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Step by step guide: How to claim your $550 coronavirus cash

Here's what you need to do to get your coronavirus supplement or economic support payment. (Source: Getty)
Here's what you need to do to get your coronavirus supplement or economic support payment. (Source: Getty)

If you’re eligible for the $550 Coronavirus Supplement promised by the Morrison government, you may be wondering how you can actually access the cash.

Thousands of Australians have struggled to access the Morrison government’s promised $550 Coronavirus Supplement, with queues outside Centrelink offices hours-long and myGov buckling under the strain.

Here’s what you should do if you’re one of many Australians who qualify for the payment.

If you get the JobSeeker Payment or certain other welfare payments…

Do you get one of the following?

  • JobSeeker Payment;

  • Sickness Allowance;

  • Youth Allowance for jobseekers;

  • Parenting Payment Partnered;

  • Parenting Payment Single;

  • Partner Allowance;

  • Widow Allowance;

  • Wife Pension;

  • Sickness Allowance;

  • Farm Household Allowance;

  • Special Benefit recipients;

  • Austudy; and

  • Abstudy

If that’s you, you actually don’t have to do anything at all.

The government will automatically deposit the $550 per fortnight payment to your bank account.

“The supplement will be an extra $550 a fortnight on top of your normal payment rate,” according to Services Australia.

Here’s a fact sheet about the $550 supplement from Treasury.

If you lost your job or are one of the following…

If coronavirus has claimed your job, or you’re one of these:

  • Sole traders or self-employed;

  • Contract workers who meet the income test; or

  • People caring for someone infected or isolated as a result of the virus.

You’ll need to create a myGov account. You should already have one since you use it to access your ATO account when you do your taxes.

In short, only people who haven’t received a Centrelink payment before will have to go through this process. For everyone else, it’ll be automatic.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Log into your myGov account with your email and your password.

The first thing you’ll see when you log in is a question that asks you if you intend to register for the payment.

After logging into myGov, you'll be automatically greeted with this notice. (Source: Yahoo Finance screenshot)
After logging into myGov, you'll be automatically greeted with this notice. (Source: Yahoo Finance screenshot)
  1. Hit the ‘Register intention to claim’ button and Centrelink will reach out to applicants to take them through next steps.

“Tens of thousands” of people have already registered their intentions to claim.

To speed up the process, sole traders should have documents like bank statements, rental history, a list of your assets and their values, rental agreements and profit/loss statements on hand, one social media user revealed.

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Here’s who gets the $750 supplement

The government’s first stimulus package will provide one-off $750 economic support payments to the following:

  • Age Pension

  • Disability Support Pension

  • Carer Payment

  • Carer Allowance

  • Parenting Payment

  • Wife Pension

  • Widow B Pension

  • ABSTUDY (Living Allowance)

  • Austudy

  • Bereavement Allowance

  • Newstart Allowance

  • Youth Allowance

  • Partner Allowance

  • Sickness Allowance

  • Special Benefit

  • Widow Allowance

  • Farm Household Allowance

  • Family Tax Benefit A

  • Family Tax Benefit B

  • Double Orphan Pension.

If you have one of the following:

  • Pensioner Concession Card

  • Commonwealth Seniors Health Card

  • Veteran Gold Card

  • Veteran Service Pension

  • Veteran Income Support Supplement

  • Veteran Compensation payments, including lump sum payments

  • War Widow(er) Pension.

You will only get either the one-off $750 payment or the fortnightly $550 payments: you won’t get both.

Recipients won’t need to do anything to access this payment, either.

“If you are eligible … from March 13 to April 13, you will automatically receive the first $750 stimulus payment,” Services Australia general manager Hank Jongen said on ABC News this morning.

“The payments will be made from March 31 through to April 17. You don't need to contact us. It's automatic.”

Here’s more information from Services Australia on the $750 payment.

Second $750 boost

If you’re concerned that the one-off boost isn’t enough, you might get another.

“If you’re not eligible for the Coronavirus Supplement you may get a second $750 Economic Support Payment. We’ll pay this from 13 July 2020,” Services Australia stated on Sunday.

“You may get it if you were eligible on 10 July 2020 for any payments or concession cards that were eligible for the first Economic Support Payment. You won’t get this payment if you’re getting the Coronavirus Supplement.”

Do I need to call or line up at Centrelink?

Jongen advised that there was actually no need to phone or have a face-to-face meeting with Centrelink staff.

“Current customers who have been concerned about when they receive the first stimulus payment have actually been also clogging up our queues and our phone lines. It's important for current customers to understand – this process is automatic,” he said.

Either you will receive the payments automatically or you need to log into myGov to register your intention to claim.

If you’re eligible, the payment will be backdated to this Monday, meaning you won’t miss out if you register your intention later than someone else.

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