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Lockdown payments increase to $750, Aussies on Centrelink get $200 boost

·2-min read
Sydney Harbour Bridge as seen from Milsons Point, Centrelink sign, Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks at press conference.
As Sydney extends its lockdown, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced changes to disaster payments for Aussies already receiving Centrelink payments. (Images: Getty).

The weekly COVID-19 Disaster Payments will increase from $600 to $750 with the Sydney lockdown set to continue until the end of August, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced.

This level of payment is available to people who have lost at least 20 hours of work in one week and takes the weekly payments to the same level as those received in the first iteration of the JobKeeper scheme.

The lower level will increase from $375 to $450 for people who have lost between eight and 20 hours of work.

People already receiving the payments can expect to receive either $600 or $375 payments, depending on eligibility, in this week’s payment.

The higher payments will be delivered from next week.

The decision to increase the payments comes after weeks of lobbying from unions and the Labor party to reintroduce the JobKeeper scheme. 

However, Morrison said the Government chose not to revive the scheme as it wasn't "the right solution" for the current situation. 

"What we are doing now is faster, it is more effective, it is more targeted.”

In its most valuable iteration, JobKeeper provided workers with $1,500 fortnightly payments that was funnelled through their employers. 

One of JobKeeper's central rules was that businesses were only eligible for the wage subsidies if they didn't change headcount.

$200 top-up payments for Aussies on Centrelink

Additionally, around 1 million people previously ineligible for the COVID-19 Disaster Payments will now be eligible for weekly $200 top up payments as the Government closes a loophole in the payments scheme.

Previously, people receiving payments from Centrelink like JobSeeker and Youth Allowance were ineligible for the weekly COVID-19 Disaster Payments.

That meant people on JobSeeker, who may previously had combined a wage with income support, could receive a maximum payment of $310.40 a week.

Under the expanded COVID-19 Disaster Payments, people who receive Centrelink income and who have lost more than eight hours of work will be eligible for $200 weekly payments.

These payments will be in addition to their regular Centrelink payments.

“The whole point of this is that people are not able to earn that extra income they were earning, and these payments are there to support them and to ensure that there is some

recognition of that, but they have been prevented from doing that, and this will provide them some additional support,” Morrison said.

However, people who don't work and those who lost fewer than eight hours will be ineligible for the $200 payments. 

People can apply for these payments from Tuesday 3 August through Services Australia.

More to come.

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Image: Yahoo Finance
Image: Yahoo Finance
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