Millions of Australians have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 situation, through work hours being reduced, being temporarily stood down or job loss. To counteract the impact, the Federal Government have introduced a number of initiatives to support those affected.
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Here’s a summary of the current Government initiatives that could help with financial support as the COVID-19 situation evolves.
The Government is offering emergency relief and financial assistance to help employers during this difficult time, including the JobKeeper Payment scheme.
The Government’s website contains information, including whether you are eligible to claim these payments.
If your income has fallen below a certain level and you aren’t receiving the JobKeeper payment, you may be eligible for the JobSeeker Payment or other type of Government income support.
If you receive an eligible income support payment, you’ll receive either one or two automatic $750 economic support payments. The first payment has already been made (between 12 March and 13 April 2020) and the second payment will be made from 13 July 2020.
If eligible, you may be able to access up to $10,000 from your superannuation in the 2019-20 financial year and another $10,000 in the 2020-21 financial year. It’s important though to keep in mind that your superannuation is to provide for your retirement, so make sure you consider all your options and the impacts accessing your super early may have.
To apply for early release of super if you are an Australian or New Zealand citizen or permanent resident, you must satisfy any one or more of the following requirements at the time of application:
Refer to the ATO to check if you are eligible.
You can apply for early access of your superannuation by logging into your myGov account and following the 'intention to access Coronavirus support’ instructions. There’s no need to contact your superannuation fund.
Accessing your superannuation is tax free and won’t affect any welfare payments you may be eligible for.
Please note that the ATO will be taking action where people deliberately exploit the system. Read the ATO’s recent media release about compliance when applying in situations where you are not eligible and/or withdrawing and recontributing to your super to claim a tax deduction.
The Government has temporarily reduced superannuation minimum drawdown requirements by 50 per cent for account-based pensions and similar products for the 2019/20 and 2020/21 financial years. This reduces the need for retirees to sell investment assets in order to fund minimum drawdown requirements.
All Australian State and Territory Governments have agreed to a six-month moratorium on evictions for both residential and commercial tenants if they can’t pay their rent as a result of financial impacts from COVID-19. However, the legally binding rental agreement between a landlord and tenant is still in place. It could be worthwhile talking to your landlord to find out if any rental relief could be possible.
Although not a Government initiative, many utility companies (such as electricity and gas) and other businesses such as insurance providers have also launched support measures for customers who have been financially impacted due to COVID-19. If you’re struggling to pay for essential services, it’s worthwhile getting in touch with your service provider directly. They will likely also have details of temporary relief packages on their website.
This information is general in nature and has been prepared without taking your objectives, needs and overall financial situation into account. For this reason, you should consider the appropriateness for the information to your own circumstances and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.
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