JobKeeper & Job Seeker - What You Need To Know

The Government has announced a number of changes to income support - predominantly JobSeeker arrangements and the Coronavirus supplement. 

The changes announced include:

• increasing the income free area for the income test and adjusting the income test taper rate

• amending the partner income test

• reintroducing mutual job obligations

• reintroducing the assets test and liquid assets waiting period

• extending payment of the Coronavirus supplement to 31 December 2020, and

• reducing the amount of Coronavirus supplement payable.

• Relaxed eligibility criteria will continue to apply to sole traders, individuals who have been stood down or have lost their job, and casual workers, subject to meeting the income and assets test. Each of the changes is summarised in more detail below.

JobSeeker income test changes: Income free area and taper rate

From 25 September 2020 until 31 December 2020, the income free area will increase from $106 per fortnight to $300 per fortnight. This means that a person is able to receive $300 per fortnight in income before their entitlement to JobSeeker is reduced under the income test.

Entitlement to JobSeeker will reduce by 60c for each dollar of income received per fortnight in excess of this threshold. JobSeeker recipients who are principal carer parents will continue to have a taper rate of 40c for each dollar of income that exceeds the threshold.

Partner income test

Additional changes will be made to the Partner income test. From 25 September 2020, a JobSeeker recipient’s partner will be able to earn up to $3,086.11 per fortnight (or $80,238.89 pa) before entitlement to JobSeeker reduces to nil. The taper rate increases to 27 cents (from 25 cents) for each dollar of partner income that exceeds $300 per fortnight. Although partner income will reduce entitlement at a slightly increased rate, this is offset by the increase in the income test threshold to $300 per fortnight. The effect is that no JobSeeker recipient will have a reduced entitlement as a result of this change.

Waiting periods and the assets test

From 25 September 2020, the assets test will be reinstated. This will apply to both new and existing recipients of JobSeeker.

The Liquid Assets Waiting Period will also be reinstated from this date, however, other waiting periods will continue to be waived until 31 December 2020 including the:

• Ordinary Waiting Period

• Newly Arrived Residents Waiting Period, and

• Seasonal Work Preclusion Period.

The Income maintenance period and compensation preclusion period were not waived in response to COVID-19 and continue to apply. For many receiving redundancies or lump sum payments upon termination of employment, this may mean that they may not be immediately eligible for JobSeeker payment.

Coronavirus supplement

Payment of the Coronavirus supplement has been extended to 31 December 2020, however, the amount of supplement payable will reduce.

The supplement will be paid to both new and existing recipients of eligible payments. Provided a person has at least some entitlement to an eligible payment, the full amount of the supplement will be received.

SOURCE: MLC Technical

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