By Mark Teale on Apr 22, 2020
(Realise Your Dream)
I read with a great deal of concern that, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on our economy, between 1.9 and 3.4 million Australians could lose their jobs or have their hours drastically reduced over the next couple of months.
I feel blessed that I still have a job and I am still being paid.
The thought of losing a job close to retirement, or at any time, is stressful; however, the situation is even more traumatic now when finding another position is extremely difficult.
The queues outside Centrelink, which have become part the normal vision on the news, are both overwhelming and frightening
Losing your income or having your income reduced does not mean that your expenses are reduced; bills such as electricity, water, rates, and the food you need to put onto your table, do not becomes cheaper. And, if you have a mortgage, this also still needs to be paid. So, what are your options?
You may be fortunate and your employer has applied to the Australian Taxation Office for the JobKeeper Payment. In simple terms, if the business is eligible, the ATO will pay the business a wage subsidy of $1500 per fortnight for each employee registered for the scheme.
The process is, of course, far more complicated that this one small paragraph; but what I would like to concentrate on is the other alternative which is your responsibility and is not reliant on your employer – JobSeeker Payment.
The JobSeeker Payment, formerly Newstart Allowance (unemployment benefits), is administered by Centrelink – which could explain the queues outside Centrelink
If you have never dealt with Centrelink, you do not need to queue and visit the office – especially during these times of Social Distancing. You can apply for JobSeeker payment online.
The first step – set up your Centrelink account via your MyGov account.
When you log on to your MyGov account you will notice a large button asking you if your circumstances have been affected by Coronavirus, click on this button and then follow the prompts.
You will need a Customer Reference Number (CRN) which, if you follow the prompts, can also be obtained online with a phone call from Centrelink. The process will require a degree of patience and perseverance
Once you have set up your Centrelink account you can then apply for JobSeeker.
You will make an initial declaration about your identity, residency status, income and that you have been made redundant, lost your job, or had your hours reduced (including to zero) as a result of the Coronavirus.
If you are a sole trader or self-employed, you will make a declaration that your business has been suspended or turnover has reduced significantly.
The good news is that the Government has also relaxed a JobSeeker’s mutual obligations (searching for work, volunteer work and retraining etc.) at the present time and for sole traders and the self-employed continuing to work in your business automatically meets your mutual obligations.
The question you may be asking is it worth the trouble? As a single person you could be entitled to $565.70 per fortnight and as a couple $510.80 per fortnight each.
Not a lot I agree, but at the present moment, in addition to these amounts, you would also be entitled to the Coronavirus Supplement of $550 each bringing a single persons entitlement to $1,115.70 per fortnight and a couples entitlement to $1,060.80 per fortnight each.
I should point out that the JobSeeker payment is subject to an income test and can be reduced by any wages you may still be receiving, or any income generated by your business.
I have not covered off all the information that is available in relation to a person applying and their eligibility for JobSeeker as it would take a lot more words and lot more of your time.
If after reading this article you do feel that you may be entitled to the JobSeeker payment, please do talk to someone or apply for the benefit online and do remember to be patient.
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PK believes people have the right to accurate, affordable and unbiased information that addresses all aspects of their preferred retirement lifestyle, thereby giving them the opportunity to make informed decisions that will empower them to live out their lives with dignity, certainty and security.
Tealey’s ambition is to change how people think about their retirement, he wants people to dream, plan and realise retirement is not defined by a magical age prescribed by the legislation.