Update on COVID-19 support available for Australian employees who have been made redundant

23.03.20 11:59 PM Comment(s) By Roger Gregg

Last updated 7am AEST Thursday 26 March 2020

with information relating to How to Register your Intent to Claim

The live version of this document (with possible updates) can be found here.

As a result of the incredibly distressing shutdown of the hospitality and leisure sectors in Australia, we have tried to break down for you here some of the assistance that is available to your staff.  The below may not be exhaustive, nor completely up to date, but over the next few days we’ll endeavour to keep it as relevant and accurate as we can. If you think something is incorrect, you should be able to leave a comment below, and we’ll check them out, and update them. 

Please note - we have done our best here to pull together information that may be useful to you in the hospitality industry in Australia, but please check the information for yourselves and do not rely upon this advice, solely.  This document does not constitute legal advicePlease feel free to take a copy of this document (you can do so by accessing the link in the 1st sentence above), and edit it for your own use.  If you copy the text from the document, the links should come across also.


If you have lost your job over these last few days, this is no doubt a very worrying and distressing time for you.  Firstly, if you are struggling, or need help, please reach out to someone close to you, or call Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14.  One you are ready, you may wish to start the process of registering for the JobSeeker Payment (or whatever other assistance might be available to you) as soon as possible. 

Jobseeker Payments

JobSeeker Payment is financial help if you’re between 22 and Age Pension age.  You can get it while you’re unemployed and looking for work, or doing approved activities to find a job.

To get JobSeeker Payment you need to meet some rules. These include:

  • you’re between 22 and Age Pension age

  • your income and assets are under the test limits

  • you meet residence rules.

  • you meet the government definition of unemployed and you’re looking for work.

This page will tell you who can get it

This payment and service finder will help you determine what you will get paid, and this page will give you information on how to claim

On 22 March , the Government announced that the JobSeeker Payment, formerly known as Newstart, will be paid at an additional rate of $550 per fortnight to both existing and new recipients during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The coronavirus supplement will provide an additional $550 a fortnight on top of the existing JobSeeker Payment and will be available for sole traders and casual workers who meet the income test,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.  “This means anyone eligible for the maximum JobSeeker Payment will now receive more than $1100 a fortnight, effectively doubling the JobSeeker allowance.”  “JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance JobSeeker criteria will provide payment access for permanent employees who are stood down or lose their employment; 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”

NEW 26 March - Services Australia now allows you to register your intention to claim a Centrelink paymentYou don’t need to complete a full claim right now. You can register your intention to claim at a time and place that works for you. They’ll backdate your payment. You don’t need to go into a service centre to register your intention to claim. You can do it through myGov. Once you’ve registered your intention to make a claim, they’ll contact you to let you know what the next steps are. 

  • If you do not have a myGov account, you will need to set one up.
  • If you have a myGov account linked to Medicare or Australian Taxation Office, you can register your intention to claim.  When you sign in to myGov, they’ll prompt you to register your intention to claim a Centrelink payment. 
  • If you have a myGov account, but it is NOT yet linked to Medicare or Australian Taxation Office, you will need to link your myGov account to either Medicare or Australian Taxation Office, before you can register your intention to claim.  Once you link one, they’ll prompt you to register your intention to claim a Centrelink payment.
  • If you have a myGov account already linked to Centrelink, you can sign into myGov and choose to either:
    • go to your Centrelink online account and start your claim now, or
    • register your intention to claim on the myGov Welcome screen.

    Arrangements for those looking for work will also be more flexible during this unprecedented time.

    If you get JobSeeker Payment and you earn income over a certain amount, it will affect how much you get. But, you can generally earn up to $104 every 2 weeks before they start reducing your payment.  More information is available on the government website.

    Coronavirus Supplement

    On Sunday 22 March 2020, the Government announced it will provide a temporary Coronavirus Supplement of $550 a fortnight to new and existing income support recipients from 27 April 2020 for six months. People will receive their usual payment plus $550 each fortnight for the six month period.

    The Coronavirus Supplement will be provided to people receiving:

    JobSeeker Payment (as outlined above), but also

    Sickness Allowance

    Youth Allowance for jobseekers

    Parenting Payment Partnered

    Parenting Payment Single

    Partner Allowance

    Sickness Allowance

    Farm Household Allowance.

    NEW - In legislation passed last night (Monday 23 March) more than 230,000 full-time students on youth allowance, Austudy and Abstudy will get their welfare payments boosted by $550 a fortnight after being included in the coronavirus stimulus measures.

    Two economic support payments

    On 12 March 2020, the Government announced it will provide an Economic Support payment of $750 to approximately 6.6 million Social Security and Veterans' income support recipients, Farm Household Allowance (FHA) recipients, Family Tax Benefit (FTB) recipients and holders of a Pensioner Concession Card, Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) or Commonwealth Gold Card who were eligible on 12 March 2020.

    On 22 March 2020, the Government announced it would extend the eligibility for the first Economic Support payment to people who were eligible for their payment or card between 12 March 2020 and 13 April 2020 (inclusive). The Government also announced it would provide a second Economic Support payment, also of $750 to people eligible for any of the payments or cards in the first round of payments on 10 July 2020 so long as they do not receive the Coronavirus Supplement with their payment.

    To be eligible for the first Economic Support payment you must be residing in Australia and be receiving one of the following payments or hold one of the following concession cards:

    Age Pension

    Disability Support Pension

    Carer Payment

    Parenting Payment

    Wife Pension

    Widow B Pension

    ABSTUDY (Living Allowance)


    Bereavement Allowance

    Newstart Allowance

    Youth Allowance

    Partner Allowance

    Sickness Allowance

    Special Benefit

    Widow Allowance

    Family Tax Benefit, including Double Orphan Pension

    Carer Allowance

    Pensioner Concession Card holders

    Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders

    Veteran Service Pension; Veteran Income Support Supplement; Veteran Compensation payments, including lump sum payments; War Widow(er) Pension; and Veteran Payment

    DVA PCC holders; DVA Education Scheme recipients; Disability Pensioners at the temporary special rate; DVA Income support pensioners at $0 rate

    Veteran Gold Card holders

    Farm Household Allowance.

    Eligibility for the second Economic Support payment is for the same group of people but only if they do notreceive the Coronavirus Supplement with their payment,

    Services Australia and the Department of Veterans' Affairs will automatically deliver the first Economic Support payment from 31 March 2020 (subject to the passage of legislation) and the second Economic Support payment from 13 July 2020.

    Please visit the Services Australia website for more information on each individual payment.

    Access to your Superannuation

    The government has also announced that you may be able to access your Superannuation, to help you get by.  Details on this can be found here.

    Other assistance

    The government may decide to make more assistance available over these next weeks and months, so please keep an eye out in the press/news for that. 

    Below, I have listed some website that you may find useful

    But, please … we cannot emphasise this enough … this is serious

    Please follow self-isolation guidelines.  If you are feeling ill, stay away from people (everyone) until you get tested. 

    And finally

    Please do not go anywhere near elderly people, even if you are feeling okay.  You could well be carrying the virus … you will be putting their lives at risk.  To put this into perspective, New York State now has 5% of all the COVID-19 cases globally - this virus does not recognise that you live in a modern city, in an affluent country.  The sooner we all isolate … the sooner we all stop the spread of this virus … the sooner this goes away, and we all come back to work. 

    Stay safe - from the team at Lightyear

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