JobSeeker Supplement extended to March 2021 at reduced rate

The Prime Minister has announced that the temporary Coronavirus Supplement will be extended until 31 March 2021, but the payment rate will be reduced from $250 to $150 per fortnight from 1 January 2021.

The Coronavirus Supplement was originally set at $550 per fortnight but was reduced to $250 per fortnight from 25 September until 31 December 2020.

Mr Morrison said both existing and new JobSeekers will be paid the Coronavirus Supplement at a rate of $150 per fortnight from 1 January 2021 through to 31 March 2021 on top of their base rate of payment and other supplements. Mr Morrison said JobSeekers would continue to be able to earn up to $300 per fortnight without their social security payments being reduced.

The Minister for Families and Social Services, Anne Ruston, said expanded criteria will continue to provide payment access for permanent employees who are stood down, sole traders and the self-employed until 31 March 2021.

The relaxed partner income test will also continue meaning that a JobSeeker can still access payments where their partner earns about $80,000 annually. The Ordinary Waiting Period, Newly Arrived Resident’s Waiting Period and the Seasonal Work Preclusion Period will continue to be waived until 31 March 2021.

The Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Extension of Coronavirus Support) Bill 2020 was introduced on 12 November 2020 to give effect to these changes.

In addition to JobSeeker recipients, Services Australia says the $150 per fortnight Coronavirus Supplement will be paid for all reporting dates on or after 14 January 2021 to people who are getting at least $1 per fortnight from any of the following payments:

  • Partner Allowance
  • Widow Allowance
  • Youth Allowance
  • Austudy
  • ABSTUDY Living Allowance
  • Parenting Payment
  • Farm Household Allowance
  • Special Benefit.

If a person is claiming one of these payments, they will be paid the Coronavirus Supplement automatically provided that they are eligible. From 1 April 2021, payments will revert to the normal payment rate for the person’s situation.

This article was first published in Thomson Reuters’ Weekly Tax Bulletin.

Stuart Jones is a Senior Tax Writer with Thomson Reuters and a respected commentator on all matters superannuation. Stuart is the author of the Australian Superannuation Handbook and contributes extensively to other Thomson Reuters’ services, including the Australian Tax Handbook.

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