Here at the Bub Hub we’ve always made it our aim to provide sensible, practical and up-to-date advice to parents and parents-to-be so they can make informed decisions when it comes to fertility, pregnancy, and raising children.
Now, more than ever before, parents need a clear voice amid the confusion. And with that in mind, we’ve consulted a range of experts to discuss the only thing many of us are thinking about at the moment — the coronavirus or COVID-19.
Here we speak to accountant Brad Ryan about the Government assistance packages for families, individuals and business owners.
The Federal Government has announced an economic package that aims to assist families, workers who have lost their jobs and small business owners.
Some of these measures include:
The $750 Economic Support Payments
The Government will provide two $750 payments to social security and veteran income support recipients and eligible concession card holders.
The first payment will be made from 31 March 2020 to people who will have been on one of the eligible payments any time between 12 March 2020 and 13 April 2020.
This second payment will be made automatically from 13 July 2020 to around 5 million social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders, except for those who are eligible to receive the Coronavirus supplement.
The Coronavirus Supplement
The Government is temporarily expanding eligibility to income support payments and establishing a new, time-limited Coronavirus supplement to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight.
- This supplement be paid to both existing and new recipients of the JobSeeker Payment (formerly Newstart), Youth Allowance jobseeker, Parenting Payment, Sickness Allowance, Partner Allowance, Widow Allowance, ABSTUDY (Living Allowance), Austudy, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit.
- The expanded eligibility applies to sole traders, the self-employed, casual workers and contract workers who meet the income tests as a result of the economic downturn due to the Coronavirus.
- This could also include a person required to care for someone who is affected by the Coronavirus.
- The Coronavirus supplement will be paid for the next 6 months. Eligible income support recipients will receive the full amount of the $550 Coronavirus supplement on top of their payment each fortnight. The Coronavirus Supplement and expanded access for payments will commence from 27 April 2020.
Job Keeper Payment – Wages Subsidy
Businesses impacted by the Corona virus will be able to access a wages subsidy from the Federal Government to continue paying their employees. Affected employers will be able to claim a fortnightly payment of $1,500 per eligible employee from 30 March 2020, for a maximum period of 6 months.
- Businesses with a turnover of less than $1 billion whose turnover will be reduced by more than 30% relative to a comparable period of a year ago (of at least 1 month); or
- Businesses with a turnover of $1 billion or more whose turnover will be reduced by more than 50% relative to a comparable of a period of a year ago (of at least 1 month) and not subject to the major bank levy.
- Employers must have been in an eligible employment relationship as at 1 March 2020. Not-for-profit organisations and self-employed individuals (without employees) that meet the turnover tests are also eligible for Job Keeper Payments.
Payments will be made only in respect of employees that meet the following criteria:
- Currently employed by the employer (including those stood down or re-hired);
- Were employed at 1 March 2020;
- Are full-time, part-time or long-term casuals; and
- Not in receipt of a Job Keeper payment from another employer.
Employers to register their interest in applying for the Job Keeper Payment at ato.gov.au.
Employers will then be able to apply for the scheme by means of an online application. Employers to identify eligible employees for Job Keeper payments and provide monthly updates to the ATO.
Employers ensure employees receive a minimum $1,500 per fortnight before tax.
Small Business assistance
The Federal Government has advised that it will significantly increase the assistance for small businesses that employ people with an aggregated turnover of less than $50 million (including not-for-profits).
To be eligible your business must have been registered as an employer by 12 March 2020.The enhanced assistance is as follows:
- Initial Payment – After lodgement of March Business Activity Statement (28 April 2020). Employers will receive a payment equal to 100 per cent of their PAYG Withholding (up from 50 per cent) with the maximum payment being increased from $25,000 to $50,000.
- In addition the minimum payment is being increased from $2,000 to $10,000.
To qualify for the additional payment, the entity must continue to be active.
- For monthly activity statement lodgers, the additional payments will be delivered as an automatic credit in the activity statement system. This will be equal to a quarter of their total initial payment following the lodgement of their June 2020, July 2020, August 2020 and September 2020 activity statements (up to a total of $50,000).
- For quarterly activity statement lodgers the additional payments will be delivered as an automatic credit in the activity statement system. This will be equal to half of their total initial payment following the lodgement of their June 2020 and September 2020 activity statements (up to a total of $50,000).
What to do next?
In order to access this assistance it is important that you keep your activity statement lodgements up to date so that the credits or refunds can be processed to your account as and when they become due.
Access to superannuation
The Federal Government has introduced changes to the superannuation system to provide temporary relief for individuals to deal with the effect of COVID 19.
Eligible individuals will be able to apply online through myGov to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation before 1 July 2020.
They will also be able to access up to a further $10,000 from 1 July 2020 for approximately three months (exact timing will depend on the passage of the relevant legislation)
In order to be eligible you must satisfy any one or more of the following requirements:
- you are unemployed; you are 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;
- On or after 1 January 2020: you were made redundant; or your working hours were reduced by 20 per cent or more; or If you are a sole trader — your business was suspended or there was a reduction in your turnover of 20 per cent or more.
People accessing their superannuation will not need to pay tax on amounts released and the money they withdraw will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.
— by Brad Ryan at Coeus Advisers.
Brad and his team have been looking after the Bub Hub for more than 10 years. They pride themselves on providing informed straight forward financial advice which gives their clients the confidence to make appropriate decisions for their circumstances. Visit www.coeusadvisers.com.au for more details
This article is intended as a general guide to payments in Australia. To check your eligibility based on your own circumstances contact Services Australia.