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30,000 at risk of losing JobSeeker entirely on Friday

Lucy Dean
·3-min read
People queue outside of Centrelink centre during coronavirus. Social Services Minister Anne Ruston. Images: Getty
Anne Ruston has confirmed around 30,000 people face losing their JobSeeker payments in part or entirely. Images: Getty

Around 30,000 Australians will be ineligible for the JobSeeker unemployment payments from Friday once the income assets test is reintroduced, the social services minister has said.

The JobSeeker Coronavirus Supplement will reduce in value on Friday, while the income asset test will also be reintroduced, meaning the payment will be cancelled once a recipient’s assets tops $482,500 as a single non-homeowner or $268,000 as a home-owner.

JobSeeker payments stop when your assets are more than this:

Family situation

Homeowners

Non-homeowners

Single.

$268,000

$482,500

Couple combined.

$401,500

$616,000

One partner eligible, combined assets.

$401,500

$616,000

Similarly, a recipient’s JobSeeker will reduce by 27 cents for every dollar a working partner earns over $1,165 per fortnight.

At the same time, the income free area for JobSeeker eligibility will increase to $300 a fortnight, meaning recipients can earn up to $300 in other income until their payment starts to decrease.

The changes mean “somewhere in the vicinity of 30,000 people” currently receiving JobSeeker will no longer be eligible for the full payment, or will be pushed off entirely, Social Services Minister Anne Ruston told the ABC on Monday.

“We're currently still in the process of contacting people. But my understanding is that there will be somewhere in the vicinity of 30,000 people who currently have assets in excess of the threshold,” Ruston said.

“Some of them who have assets significantly higher than the thresholds that existed prior to us going into the pandemic.”

Ruston said the Government will reconsider expiring the Coronavirus Supplement at the end of year, should “elevated levels of temporary support” still be required into the new year.

However, she didn’t rule out taking JobSeeker back to its pre-Covid-19 settings, where recipients saw income support beginning at $40 a daily.

“The level of support that remains in place after this Friday, through to Christmas, and my commitment [to those] ongoing levels of temporary support will be in place so long as the pandemic demands they're there,” Ruston said.

Should young people go bush to score JobSeeker?

Pressed on suggestions that Australians should be able to carry out farm work while earning JobSeeker as a means of filling crucial staffing gaps, Ruston said she hopes the $300 income free area will encourage people to take up work.

“Hopefully that will provide a strong incentive particularly for our younger people to get out there and pick up a job in these areas that we have seen they're not able to meet the demand for employment,” she said.

“So, I think, we need to continue to move towards greater incentives into the market place to try to reward people for putting their toe back in the water, having a go, finding out if there's a job out there.

“I encourage any Australian who finds them out of work, the job on offer may be the ideal job, but give it a go, it could lead to other employment opportunities and you also may find you really quite like it.”

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