Job seekers help centre

Answers to questions if you're a job seeker.

Can I do casual work if I get a job seeker payment?

Yes. However, depending on how much you earn, it may reduce your payment.

If you're working you need to tell us.

Read more about:

Can I get a job seeker payment when overseas?

Not usually. However, we may pay you JobSeeker Payment or Youth Allowance for job seekers while you're temporarily outside Australia under some circumstances.

You should tell us before you travel.

Read more about payments while outside Australia.

Can I get other benefits or supplements while I get a job seeker payment?

Maybe, depending on your circumstances. If you get JobSeeker Payment or Youth Allowance for job seekers there may be more help you can get, including supplements.

Extra payments you may get include:

Can my partner get a job seeker payment if I do?

Maybe, but you'll both need to meet the eligibility rules for the payment you claim.

Read more about payments for job seekers.

Do I need to look for work or do anything else to get my job seeker payment?

Yes.

If you get a job seeker payment, you generally have to take part in activities, which may include looking for work. We call these mutual obligation requirements.

Mutual obligation requirements were temporarily paused in March 2020 due to coronavirus (COVID-19). They’re now being reintroduced.

You can get a temporary exemption from your mutual obligation requirements in certain circumstances.

Do I need to report my income and assets if I get a job seeker payment?

Yes.

If you get an income support payment from us and get any other income, you need to tell us. This includes your partner’s income and income you get from overseas.

It’s easiest to report your income online.

You can use your myGov account linked to a Centrelink online account or use the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app. You need to tell us of changes to your income and assets within 14 days.

You can also call the Centrelink reporting line for phone self service. It’s easy to register for phone self service.

If you don't report your income we may pay you too much. You'll get a Centrelink debt and will have to pay it back.

We’ve temporarily removed the assets test job seekers from 23 March until 24 September 2020. This is due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

From 25 September 2020, your job seeker payment will cancel if your assets are more than the allowable limit. The limits are the same if you’re independent and get Youth Allowance. If you’re dependent, there’s a parental income test and no personal assets limit.

You usually need to tell us about your assets when you claim a payment. You also need to let us know within 14 days if you have changes to your assets.

You can tell us about a change to your circumstances, including updating assets, using one of these self service options:

How do I claim a job seeker payment?

The best way to claim JobSeeker Payment or Youth Allowance for job seekers is online.

You’ll need a Centrelink online account. If you don't have these, you'll need to set them up.

If you submit your claim online, you can track its progress through the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app.

If you can't claim online, you can either:

We may ask you for supporting documents to help us with your Youth Allowance for job seekers or JobSeeker Payment claim.

How do I get JobKeeper Payment?

If your employer is eligible, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will pay them JobKeeper Payment to help through the coronavirus (COVID-19) period. Your employer pays you directly.

Read more about JobKeeper Payment on the ATO website.

How do I request urgent processing of my claim if I’m in financial hardship?

You can call your relevant job seeker line if you’re in severe financial hardship and need to request urgent claim processing. We may be able to help if you meet our severe financial hardship rules.

How much are job seeker payments?

Our payment rates are updated regularly. Read how much you can get for:

Your payment amount will depend on your circumstances including:

  • your personal situation, such as if you have children or a partner
  • how much income you or your partner have earned in the past 14 days
  • whether we consider you dependent or independent if you get Youth Allowance
  • your parents’ annual income, if you’re dependent.

Once you’re getting a job seeker payment, you can check your Centrelink online account through myGov to see how much your next payment will be. It’ll only be accurate once you’ve reported your income for the fortnight.

What are the different payments for job seekers?

JobSeeker Payment is the main income support payment for people between 22 years and Age Pension age.

Youth Allowance for job seekers is a regular payment to help people under 22 while they look for work.

To get these you need to meet the following:

  • income test
  • assets test
  • residence rules.

Other payments may be more suitable for your circumstances. Use our Payment and Service Finder to check what you may be eligible for.

What are the income and asset limits for job seeker payments?

The limits differ depending on your family situation. Read what the income and asset limits are for JobSeeker Payment.

The limits for Youth Allowance for job seekers depend on whether you’re dependent or independent.

If you’re dependent, you won’t have an assets test. Your parents’ or guardians’ income may affect if you get a payment and how much you get.

If you’re independent, your asset limits are the same as those for JobSeeker Payment. However, they don’t currently apply, due to coronavirus (COVID-19). You’ll also need to meet the personal income test.

What changes are there for job seekers due to coronavirus (COVID-19)?

There are some changes to our services due to coronavirus (COVID-19), including for new claims and existing job seekers. Read about payments and services during COVID-19.

What changes in circumstance do I need to tell you about when I’m getting a job seeker payment?

You must tell us within 14 days if you have a change to any of the following:

  • contact details
  • relationship status
  • income or assets for you and your partner.

If you don't tell us about a change, we may pay you too much. If you get a Centrelink debt, you'll need to pay us back.

Read more about change of circumstances if you get a Centrelink payment.

What do I need to do when I start work or go back to work?

You’ll need to report your income when you start work if you’re getting an income support payment from us.

Report your earned income when your first report is due after you start work, even if you haven’t been paid yet. If you have Working Credit, you may still get some of your JobSeeker Payment.

You should also tell your employment services provider you’re starting work, if you have one. They may ask for evidence so your payment doesn’t stop for missing an appointment due to work.

What happens to my Centrelink payment if I get JobKeeper Payment?

If you get an income support payment like JobSeeker Payment, you need to report JobKeeper Payment like normal income.

When you report income, we may give you a lower rate of JobSeeker Payment or stop your payment if your income is too high.

Read more about getting JobKeeper payment.

What is a Job Plan and a Job Seeker Snapshot?

The Job Seeker Snapshot is a series of questions you’ll usually complete online in Online Employment Services. Your employment services provider or we may also go through this with you. Your answers help determine the level of support you need to find and keep a job.

A Job Plan outlines the tasks and activities you agree to do to keep getting your payment. These activities may include:

  • searching and applying for jobs
  • other approved activities such as training.

What is the phone number to call for job seekers?

The job seekers phone number is 132 850. If you’re a job seeker under 22, the best number to call is 132 490.

See more Centrelink phone numbers.

You can ask questions on our social media accounts. Follow Services Australia on Facebook and Twitter.

You can also ask a question to our digital assistant Sam. Click the Ask a question tab at the bottom of the JobSeeker Payment or Youth Allowance for job seekers pages.

Sam can answer general questions and help you find the information you need on our website.

When will I get my first job seeker payment?

You’ll usually get your first job seeker payment 2 weeks after the date we grant your claim.

However, you may have a waiting period. This depends on your circumstances. The time it takes us to assess your claim doesn’t affect your waiting period.

You’ll also need to submit your first income report before you get your first payment.

Read more about when you’ll get your first payment for either:

Page last updated: 26 June 2020