How JobSeeker Payment is different to JobKeeper Payment

14 August 2020

We explain the difference between JobSeeker Payment and JobKeeper Payment.

From 28 September 2020, you must start meeting mutual obligation requirements. This may apply to you if you get JobKeeper Payment and an income support payment, like JobSeeker Payment.

JobSeeker Payment

JobSeeker Payment is one of our income support payments. It can help if you’re between 22 and Age Pension age and looking for work. You may also be able to get it when:

  • you’re sick or injured
  • you can’t do your usual work or study for a short time.

If you get this payment, you’ll have mutual obligation requirements. These are tasks and activities you need to do including searching for jobs or other approved activities such as training.

You’ll report your mutual obligation requirements to us or your provider each fortnight. You also report your income each fortnight to us.

JobKeeper Payment

JobKeeper Payment supports eligible businesses significantly affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19). It’s a wage subsidy that helps employers with the cost of employees’ wages.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) pays your employer JobKeeper Payment if they’re eligible. Your employer then pays you this income as part of your usual wages.

Talk to your employer to find out if they’re eligible for JobKeeper Payment. You don’t need to call or visit us.

Payment amounts

If you’re getting JobSeeker Payment, the amount you’ll get depends on your circumstances.

The current payment rate for JobKeeper Payment is $1500 before tax for each fortnight. From 28 September 2020, the JobKeeper Payment rate changes to either:

  • $1200 per fortnight
  • $750 per fortnight if you’ve worked less than 20 hours a week on average during February or June 2020.

These amounts will change again on 4 January 2021.

These changes mean you may be eligible to get both:

If you know your income is going to reduce, you can start a claim for JobSeeker Payment. You can do this up to 2 weeks before the date your circumstances will change.

You should check if you can get JobSeeker Payment before starting your claim.

Reporting income if you get both payments

Currently, most people can’t get both:

This is because JobKeeper Payment income is above the income cut off points for JobSeeker Payment.

These cut off points vary depending on your personal circumstances. Read more about the income test for JobSeeker Payment and what the cut off points are.

If you get an income support payment like JobSeeker Payment you must report income you and your partner earn. This includes income from JobKeeper Payment. This helps reduce your risk of an overpayment or debt you have to pay back.

If your employer back pays JobKeeper Payment to you, you still need to report it to us as income. You may need to call us on your regular payment line if any of these apply:

  • your back pay is more than 12 weeks
  • you can’t update your employment income online
  • you’re not sure how to report your back pay.

Keep in mind, you’re exempt from meeting mutual obligation requirements if you’re getting JobKeeper Payment. If you’re referred to an employment services provider, please call us on your regular payment line. We’ll tell you if you’re exempt or not.

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Page last updated: 18 September 2020