Federal Treasurer, Mr Josh Frydenberg, handed down the 2020/ 21 Federal Budget at 7:30 pm (AEDT) on Tuesday, 6 October 2020.
Australia’s economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the form of the original and extended JobKeeper scheme, the cash flow boosts, and the enhanced JobSeeker payment has come at a significant cost, Mr Frydenberg said, resulting in a budget deficit of $213.7b, falling to $66.9b by 2023/ 24.
The full Budget papers are available at www.budget.gov.au and the Treasury ministers’ media releases are available at ministers.treasury.gov.au.
The social security highlights are set out below.
Further economic support payments
Two separate $250 economic support payments will be provided to eligible recipients. The first payment will be made from November 2020 and the second from early 2021.
Payments will be made to eligible recipients of the following benefits and health care card holders:
• Age Pension
• Disability Support Pension
• Carer Payment
• Family Tax Benefit, including Double Orphan Pension (not in receipt of a primary income support payment)
• Carer Allowance (not in receipt of a primary income support payment)
• Pensioner Concession Card holders (not in receipt of a primary income support payment)
• Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders
• eligible Veterans’ Affairs payment recipients and concession card holders.
The payments will be exempt from tax and will not count as income support for the purposes of any income support payment.
Pandemic leave disaster payment
A one-off payment of $1,500 will be made to eligible workers in states that have agreed to partner with the Commonwealth under the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment arrangements. The payment will assist eligible individuals who are unable to work and earn income while under a direction to self-isolate, quarantine or who are caring for someone who has tested positive to COVID-19.
Source: Budget Paper No 2, pp 107, 151–152.
Youth Allowance and ABSTUDY independence test
The independence test for Youth Allowance and ABSTUDY will be temporarily revised from 1 January 2021. Under the exemption, the six-month period between 25 March 2020 and 24 September 2020 will automatically be recognised as contributing to an applicant’s independence test, regardless of whether they meet employment requirements.
Encouraging young Australians to undertake seasonal work
Young people who are seeking to qualify as independent for the purposes of assessing Youth Allowance (student) and ABSTUDY payment eligibility will be provided with incentives to participate in seasonal work in the agricultural industry.
From 1 December 2020, those who earn at least $15,000 in the agricultural industry between 30 November 2020 and 31 December 2021 would be automatically assessed as meeting independence requirements, provided their parents meet current parenting income test requirements.
Veterans’ disability pensions
Veterans’ disability pensions will be exempt from the income test for Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) and income support payments. This will result in more veterans becoming eligible for CRA and remove the need for the Defence Force Income Support Allowance.
Source: Budget Paper No 2, pp 152, 155, 168.
Disclaimer: This article contains general information only and is not intended to constitute financial product advice. Any information provided or conclusions made, whether express or implied, do not take into account the investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs of an investor. It should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional advice.