What Government benefits are available during the COVID-19 period?

Apr 17, 2020

With benefits available during the COVID-19 period constantly changing, we have summarised the benefits available to ensure you haven't missed any assistance.

JOBKEEPER

JobKeeper entitles employers to $1,500 per month for each eligible employee and an eligible business participant where turnover has dropped by the required amount compared to a specific period. Employees need to be paid at least $1,500 each fortnight which employers are later reimbursed. Payment of the first two fortnights (ending 12th April and 26th April) are due to be paid by the 8th of May with all following fortnights due before the end of the relevant fortnight commencing with the fortnight ending the 10th of May. As well as making payment, employers also need to register, have declarations signed by all eligible employees and lodge monthly turnover declarations. For more information read our previous article here

SOUTH AUSTRALIAN EMERGENCY CASH GRANT

Most South Australian employers who are eligible for JobKeeper are also eligible for a $10,000 grant from the South Australian Government. Applications need to be made by the 1st of June. For more information read our previous article here. Other states have similar grants but generally eligibility requires a greater drop in turnover than the South Australian grant.

CASH FLOW BOOST

The Cash flow boost is a rebate of PAYG Withholding reported in Business Activity Statements from March to June. The minimum boost is $20,000 and the maximum amount is $100,000. The cash flow boost is paid automatically to eligible entities. You do not need to take any further action unless you have not been paid the boost after lodging your March BAS. In these cases you may still be eligible and need to apply for discretion. For more information read our previous article here

JOBSEEKER

Where you are not eligible for JobKeeper, you may be eligible for JobSeeker (previously known as Newstart). JobSeeker can pay eligible people up to around $1,100. Your fortnightly income generally needs to be below around $1,100 to be eligible and the amount you receive is income tested. If you are eligible for even a small amount of JobKeeper you will receive at least $550 being the supplement that was added to the scheme for the COVID-19 period. Other changes have been made including the removal of the assets test for eligibility and increasing the amount your partner can earn while allowing a person to be eligible to approximately $80,000 pa.

RENT RELIEF

While there is no Federal Government relief for Landlords or Tenants, there has been a mandatory code of conduct announced for Commercial tenancies. This requires that where a tenant is eligible, rent relief must be provided in proportion to their drop in turnover. At least half of the relief needs to be a rent waiver with the remainder a rent deferral. For more information read our previous article here. Most states have also announced Land Tax relief of 25%. In South Australia you must apply for land tax relief by the 30th of June. You can read further on this here. Land Tax deferrals are also generally available.

BANK FINANCE

Availability of bank financing has been extended with banks offering unsecured loans of up to $250,000 repayable over three years. These loans are guaranteed up to 50% by the Government. Many banks are also offering automatic extensions to overdraft facilities and loan payment deferrals for up to six months.

TEMPORARY EARLY RELEASE OF SUPER

Eligible people are able to apply to withdraw up to $10,000 from their Super Fund prior to the 30th of June 2020 and a further $10,000 between July and September 2020. To be eligible you either need to be:

  • unemployed, or
  • eligible for JobSeeker, youth allowance for jobseekers or parenting payment or
  • on or after 1 January 2020:
    • you were made redundant; or
    • your working hours were reduced by 20 percent or more; or
    • if you are a sole trader, your business was suspended or there was a reduction in your turnover of 20 percent or more

FREE CHILD CARE

Most Child Care is currently free, providing a huge assistance for workers who have children who are currently attending child care or who want to hold their spot in child care ready for their child to return in the future.

PAYROLL TAX RELIEF

Most states have allowed Payroll Tax relief. In South Australia, Payroll tax has been waived for businesses with grouped Australian wages up to $4 million from April to September