Services Australia - Upcoming changes to income and means tests!

Posted: 7th Sep

The income free area for JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance for job seekers will increase from 25th September 2020. This means you can earn more but still get the maximum payment rates.

The Income free area changes will increase from:

  • $106 per fortnight to $300 per fortnight for JobSeeker Payment
  • $143 per fortnight to $300 per fortnight for Youth Allowance

If you earn above $300 per fortnight, customers payment will reduce by 60 cents for each dollar over $300. The Coronavirus Supplement is not counted as income.

Means tests

As part of our coronavirus (COVID-19) response, we temporarily removed the assets test for specific payments, however from 25 September 2020, means testing will be reintroduced. This includes asset testing for all payments. We’ll also reintroduce the liquid assets waiting period for new claims. 

Partner income testing

There are changes to the JobSeeker Payment partner income test. Customers payment will reduce by 27 cents, instead of 25 cents, for every dollar a customer’s partner earns over $1165 per fortnight. If a customer earns under $300 per fortnight, their partner can earn up to $3086.11 per fortnight. Once they earn this amount the payment will reduce to zero.

Expanded eligibility criteria continues for income support payments

If coronavirus has affected a customer’s income they may stay eligible for JobSeeker Payment or Youth Allowance for job seekers. This includes if they meet any of the following, they are:

  • a permanent employee who was stood down or lost their employment
  • a sole trader, the self-employed, casual worker or contract worker who meet the income tests
  • an eligible individual caring for someone affected by Coronavirus

Waiting periods continue to be waived

We’ll continue to waive some waiting periods for new claims until 31 December 2020. This includes the:

  • Ordinary Waiting Period
  • Newly Arrived Resident’s Waiting Period
  • Seasonal Work Preclusion Period

Customers must tell us about any changes to their income and assets within 14 days. We temporarily removed the assets test for some payments, but this will end on 24 September 2020. Customers don’t have to wait until this date to tell us about their assets.

To help customers do this, we’ve made it easier to update customer income and assets details online as they can do this by using their Centrelink online account through myGov. Customers can also make multiple updates at once, saving them time.

For further information visit:  https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/news/upcoming-changes-income-and-means-tests

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