republished from ABC NEWS
By Nicole Mills
Coronavirus is having an enormous impact on the economy.
In a bid to soften the blow, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced more money will be given to welfare recipients.
The Government is also helping more people access welfare payments by waiving some asset tests and waiting periods.
"We will be supercharging our safety net," Mr Morrison said on Sunday.
"This is focusing on those who are going to feel the first blows."
There were a couple of announcements in yesterday's press conference, but the payment Australians seem most interested in, according to Google search results, is one called the Coronavirus Supplement.
What is the Coronavirus Supplement?
It's a new fortnightly payment for people on welfare.
How much is the Coronavirus Supplement?
It is worth $550 a fortnight ($275 a week).
Who is eligible for the Coronavirus Supplement?
It goes to anyone receiving:
JobSeeker Payment (formerly known as the Newstart Allowance) Sickness Allowance Youth Allowance for jobseekers Parenting Payment PartneredParenting Payment SinglePartner Allowance Sickness Allowance Farm Household Allowance
Are small business owners and casual workers eligible?
Yes — if they suddenly find themselves earning less than $1,075 a fortnight.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the Government would ensure people who had their business closed, saw customers disappear, or had casual shifts cut could access the Coronavirus Supplement.
"We have waived the assets tests and waived the waiting period but there is still the income test so if you earn $1,075 a fortnight you will get that full $550 Coronavirus Supplement," Mr Frydenberg said.
"This is good news for a sole trader who is still in work but has seen the income reduce.
"If you are a casual and you still have some hours but your income has fallen below that $1,075 a fortnight you will get the supplement."
How to claim the Coronavirus Supplement
If you're already receiving one of the welfare payments listed above, you don't actually have to do anything.
Services Australia will automatically pay the Coronavirus Supplement to eligible recipients each fortnight.
The payment will begin on April 27 and will be available for at least six months.
If you're not currently receiving welfare, you'll need to apply.
Remember, the Government has temporarily expanded eligibility for the JobSeeker and Youth Allowance payments, meaning you may be eligible if you're:
A permanent employee who has been stood down or lost your job A sole trader, self-employed, a casual or contract worker whose income has reduced Caring for someone who's affected by coronavirus
Income testing will still apply but if you're earning less than $1,075 a fortnight, Centrelink should approve your claim, meaning you would get the supplement.
The Government plans to hire an additional 5,000 staff for Services Australia — the agency responsible for Centrelink payments — to help deliver the new measures.
Is there a waiting period for the Coronavirus Supplement?
The ordinary waiting period has been waived.
If you are eligible for the Coronavirus Supplement, the Government will also waive the liquid asset test waiting period, newly arrived residents waiting period, and seasonal work preclusion period.
Income maintenance and compensation preclusion periods will continue to apply.
Can I still access annual leave or income protection?
No. You can't access employer entitlements, such as annual leave or sick leave, at the same time as getting JobSeeker or Youth Allowance payments.
You also can't receive the payments if you're accessing income protection insurance.
Will there be more payments in future?
At his press conference on Sunday, the Prime Minister said the economic stimulus measures implemented so far were "unprecedented".
But he foreshadowed more announcements of this kind.
"This will not be the Treasurer and my last visit to these podiums to make announcements on these measures," Mr Morrison said.
"This is focusing on those who are going to feel the first blows. There will be more packages and more support."