COVID-19 Money Stuff You Need to Know

During times of change or challenge making financial decisions can sometimes feel overwhelming. A major life transition like loss of income, job loss, closing a business and general unknown future can be traumatic. Trauma affects many aspects of our cognition, and decision making is one key aspect that becomes affected. Understanding the effects of trauma on other aspects such as working memory, planning and attention is also important: ‘be gentle with yourself, team up with a buddy, and take small steps to move through the situation to make sure you are safe and secure on the other side!’

If you need support contact your bank, real estate agent and any regular bill or suppliers.

 

WHAT HAS BEEN ANNOUNCED?

Job Seeker Payment – Range between $565.70 – $790.10 per fortnight (before tax) is managed by Centrelink and is means tested based on ‘family income’ which needs to be under $3,068 per fortnight or $79,762 per year (temporary increase on $48,000 per year). Means testing (asset test waived for next 6 months). Waived waiting periods (no access to employer leave benefits or income protection benefits during payment). Rent Assistance may apply.
Sole traders that become eligible for the Jobseeker Payment will automatically meet their mutual obligation requirements during this period by continuing to develop and sustain their business.

Coronavirus Supplement – $550 per fortnight paid to new and existing recipients of JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance Jobseeker, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit.

Job Keeper Payments (from 30 March) – $1,500 per fortnight subsidy paid to employers (is before tax and super payment) and is for fulltime, part time or casual employers who have been employed for more than 12 months. Eligible employees include Australian citizens, 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. Managed through the Single Touch Pay Roll System.

Cash Flow Boost for Employers (paid 28th April) – this will pay up to $100,000 to eligible small and medium-sized businesses, and not for-profits (NFPs) that employ people, with a minimum payment of $20,000. This is paid via the PAYG withholding system and employers will receive a payment equal to 100 per cent of their salary and wages with a minimum payment of $10,000 and maximum payment of $50,000. An additional payment is also being introduced in the July – October 2020 period under the same provisions.

Instant Asset Write Off – the instant asset write-off threshold has been increased from $30,000 to $150,000. But you need to have access to the money to spend and the profit in the business to make it worthwhile.

Support for Apprentices and Trainees – Eligible employers can apply for a wage subsidy of 50 per cent of the apprentice’s or trainee’s wage for 9 months from 1 January 2020 to 30 September 2020. Where a small business is not able to retain an apprentice, the subsidy will be available to a new employer that employs that apprentice. Employers will be reimbursed up to a maximum of $21,000 per eligible apprentice or trainee ($7,000 per quarter).

Centrelink Deeming rates reduction
It was announced on 12 March 2020 that deeming rates would reduce from 3%/1% to 2.5%/0.5%. However, the Government announced on 22 March 2020 a further 0.25% reduction to the deeming rates which will become effective on 1 May 2020.


Table 1: Deeming rates and thresholds from 1 May 2020

Single

Rate

Couple

First $51,800

0.25%

First $86,200

Over $51,800

2.25%

Over $86,200

 

Reduction in super income stream minimum payment amounts

An immediate reduction to super minimums for account-based pensions now applies, halving the previous rates.

Account-based pension minimum payments for 2019/20 and 2020/21

Age on 1 July

Minimum drawdown % of 1 July account balance

Under 65

2%

65-74

2.5%

75-79

3%

80-84

3.5%

85-89

4.5%

90-94

5.5%

95+

7%

If you have already drawn down your super minimum for the financial year, you can stop payments for the rest of the financial year.  If you need assistance here please contact the office.

 

Further resources

Check out the online resources for the ATO and Service Australia and Money Smart:
https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/households
https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/businesses
https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Dealing-with-disasters/In-detail/Specific-disasters/COVID-19/
https://moneysmart.gov.au/covid-19

Local Government Grants for Business

Melbourne and Victoria

https://www.business.vic.gov.au/support-for-your-business/grants-and-assistance/business-support-fund

Canberra – Australian Capital Territory

https://www.covid19.act.gov.au/economic-support/economic-survival-package

New South Wales

https://preview.nsw.gov.au/covid-19

Newcastle

https://www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au/Council/News/COVID-19-how-we-are-responding