Article updated: 12 February 2021
The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic is creating challenges for the entire community. Many individuals, families, and businesses have been impacted financially. If you’ve been affected by job loss or a decrease in wages, your business revenue has been affected, or you’ve been forced to close, there are Government financial relief measures to help.
With changes to some initiatives, it’s not easy to know what financial support is still available, and how you can access it. Here’s an overview of some relief measures currently in place to help affected workers, businesses and the broader community.
What financial relief is available for individuals?
The Australian Government is continuing to provide financial relief to Australians to support them through COVID-19. However, other relief measures are changing, finishing or have finished. This relief focuses on 3 main areas: income support payments, payments to support households and temporary early release of superannuation
Income support payments
The Government has continued the temporarily expanded eligibility to income support payments and established a time-limited Coronavirus supplement. This was initially paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight, however, as of 1 January 2021, it’s reduced to $150 per fortnight and will conclude on 31 March 2021.
This will be paid to both existing and new recipients of the:
- JobSeeker Payment
- Youth Allowance JobSeeker
- Parenting Payment
- Farm Household Allowance
- Special Benefit.
Household support payments
The Government provided 2 separate Economic Support Payments – of $750 each – to social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders. These payments were made from 31 March 2020 and 13 July 2020 respectively.
The Government is providing 2 additional Economic Support Payments of $250 each to pensioners and other eligible recipients to assist with the ongoing financial challenges faced as a result of COVID-19. These 2 additional payments will be made from 27 November 2020 and 26 February 2021.
Eligibility for the 2 additional Economic Support Payments
If you’ve lodged a claim for an eligible payment, for example, the Age Pension or Veteran Service Pension, you’ll automatically receive this payment via Services Australia or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. To see the full list of who’s eligible, and to find out more, refer to the fact sheet.
Additional support for those affected
If you’re experiencing financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are a range of support options available. Some of these are outlined below.
Help paying bills, loans, your mortgage
If you’re having trouble paying bills, loans or your mortgage, you should speak to your financial institution or energy and utilities provider directly. Many banks, for example, are providing different forms of support during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes:
- Deferring repayments on loans (often up to 6 months on mortgages)
- Waiving fees
- Providing financial hardship services.
If you’re finding it hard to pay the rent because you’ve been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, your first port of call should be to get in touch with your landlord to discuss a payment plan. Justice Connect, a Victorian legal advocacy service, has developed a Dear Landlord tool to help you construct a letter.
Tenancy rights and advice varies from state-to-state, so be sure to explore the latest information that’s relevant to the state you live in:
- Australian Capital Territory
- New South Wales
- Northern Territory
- South Australia
- Western Australia
Temporary early access to superannuation
This program ended on 31 Dec 2020.
The Government's COVID-19 early access to super program ended on 31 December 2020 at 11.59pm AEDT (Melbourne time). Applications cannot be backdated or accepted after 31 December 2020. From 1 January 2021, you can no longer apply for early access to super via this government measure.
Help getting back to work
Some state governments are launching initiatives to help people find work. For example, the Victorian Government has launched a new scheme called Working for Victoria. Launched on 17 April 2020, it aims to help Victorians find new work opportunities. Discover how your state government could assist.
Check with your local government to see where they could assist.
What financial relief is available for businesses?
There are a range of financial relief measures available for businesses. If you manage, own or run a business that has been impacted by a loss in revenue, had to let staff go, or are considering your options, it can help to know what help is out there.
Finding the latest financial assistance
In addition to the financial relief and support services listed above, different states and businesses may have new schemes launching to help those affected which address the most recent changes COVID-19 brings.
Researching the latest news on financial support from Federal Government and state websites, such as MoneySmart, and also banking websites, such as bausbanking.com.org.au may help you stay up-to-date with the latest help available.
For the latest information on the Australian Government’s Economic Response to the Coronavirus visit treasury.gov.au/coronavirus.
Businesses can visit business.gov.au to find out more about how the Economic Response complements the range of support available to small and medium businesses.