This page provides information about the temporary arrangements in place for JobSeeker Payment because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It includes changes announced by the Government that will apply until 31 March 2021.
It also covers what to do if you have a claim for payment rejected, or your payment is cancelled.
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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?
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.
People on JobSeeker Payment (and other payments) 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 the person’s bank accounts in addition to their fortnightly JobSeeker Payment entitlement.
From 25 September to 31 December 2020 the Coronavirus Supplement rate is $250 per fortnight. From 1 January 2021 to 31 March 2021 the Coronavirus Supplement rate will reduce to $150 per fortnight. Coronavirus Supplement will cease from 1 April 2021.
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.
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 March 2021. This means that people who claim JobSeeker Payment up until 31 March 2021 will not serve the waiting period.
Newly Arrived Residents Waiting Period (NARWP)
The Newly Arrived Residents Waiting Period has been waived until 31 March 2021. This means that people who claim JobSeeker Payment up until 31 March 2021 will not serve the NARWP. Read more here.
Seasonal Work Preclusion Period
The Seasonal Work Preclusion Period has been waived until 31 March 2021. This means that people who claim JobSeeker Payment up until 31 March 2021 will not serve the waiting period. Read more here.
Mutual obligation requirements for JobSeeker Payment recipients have been gradually increased under the special COVID-19 arrangements, with some variations for particular states/territories when outbreaks occur.
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.
Information about other income support payments
For information about other income support payments, including special arrangements in place due to COVID-19, see here.
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:
If you need legal support, your local specialist community legal centre may be able to help. Find your nearest community legal centre.