Are you eligible for government stimulus?
The government stimulus package has multiple options to help you financially through Coronavirus.
Which stimulus options may be available to you?
If you’ve lost your job…
Your first stop for getting money in the bank is applying for the increased JobSeeker payment via Centrelink. If you’re eligible you’ll have some income coming in whilst you start to look for a new job. There are still a lot of businesses hiring, so jump on Seek or LinkedIn and see what is available.
Chat with your previous employer about coming back with the help of the JobKeeper program. They may not be eligible, but it’s worth asking.
If your hours or pay have been reduced…
The JobSeeker payment now allows for employees who have lost significant income to access the Coronavirus supplement of $550 per fortnight. The standard JobSeeker income tests still apply, but other testing has been waived or altered to allow more people access.
You could also ask your employer if they will be utilising JobKeeper to help them cover your wages during this time.
If you’ve been ‘stood down’…
This means your employer can’t currently offer you work, or pay you, but your job will be waiting when circumstances change. This allows companies to retain their workforce through this crisis.
You may look at getting one of the temporary jobs that have been created by Coronavirus especially in the customer service industry. You can also apply to access the JobSeeker payment or ask your employer if they’re taking part in the JobKeeper program.
If you’re not eligible for any of the Government’s stimulus options, or you’re still struggling to make ends meet, you may also be eligible to withdraw from your super. If you meet the eligibility criteria, the government is currently allowing you to withdraw up to $10,000 from your super tax-free this financial year (2019-20) and up to another $10,000 next financial year (2020-21) by applying directly to the ATO via myGov. Early release of super can have long term implications for your savings in retirement, so it’s best to ask a financial advisor for advice which takes into account your personal financial situation and needs before taking up this option.
When looking at all your options, think of this analogy made by accountant and financial coach Melissa Browne.
“This is a marathon, not a sprint, and these stimulus payments are going to finish and who’s to say your income is not going to drop further or who’s to say it’s not going to level out like this for months and months to come.”
You need to think long-term when deciding which stimulus option is best for you. For examples, dipping into your super may provide short-term relief, but it’s a decision that has a long-term impact.
This is an overview of the government stimulus packages that may be available to you. See more on the government’s economic support during Coronavirus here. We recommend that you seek personal financial advice before making a decision.