in person at a branch or over the phone. If your application is successful, you will automatically get the coronavirus supplement.
Who gets the first and second $750 Economic Support Payments?
If you are NOT on Centrelink at the moment, you can sign up for a Jobseeker, Parenting or other payment by 13 April and be eligible to receive the $750 Economic Support Payment.
The second $750 payment is for people who do NOT get the $550 Coronavirus Supplement.
Centrelink say: “If you are not eligible for the Coronavirus Supplement ($550 per fortnight) you may get a second $750”
“We will pay this from the 13th of July 2020.”
You will get the second $750 payment if you are eligible on the 10 July 2020 “for any payments or concession cards that were eligible for the first Economic Support Payment,” advises Centrelink.
Those eligible payments include almost all Centrelink & Dept of Veterans Affairs payments:
- Parenting Payment
- Jobseeker (Newstart) Allowance
- Family Tax Benefit A
- Family Tax Benefit B
- Widow Allowance
- Youth Allowance
- ABSTUDY (Living Allowance)
- Disability Support Pension
- Carer Payment
- Carer Allowance
- Wife Pension
- Widow B Pension
- Bereavement Allowance
- Partner Allowance
- Veteran Service Pension
- Veteran Income Support Supplement
- Veteran Compensation payments, including lump sum payments
- War Widow(er) Pension.
- Age Pension
- Sickness Allowance
- Special Benefit
- Farm Household Allowance
- Double Orphan Pension.
Also, many people who may not get a payment might still hold one of these cards and will also get the payments 1 and 2:
- Pensioner Concession Card
- Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
- Veteran Gold Card.
You’ll only get one $750 payment at a time even if you get two payments – for example Parenting Payment and Family Tax Benefit.
Can I get the $550 Coronavirus Supplement and second $750 Economic Support Payment?
No, although things seem to be changing every week, the latest advice from Centrelink is that no, you are eligible for one or the other of these payments but not both.
Why haven’t I got the $750 coronavirus Economic Support Payment from Centrelink?
The first $750 Economic Stimulus Payment from Centrelink will be paid in the fortnight starting 31 March.
Centrelink now say almost everyone receiving any payment will get this, including mums on FTB, Parenting Payment, Jobseeker, Austudy, Abstudy and Youth Allowance.
Parents on Family Tax Benefit will get both $750 payments, unless they are also on parenting, Jobseeker or Youth Allowance by July, then.
The second $750 payment will only be made to people not already getting the $550 Coronavirus Supplement.
“You won’t get this (the second $750) payment if you’re getting the Coronavirus Supplement,” says Centrelink.
Crisis payments if you are ordered to self-isolate
If you are ordered by a doctor or you have crossed a state border, or have recently arrived in Australia you may have to self-isolate at home for 14 days. There is now a crisis payment available for people ordered to self-isolate.
The best way to find out more is obviously online or through the call-centre. 5,000 new staff are being recruited to upgrade the Centrelink call centre, shop fronts and online services.
Scott Morrison is making Centrelink easier to claim.
Scott Morrison, when minister for Centrelink under the prime minister Tony Abbott in 2015 was the minister who first began placing single mothers on the Basics Card, later the Indue “white” card.
Scott Morrison wanted all parents, the disabled, their carers and young people off Centrelink completely. Scott Morrison talked about abolishing the single parent pension, the disability pension and the dole.
Faced with an unprecedented depression in a closed down economy, Scott Morrison and his Minister for Social Services, Stuart Robert, have announced they are making Centrelink easier to apply for.
Assets test may no longer apply to you for Jobseeker and other payments. Income tests will still apply.
Now Jobseeker and Youth Allowance has been made available for:
- Permanent employees who have been stood down or sacked.
- Sole traders, self-employed, casual, contract workers whose income has been reduced
- People caring for someone with coronavirus.
- The Assets Tests have been waived from 27 April for 6 months for Jobseeker and other payments except for Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit.
- Income testing will still apply.
- Waiting periods (normally three weeks on most payments) were waived for three months on the 12 March 2020.
- The liquid asset test has also been waived, meaning you may be able to get a payment before your bank account runs out.
- You are NOT eligible for Jobseeker or Youth Allowance if you are getting employer entitlements like annual leave or sick leave, or you are getting income protection insurance payments.
Why is the government increasing the coronavirus economic payments package? How did we get to this point?
On Friday 13 March, Australia had just 122 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus COVID-19. The NRL, the AFL, the A League, the WAFL and many other sports were all starting their seasons almost as normal, just without fans.
Today, Tuesday the 24 March there are 1709 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in Australia, an increase of 1400% in 11 days. Eight Aussies are dead. The curve is not flattening, it is steepening.
Last Thursday. 4,000 Australian doctors issued an urgent letter to all Australian governments to immediately change course and take the COVID-19 threat a lot more seriously. They warned of an Italy style pandemic death toll.
Led by Dr Hemant Garg, the letter said doctors were “dismayed” that their medical recommendations were being ignored by the politicians. They said their colleagues in Europe were “begging us to learn from their mistakes.”
“Australia had 122 confirmed cases of coronavirus on 13 March 2020, now 1,709 Aussies have it, up 1400% in 11 days ….”
The doctors wanted an immediate “three to four-week closure of schools, cultural and religious places including places of worship, gyms and leisure centres, pubs, bars, theatres, cinemas and concert halls.”
What are your chances of death from novel coronavirus COVID-19?
If you are infected with coronavirus, early access to medical advice, probably over the phone, is critical to your chances of survival. Then complete isolation is mandatory so you don’t unwittingly pass on the virus.
Children and young people seem to be less likely to succumb to the virus but can probably pass it on, said Australia’s chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy on Sunday.
Older people are far more susceptible to coronavirus and the coronavirus death rate increases with age.
The death rate from coronavirus is much higher (in the order of 10X) than the flu. Today the eighth Australian died from coronavirus.
“With access to intensive care the death rate from COVID-19 is likely less than 1%,” said Dr Hemant Garg, “but in an overwhelmed system without access to intensive care the death rate approaches 4%.”
One per cent of 1,709 Australians is 17 people. That’s why this is so serious.
It still took Scott Morrison and the premiers until Sunday night to act on this most serious and unprecedented letter from Australia’s most senior medical brains.
And Minister for Social Services (Centrelink) Stuart Robert was notoriously unprepared for the rush on Monday morning.
Jason is an expert business, finance and consumer issues journalist specialising in personal finance, debt, consumer issues and banking, Jason is now based in Melbourne and p worked for ABC TV, News Ltd and plenty of magazines and online publishers. You can keep up to date with the latest Centrelink news and information at Jason’s Facebook page, Centrelink News.
Jason is a proud single dad of three children who are all growing up fast. Follow Jason on Twitter @JasonBryce. Jason’s personal website is www.jasonbryce.com