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COVID-19 Government assistance

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.

3 minute read

What’s in this article:

  • JobKeeper and JobSeeker Payments
  • Accessing superannuation
  • Rental eviction moratorium
  • Utility relief 
     

Here’s a summary of the current Government initiatives that could help with financial support as the COVID-19 situation evolves.

JobKeeper Payment

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.

JobSeeker Payment

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.

Find out more about Government income support

Economic support payments

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.

Find out more about economic support payments
 

Accessing superannuation

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:

  • You’re unemployed; or
  • You’re eligible to receive a job seeker payment, youth allowance for jobseekers, parenting payment (which includes the single and partnered payments), special benefit or farm household allowance; or
  • On or after 1 January 2020, either:
    • you were made redundant; or
    • your working hours were reduced by 20% or more; or
    • if you are a sole trader - your business was suspended or there was a reduction in turnover of 20% or more.

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.

Find out more about withdrawing from your super

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.

Read the media release on the ATO website

Temporary reduction of superannuation minimum drawdown rates

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.

Fact sheet 6 Providing support for retirees to manage market volatility

Rental eviction moratorium

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.

Utility relief

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.


You may find these useful

Financial assistance: Navigating the support you need to recover

How to pay off my mortgage sooner

Budgeting to help recover from a financial setback

Important information

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.

© St.George Bank - A Division of Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 AFSL and Australian credit licence 233714.