The Federal Government is extending the JobSeeker supplement payment for unemployed Australians until the end of March, 2021, but it’s cutting payments at the same time.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the move is designed to see people “graduate” from economic supports that have been “essential” during the coronavirus pandemic.
What’s the current situation?
JobSeeker, formerly known as Newstart, is a fortnightly payment of at least $565.70 (for singles with no children), and up to $793.10 for principal carers although there are some exemptions.
On top of this, the Government adds in the coronavirus supplement, which is currently $250. The supplement used to be $550 a fortnight, but was reduced back in September.
The income-free threshold remains at $300 per fortnight, and you’ll lose 60 cents in JobSeeker payments for each dollar you earn above that threshold.
The supplement is also paid to people on parenting payments and eight other income support payments, including Youth Allowance and Farm Household Allowance.
So what’s changing?
While the JobSeeker payment remains unchanged, the coronavirus supplement has reduced by $100.(ABC News: Chris Taylor)
The supplement was due to end on January 1, 2021, but has been extended by three months to the end of March.
But, from December, the supplement will be reduced by $100.
Catch up on the main COVID-19 news from November 10 in our coronavirus blog.
How much will I get?
It depends on your personal circumstances. Everyone on JobSeeker will still get the reduced supplement on top of their payment rate.
Your payment rate is determined by marital status, age and other circumstances.
|Your situation||Fortnightly payment|
|Single, no children||$715.70, which includes:
|Single, with dependent children||$762.00, which includes:
|Single, 60 or older, after 9 continuous months on payment||$762.00, which includes:
|Partnered||$660.80, which includes:
|Single principal carer exempt from mutual obligation requirements||$943.10, which includes:
To be clear, the JobSeeker payment amount hasn’t changed, but the changes to the supplement mean $100 less in your pocket.
Will it be enough?
The Federal Government will consider a new JobSeeker rate “at a later time”.(AAP: Dan Peled)
Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston says the Government is looking to “encourage people to re-engage with the workforce”, but stakeholders have warned cutting the supplement could “compound” the economic damage wrought by the pandemic.
Read more on JobSeeker and job hunting:
The chief executive of the Australian Council of Social Service, Dr Cassandra Goldie, has warned that cutting the supplement entirely (today’s announcement marks a 40 per cent reduction) would condemn hundreds of thousands of people to poverty.
“There are a lot of things that are not in our control in this pandemic but one thing that the Government does have control over is ensuring that everyone has enough to cover the basics of life, including a safe place to live,” Dr Goldie said.
The Federal Opposition says the extension is not enough, and Labor leader Anthony Albanese has said the payment shouldn’t be cut to a lower rate.
The Government has faced years of criticism for the pre-pandemic rate, which was about $40 a day.
But it is yet to announce a new permanent rate for JobSeeker.
What you need to know about coronavirus: