How the recent COVID-19 changes announcement may affect you

24 March 2021

Here’s what you need to know if you’re getting or claiming a payment from us.

Changes to your payment

The temporary Coronavirus Supplement ends 31 March 2021. You may still get it when your reporting day is before 14 April.

From 1 April 2021, the following payments will permanently increase by $50 per fortnight:

When you report on or after 14 April 2021, you’ll get the normal payment rate for your situation.

The income free area is changing to $150 for some payments from 1 April 2021. This means you can have income up to $150 per fortnight before it impacts your payment. It applies if you get one of the following:

  • JobSeeker Payment
  • Parenting Payment partnered
  • Youth Allowance for job seekers
  • Farm Household Allowance
  • Widow Allowance
  • Partner Allowance.

The partner income test taper rate will return to 60 cents for every dollar above the partner income free area.

These changes mean that your rate of payment may vary over the period that includes 1 April 2021.

JobKeeper payment ends on 28 March 2021. If you’re not already getting a payment from us, use our payment guide to see what payments you may be eligible for.

You can start your claim for JobSeeker Payment early before your circumstances change. You don’t need to go to a service centre or call us. It’s easier to claim online using your Centrelink online account through myGov.

Changes to your mutual obligation requirements

Changes starting from March 2021

If you’re connected with a provider, face-to-face appointments will restart. This depends on your state or territory health advice. This applies if you’re in one of the following:

Changes starting from April 2021

The minimum number of monthly job searches increases from 8 to 15. This applies if you’re in jobactive or Disability Employment Services. Talk to your provider to find out how many job searches you’ll need to do each month.

Some job seekers who previously had an exemption will need to meet mutual obligation requirements to keep getting a payment. This is if you’re a sole trader or self-employed.

Changes to waiting periods for payments

We’re extending the waiver of the ordinary waiting period for new claims to 30 June 2021.

Other waiting periods that we waived or suspended due to COVID-19 are starting again.

The waiting periods for newly arrived residents and seasonal workers both restart from 1 April 2021.

The waiting period for moving to an area of lower employment prospects started again from 22 March 2021.

Changes to other rules for job seekers

The extended nil payment period ends from 16 April 2021. We’ll cancel your payment from this date if both of these apply:

  • your nil payment period started between 30 March 2020 and 23 January 2021
  • we haven’t paid you at least $1 before 16 April 2021.

You may still get an exemption from mutual obligation requirements if you’re affected by COVID-19. This applies if you’re either in isolation or caring for someone who needs to isolate because of COVID-19.

Next steps

Call your regular payment line if you’re affected by COVID-19 and you need an exemption from your mutual obligation requirements. We may give you a 14 day exemption without evidence if you’re either:

  • self-isolating
  • caring for someone who needs to self-isolate.

Read more about the changes in the enhanced social safety net factsheet on the Department of Social Services website.

You can also read more about:

Page last updated: 26 March 2021