Other Forms of Government Assistance

Superannuation

The Australian Government is allowing individuals affected by the coronavirus to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21. Individuals will not need to pay tax on amounts released and the money they withdraw will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.

The Government is temporarily reducing superannuation minimum drawdown requirements for account-based pensions and similar products by 50 per cent for 2019-20 and 2020-21. This measure will benefit retirees holding these products by reducing the need to sell investment assets to fund minimum drawdown requirements.

Carers Australia recommends that you speak to your Superannuation Fund or a financial advisor if you need further information regarding the impact of these drawdowns on your superannuation.

For more information on the Stimulus Package click here.

Mother with daughter

Jobkeeper Payment for those also in receipt of DSP and the Carer Payment

On 30 March the Government announced a six-month job subsidy scheme. It is available to businesses with less than a billion dollars turnover whose turnover will be reduced by more than 30 per cent relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month), and to businesses with more than a billion dollars turnover whose turnover has reduced by 50 per cent or more over the same period. 

It is intended to reduce job shedding by businesses now under threat by ensuring that each eligible employee receives at least $1,500 per fortnight (before tax).  Eligible employees include full-time, part time and casual workers who were in employment at 1 March 2020.

Employers receiving the Jobkeeper Payment must notify all eligible employees.

For carers on the Carer Payment who are in employment and whose employer is eligible for Jobkeeper, when the JobKeeper payment stops in at the end of September and your income goes back to what it was before receiving the payment, and assuming there are no other changes in your caring circumstances, then the amount you receive on Carer Payment will also go back to what it was before.

However, the rules which generally apply to the Carer Payment in terms of eligible income limits will remain.  For a single person on Carer Payment the income limit is $2,062.60 per fortnight and for a couple combined it is $3,155.20 per fortnight. If a person exceeds the income limit, their payment can be cancelled after 12 weeks.

Payment recipients who are concerned about the impact Jobkeeper will have on them should contact Services Australia to discuss their individual circumstances.  The number of carers on the Carer Payment and Carer Allowance is 132717.

For official information on COVID-19 impact on DSP, CP and Jobkeeper Recipients – Fact Sheet can be found here

The Australian Energy Regular has instructed that all energy companies and networks must:

  • offer all households who indicate they may be in financial stress a payment plan or hardship arrangement;
  • not disconnect customers who may be in financial stress, without their agreement before 31 July 2020; and
  • Defer referral of any customer to a debt collection agency for recovery actions, or credit default listing until at least 31 July 2020.