JobSeeker recipients will receive an extra $25 a week under the new rate unveiled on Tuesday, following sustained lobbying from welfare groups, unions and economists.
The new rate has been met with fury, with the Australian Council of Social Services describing it as “heartless”, and Greens senator Rachel Siewert labelling it a “cruel joke”.
However, the Government says the new rate acts as an incentive for the 1.95 million Australians on working-age income support to find work.
Here’s what you need to know about how it affects you.
When does the new JobSeeker rate begin?
The new JobSeeker payment system will come into place from 1 April 2021, after the $150 Coronavirus Supplement expires on 31 March.
What’s the new JobSeeker rate for me?
Currently, single Australians with no children receive $715.70 in JobSeeker payments a fortnight.
That’s made up of the $565.70 JobSeeker payment and the $150 Coronavirus Supplement.
Once the supplement expires, all JobSeeker payments will essentially reduce by $100 a fortnight.
Here’s what you’ll get after the supplement is removed:
JobSeeker single, no children
Your base rate will go from $565.70 a fortnight to $615.70.
That’s an increase of $3.57 to $43.98 a day.
JobSeeker single, with children
Your base rate will increase from $612 to $662, or $47.29 a day.
JobSeeker single, 60 or older, following 9 continuous months of payment
Your base payment has also increased to $662 a fortnight.
If you’re receiving JobSeeker and are partnered, your base rate will increase from $510.80 to $560.80 a fortnight.
JobSeeker single parent carer with an exception from mutual obligations
Your JobSeeker base rate will increase from $793.10 to $843.10 a fortnight.
Youth allowance, at home
If you’re receiving Youth Allowance and are living at home, you’ll get $354.60, up from $304.60.
Youth allowance, out of home
If you’re living away from home, your new rate is $512.50, up from $462.50 a fortnight.
Single parent payment
Your new rate is $850.20 a fortnight, up from $793.10. That’s $60.73 a day.
I’ve seen other figures: why’s that?
While the base rate is due to increase by $50 on 1 April, the JobSeeker payment will also increase in line with the Consumer Price Index, which is updated in March and is expected to increase.
That means that for a single person with no children, your new rate will be more like $620.80 a fortnight, or $44.34 a day.
And for single JobSeeker recipients with children, that’s $667.50, or $47.68 a day.
What about mutual obligations?
Mutual obligations requirements have been tightened to coincide with the new rate.
JobSeeker recipients will be required to lift their job applications from eight a month to 15, as of 1 April.
Then, from July, they’ll need to apply for at least 20 jobs a month.
Additionally, people who have been receiving JobSeeker for at least six months will be required to either engage in an “intensive training” program of short courses, or take part in specific . Those who take on the Work for the Dole activities receive an extra $20.80, designed to cover transport.
JobSeeker recipients will also be required to attend face-to-face meetings, a requirement that was dropped last year during the pandemic.
And the Government will establish an employer reporting line to refer JobSeekers who are “not genuine” about their job search, or who decline a job offer. The Department of Social Services will then investigate and if they find the JobSeeker didn’t have a good reason to reject the job, there will be penalties.
The same goes for JobSeekers who fail to meet their mutual obligations requirements.
The income-free earnings threshold will also be increased to $150 from 1 April. That means that
JobSeeker recipients can earn up to that amount a fortnight before their payments are reduced.
Do I need to do anything to claim the higher level?
No, the increase will flow into your fortnightly payments as normal.
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