The Australian government has released various stimulus payments, two of which are JobSeeker’s $550 coronavirus supplement and JobKeeper’s $1,500 wage subsidy.
A person receiving the JobKeeper payment cannot receive the JobSeeker payment.
So, which one can you apply, and which is better?
JobKeeper is a wage subsidy scheme to provide payments to Australians. Payments have been made through businesses affected by the Coronavirus.
Affected employers are able to access a subsidy from the government to continue paying their employees — a taxable fortnightly payment of $1,500 per eligible employee.
The subsidy started on 30 March 2020, for a maximum period of 6 months, with employers receiving the first payments in the 1st week of May.
Employees eligible for the subsidy:
- employed by an eligible employer
- employed at 1 March 2020
- are at least 16 years of age
- are full-time, part-time, or a long-term casual. Casuals employed for less than 12 months are currently excluded.
- are not in receipt of a JobKeeper Payment from another employer. You’ll need to nominate one employer if you have multiple jobs.
- are an Australian citizen, the holder of a permanent visa, a Protected Special Category Visa Holder, a non-protected Special Category Visa Holder who has been residing continually in Australia for 10 years or more, or a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa Holder. New Zealand citizens will qualify but other temporary visa holders are currently excluded.
The employer must continue to pay the superannuation guarantee on the employee’s regular wages. It’s up to the employer whether they pay superannuation on additional JobKeeper payments.
Employers eligible for the subsidy:
- the business has a turnover of less than $1 billion — turnover will be reduced by more than 30% relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month).
- the business has a turnover of $1 billion or more — turnover will be reduced by more than 50% relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month).
- the business is not subject to the Major Bank Levy.
Qualifying businesses should register to apply on the ATO website.Jobseeker or Jobkeeper? Which one can I apply for? Click To Tweet
Self-employed (contractors, tradies, and workers in the “gig” economy) can benefit from the JobKeeper scheme and will need to register with the ATO. You’ll need to:
- nominate yourself to receive the payment
- provide an ABN for your business
- provide your Tax File Number and provide a declaration that your turnover has dropped by 30% compared to a comparable period (this time last year).
Monthly payments of $1,500 fortnightly will be made to your bank account.
With JobSeeker payment, the government is to pay eligible recipients a taxable supplement of $550 fortnightly.
This will be paid for 6 months to both existing and new recipients of the JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance for jobseekers, Parenting Payment Partnered, Parenting Payment Single, Partner Allowance, Sickness Allowance and the Farm Household Allowance.
From 27 April 2020, the supplement will double the current payment for new and existing social security recipients.
Those who have already applied for JobSeeker can withdraw if they want to shift to JobKeeper payments.
The eligibility and qualification criteria have been expanded from 27 April 2020, for 6 months, to include:
- permanent employees who lost their job or have been stood down
- self-employed, sole traders, casual or contract workers whose income have reduced
- students who receive Youth Allowance, AUSTUDY, and ABSTUDY
- those caring for someone infected or in isolation as a result of contact with Coronavirus.
Eligibility conditions that have been waived temporarily include:
- Assets test (waived for 6 months from 25 March 2020)
- Ordinary Waiting Period (waived until 12 June 2020)
- The requirement for an Employment Separation Certificate, proof of rental arrangements and verification of relationship status has been temporarily removed from 27 April 2020.
- The partner income test has been relaxed to ensure that an eligible person can receive the JobSeeker Payment providing their partner earns less than $3,068 per fortnight, around $79,762 per annum, about double the previous figure.
To claim the supplement online, those who do not already deal with Services Australia will need to:
- set up a myGov account
- call to verify their identity, and get a link to their Centrelink online account.
Applicants will need to make an initial declaration about their:
- residency status
- and that they had their hours reduced (including to zero), or have been made redundant as a result of the economic downturn due to Coronavirus.
So, which is better? The JobKeeper payment is preferable as the amount you’ll receive is generally higher.
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