Expert Opinion Panel
Jason Bryce – Business & Finance
Coronavirus, EOFY and Centrelink for single mums
This is the most unusual end of financial year in living memory and we all have a million questions about our future.
Right now perhaps the best thing to do is spend five minutes to catch up on what we need to know about Centrelink and tax time. And this tax time is the first time we have had to talk about viruses.
by Jason Bryce
Here are some of the big questions mums are asking this tax time:
If my child isn’t going to school can I still get FTB?
Changes to Family Tax Benefit for Coronavirus mean children over 16 who are not studying are now still eligible for Family Tax Benefit. You can keep your child at home for their own safety, even if the school is still open and continue to get Family Tax Benefits.
Child Support and Coronavirus
If you receive or pay child support (or both) and your income has changed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, you need to tell CSA. You could be eligible for more FTB or other payments.
Can I get Parental Leave Pay and JobKeeper?
No you can’t get both of these payments. You can get Parental Leave Pay after JobKeeper ends if you are not ready to return to work at that time.
Some employers may not be able to pay Parental Leave Pay, because of the severe economic times we are in at the moment. In that case Centrelink says:
“If they can’t pay you because of COVID-19, we can pay you.”
If you return to work when JobKeeper ends, you can’t then get Parental Leave Pay. If you stopped working because you feared for the safety of your unborn baby (during the COVID-19 pandemic) you can still get PLP if you meet the work test under Centrelink’s Dangerous Job Provisions.
Which Centrelink payments are taxable and which payments are non-taxable income?
If you receive a Centrelink payment, Centrelink may already have sent a payment summary to the Australian Tax Office for the last financial year, ending 30 June 2020. You can access the Centrelink payment summary in ATO within MyGov.
The Centrelink payment summary will list your Centrelink payments, dates, the taxable and non-taxable amounts, tax withheld and remote area allowance if applicable.
These Centrelink payments are taxable income and have to be declared on your ATO tax return:
- JobSeeker, Youth, Special and Sickness Allowance
- Parenting Payment, Widow, Partner and Farm Household Allowance
- Austudy and ABSTUDY
You can still apply for bushfire assistance
If you and your family have been impacted by a bushfire, you still have time to apply for bushfire assistance from Centrelink but you need to be quick.
You could be eligible for:
- Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment
- Disaster Recovery Allowance.
The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment claims for bushfire assistance close 16 July for people living in South Australia, Queensland and Tasmania, on 4 August for people in NSW, Victoria and Eastern Queensland.
At this time of year, and particularly this year, getting on top of your finances and end-of-financial year business is critically important to ensure you receive all the income you are entitled to.
Are you entitled to a robo-debt refund?
This week, Centrelink is starting to repay almost 400,000 Australians who were wrongly forced to repay “robo-debts.” The average payment will be $1,900 and the first repayments will arrive in people’s accounts from Monday 13th July 2020.
Stuart Robert, the Minister responsible for Centrelink said 200,000 people who are eligible for a Robodebt refund need to update their bank account information in MyGov so the money can be paid. These are mostly people who may not be still receiving Centrelink income.
“Come into myGov, update your bank details, and as soon as they’re updated we’ll pay you,” said Mr Robert.
People who are owed more than $7,000 will be paid in instalments.
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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