Expert Opinion Panel
Jason Bryce – Business & Finance
Coronavirus and your CASH – Update
Every parent has a million concerns right now but the main one is getting through the 2020 Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic with the family healthy and yes, financial.
And we haven’t even mentioned the apparent complete breakdown of the economy with thousands being laid off and made redundant every day.
So first, let us start with some good news for single mums:
There is a Centrelink pay rise today!
From 20 March 2020, the single parent pension, and other Centrelink payments like Family Tax Benefit and Newstart will be indexed UP to take account of inflation over the last six months. Inflation over the last six months has been very low – 1.8% according to the ABS, so this is a very modest pay rise.
Single mums on the pension will get an extra $9.40 per fortnight for a total base payment with energy supplement of $802.10.
Parenting Payment Single payrise 20 March 2020, source: DHS.
Single Parent <65y
BUT the PPS ‘income free area’ has not been raised. That is the limit on the amount single parents can earn before their pension begins to be reduced. This threshold remains at the pitifully low level of $188.60 per fortnight. If you make more than that amount from work, your pension will begin to be tapered.
For people NOT on Centrelink
People who do NOT receive income support from Centrelink can still get support from Centrelink if they have been affected by coronavirus. Centrelink has changed its rules to make getting a payment a lot easier, without waiting periods.
So if you lose your job or suffer a reduction in hours or become sick you can get a payment from Centrelink quickly and more easily.
You now will probably be exempted from ‘mutual obligation’ like work for the dole.
You don’t a medical certificate to claim sickness benefit.
And you won’t need to wait one week before claiming Parenting Payment, Jobseeker or Youth Allowance.
$750 for everyone
You need to be receiving a Centrelink payment on the 17 March 2020 to get the $750 in early April.
Labor and the Greens will support the passage of Scott Morrison’s coronavirus economic stimulus package and everyone on Family Tax Benefit, Pension, Newstart (now called Jobseeker), DSP and carers will get $750 before 17 April 2020.
You can read more about Scott Morrison’s coronavirus economic stimulus package at Singlemum.com.au.
When will the $750 Centrelink Stimulus payment be paid?
The $750 payment to all Centrelink beneficiaries and concession card holders will be made between the 31 March and the 17 April 2020.
Centrelink advises that everyone make sure their details are correct (by using the mygov app or website).
Will the $750 be used to pay my debt?
NO. Centrelink say no, the $750 special payment will not be taken by Centrelink or the Australian Tax Office to pay Child Support or Centrelink or tax debts.
Coronavirus: Useful helplines
Australian government Coronavirus Health Information Line: 1800 020 080, 24 hours, 7 days.
If you are having trouble paying your bills and debts, you may be entitled to financial hardship assistance from your bank or credit card issuer or loan provider. This includes financial hardship caused by coronavirus.
Commonwealth Bank Financial Hardship: 133 095
Westpac Financial Hardship helpline: 1800 067 497
NAB Financial Hardship helpline is 1800 701 599
ANZ Bank Financial Hardship helpline is 1800 149 549
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