How Coronavirus Supplement and eligibility for some income support payments are changing

21 July 2020

The Australian Government is extending the Coronavirus Supplement until 31 December 2020. There are also changes to our income support payments.

The Australian Government is extending the Coronavirus supplement for those on an eligible income support payment to 31 December 2020.

From late September, there’ll be changes to the amount of supplement we pay you as well as to the eligibility of some income support payments.

Changes to the Coronavirus Supplement amount

The Coronavirus Supplement of $550 per fortnight is available until 24 September 2020.

Beyond this date, the Coronavirus Supplement will be available at $250 per fortnight until 31 December 2020.

Changes to eligibility for some income support payments after 25 September 2020

Income test changes

The income free area for JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance for job seekers will increase. This means you can earn more but still get the maximum payment rates.

The income free area for these payments will increase to $300 per fortnight. The income free area is currently $106 for JobSeeker Payment and $143 for Youth Allowance.

If you earn above $300 per fortnight, your payment reduces by 60 cents for each dollar over this amount.

The Coronavirus Supplement isn’t counted as income.

There are no changes to the income free area and income test if you get Jobseeker Payment as a principal carer.

Means tests

From 25 September 2020, means testing will be reintroduced. This includes asset testing for all payments.

We’ll also reintroduce the Liquid Assets Waiting Period for new claims.

Partner income testing

There are changes to the JobSeeker Payment partner income test. Your payment will reduce by 27 cents, instead of 25 cents, for every dollar your partner earns over $1165 per fortnight. If your income is less than $300 per fortnight, your partner can earn up to $3086.11 before your payment reduces to zero.

Expanded eligibility criteria continues for income support payments

You may continue to be eligible for JobSeeker Payment or Youth Allowance for job seekers if your income has been affected. You need to meet any of the following criteria:

  • permanent employees who are stood down or lose their employment
  • sole traders, the self-employed, casual workers and contract workers who meet the income tests
  • eligible individuals caring for someone affected by Coronavirus.

Gradual return of mutual obligation requirements

Mutual obligation requirements will return for job seekers from 4 August. Read more about the gradual return of mutual obligation requirements on the Department of Education, Skills and Employment website.

Waiting periods continue to be waived

We’ll continue to waive some waiting periods for new claims until 31 December 2020. This includes the:

  • Ordinary Waiting Period
  • Newly Arrived Resident’s Waiting Period
  • Seasonal Work Preclusion Period.

Page last updated: 8 September 2020