The new JobSeeker rate is coming — here’s what’s changing at the end of the week
21st September 2020
Other government payments, including Youth Allowance, Austudy, the Farm Household Allowance, will also fall as the coronavirus supplement drops.(ABC News: Chris Taylor)
On Friday, the Government will cut back the coronavirus supplement for JobSeeker recipients and others on some government payments.
The $550 coronavirus supplement, which effectively doubles JobSeeker to $1,100 a fortnight, will be slashed and other changes are on the way too.
Here’s what you need to know.
The JobSeeker payment is changing
Currently, if you’re single with no dependents, you’re receiving about $1,115 each fortnight on JobSeeker.
That’s made up of the $565-a-fortnight base rate — formerly known as Newstart — and the $550 top-up payment called the coronavirus supplement.
That’s the bit that’s changing.
From Friday, the fortnightly coronavirus supplement is being cut from $550 to $250.
That’ll take fortnightly payments for singles to $815 each fortnight, or about $58 a day.
JobSeeker will continue at that rate until the end of the year, but the Government is yet to say what will happen after that.
The change to the coronavirus supplement doesn’t just affect people on JobSeeker either.
Other government payments, including Youth Allowance, Austudy, the Farm Household Allowance, will also fall as the coronavirus supplement drops.
What about means testing and income thresholds?
While your payments are decreasing, the Government is loosening the eligibility for both JobSeeker and Youth Allowance to allow you to earn a little more money without affecting your payments.
The income-free threshold for both payments will increase to $300 per fortnight from September 25, and you’ll lose 60 cents in JobSeeker payments for each dollar you earn above that threshold.
Also changing are asset tests that determine when — and if — you can access JobSeeker.
Asset limits will be reinstated, meaning you won’t be able to access JobSeeker if you have assets worth more than $482,000. If you own a home, that limit drops to $268,000, and the rates are different for couples.
The liquid-assets test will also be reinstated for new claims, which will require people with savings greater than $5,499 to wait a set period before receiving payments.
Will my partner’s income affect JobSeeker?
Tweaks will also be made to how much money your partner can earn before you’re disqualified from receiving JobSeeker.
Under the changes, you’ll face a reduction of 27 cents to your payments for every dollar your partner earns above $1,165 a fortnight.
The change will mean your payments will reduce to zero if your partner earns more than $3,086.11 per fortnight.
Are JobSeeker mutual obligations coming back?
The Government is also toughening mutual obligation requirements for people on JobSeeker, meaning from Monday, September 28, you’ll have to search for up to eight jobs each month.
“In economies and marketplaces where there’s good employment, we’ll be seeking people to undertake the search for eight jobs,” Social Services Minister Anne Ruston said.
“We understand there are other parts of our economy that don’t have high levels of employment available.”
Mutual obligations were entirely suspended at the start of the pandemic, but the Government has been gradually requiring people on JobSeeker to search for work.
Jobseekers have been required to search for up to four jobs each month since early August.
The changes to mutual obligations will not apply in Victoria, where they remain suspended.
What about JobKeeper?
The JobKeeper rate is also set to drop from Monday, September 28.
The payment will be split into part-time and full-time rates, with the full-time rate falling from $1,500 per fortnight to $1,200.
The part-time rate will be $750 per fortnight for workers on less than 20 hours a week before the pandemic began.
Further cuts to the payment will come into effect from the beginning of next year before it is set to end in March.