Changes to Centrelink’s COVID-19 support payments

17 January 2021

Changes to Centrelink’s COVID-19 support payments

There’s been a number of changes to job seeker payments and initiatives since COVID-19 hit early last year. Now, the last of these changes are wrapping up in March/April. Here’s what you need to know.

Centrelink debt repayments resume February 2021

The Government put Centrelink debt repayments on hold for most people back in October in response to COVID-19. If your repayments were put on hold, these will restart in February. You don’t need to do anything at the moment – Centrelink will let you know before you need to resume your repayments.

If you want to resume your repayments before February, here’s what you can do.

  1. Call the Centrelink debt recovery line. They’re open between 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
  2. Use the Money you owe service through your:

JobKeeper payment ending 28 March 2021

The JobKeeper Payment to eligible businesses will end on 28 March. If you’re currently on JobKeeper through your employer, and your income is going to reduce when this payment ends, you may be eligible for other income support, such as JobSeeker.

See what payments you may be eligible for through Centrelink’s Payment and Service Finder.

Coronavirus Supplement ending 31 March 2021

The current Coronavirus Supplement of $150 per fortnight will end on 31 March. This means from 1 April 2021, payments will go back to the normal rates for anyone receiving the following income support:

  • JobSeeker Payment
  • Partner Allowance
  • Widow Allowance
  • Youth Allowance
  • Austudy
  • ABSTUDY Living Allowance
  • Parenting Payment
  • Farm Household Allowance
  • Special Benefit

Extended eligibility for JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance ends 31 March 2021

There were some temporary changes to who’s eligible for the JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance for job seekers. These changes will end on 31 March and the normal, pre-COVID eligibility rules will then apply. Eligibility depends on your situation, but you’ll need to meet all of these:

  • you’re between 22 and Age Pension age
  • you meet residence rules
  • you meet the income and assets tests.

You also need to meet rules for one of these situations:

  • you meet Centrelink’s definition of unemployed and you’re looking for work.
  • you’re sick or injured and unable to do your usual work or study for a short time.

Find out more about JobSeeker Payment eligibility.

Temporary waivers for waiting periods end 31 March 2021

From 31 March, waiting periods for the following will resume, meaning you may have to wait to get payments or concession cards.

Nil payment period ends 16 April 2021

If you haven’t received at least $1 in Government income support in the 6 fortnights before 16 April 2021, Centrelink will cancel your income support payment. This applies to all Centrelink customers, except those receiving the Disability Support Pension (DSP). You can read more about income support payments here.

For more information around changes to the Government’s Coronavirus Payments and initiatives, visit the Services Australia website.

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