JobSeeker and COVID-19

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This page provides information about JobSeeker Payment and the temporary arrangements in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes changes announced by the Government that will apply until 31 December 2020.

It also covers what to do if you have a JobSeeker Payment claim rejected.

Use the links below to jump to the information you need:

What is JobSeeker Payment?

What are the temporary changes to JobSeeker Payment under the COVID-19 arrangements?

How is JobSeeker Payment paid?

Reviews and Appeals

Legal help






What is JobSeeker Payment?

JobSeeker Payment is the name of the payment that was previously called Newstart Allowance. JobSeeker Payment also incorporates what was previously called Sickness Allowance.




What are the temporary changes to JobSeeker Payment under the COVID-19 arrangements?

Eligibility criteria

Under the temporary arrangements a person who is 22 years or over may be eligible for JobSeeker Payment if they meet the residence eligibility criteria and they:

  • have been stood down without pay as a permanent employee
  • have lost income as a sole trader, self-employed person, casual worker or contract worker or
  • have lost income due to being required to care for someone who is affected by COVID-19.

Coronavirus supplement

People on JobSeeker Payment receive the Coronavirus Supplement, a temporary payment made under the Government’s special arrangements to deal with the public health crisis. The Coronavirus Supplement is paid into recipients’ bank accounts in addition to their fortnightly JobSeeker Payment entitlement. From 25 September the Coronavirus Supplement reduces from $550 per fortnight to $250 per fortnight.

Income test

JobSeeker Payment income test thresholds depend on the person’s age and whether they are single or a member of a couple; whether they are the primary carer of a child; and whether they have a partner who receives a pension. See here.

Assets test

The assets test for JobSeeker Payment has been reintroduced from 25 September 2020, for recipients as well as new claimants. See here.

Liquid Assets Waiting Period

The Liquid Assets Waiting Period has been reintroduced for new JobSeeker Payment claims made on or after 25 September 2020. See here.

One-week Ordinary Waiting Period

The One-week Ordinary Waiting Period has been waived until 31 December 2020. This means that people who claim JobSeeker Payment up until 31 December will not serve the waiting period.

Newly Arrived Residents Waiting Period (NARWP)

The Newly Arrived Residents Waiting Period has been waived until 31 December 2020. This means that people who claim JobSeeker Payment up until 31 December will not serve the NARWP. Read more here.

Seasonal Work Preclusion Period

The Seasonal Work Preclusion Period has been waived until 31 December 2020. This means that people who claim JobSeeker Payment up until 31 December will not serve the waiting period. Read more here.

Mutual obligations

Mutual obligation requirements for JobSeeker Payment recipients have been gradually increased under the special COVID-19 arrangements, except for people living in Victoria.

Significant changes to Mutual Obligation requirements take effect from 28 September 2020, with suspension of payment and financial penalties for failure to comply without a ‘reasonable excuse’. Read more here.




How is JobSeeker Payment paid?

JobSeeker Payment is paid fortnightly into the recipient’s bank account. It is paid for the fortnight that has just passed. It is not paid in advance.




Reviews and Appeals

If a person’s claim is rejected, they have the right to have the decision reviewed by an Authorised Review officer, and then the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Reviews and appeals are often successful. Although it’s not necessary, it’s a good idea to get legal advice before appealing.

To seek a review:

  • Phone or visit Centrelink, and/or
  • Complete a form called ‘Review of Decision’ and returning it to Centrelink. It is important to appeal within 13 weeks of receiving the original decision in writing to ensure back payment. For more information read this factsheet:

Factsheet: Appealing a Centrelink Decision




Legal help

If you need legal support, your local specialist community legal centre may be able to help. Find your nearest community legal centre.