Living through a historic event such as corona virus is scary shit. Around the world, it’s going to cost people their jobs, businesses, and lives. The world hasn’t seen upheaval of this magnitude since WWII.
So for all of you who are the Boss of the House, you’re under even more pressure than usual. I certainly got comfortable being able to order my groceries online every week, which I can no longer do. Nor can I farm out any of my feral toddler’s energy to my parents over the weekend. But so far, that’s the worst of my problems!
Hey, it’s not all bad news! Here in the ‘Lucky Country’, not only have we begun to ‘flatten the curve’ with social distancing, isolation and sanitising practices (GO AUSSIE!!!), but our government and corporations have made various types of assistance available to those affected by the crisis.
Read on for the key financial assistance options available to you if Covid-19 has got ya bank balance down.
Have you been laid off since the 1st of March 2020? If you’ve been employed at your current employer at least 12 months, your employer can put you back on the books and the government will pay you $1500 per fortnight via your employer. If you were being paid more, your employer can top up your payment – making it much easier for them to keep staff. Even if you were getting paid less than that, you get $1500 per fortnight. You beauty. Employers can apply via ato.gov.au.
Doubled Jobseeker Payments
If you’ve been laid off and JobKeeper isn’t an option, the amount you can get paid while you look for work has effectively doubled. From the 27th of April, jobseekers will be eligible for a maximum base rate of $1115.70 a fortnight, excluding rent assistant and family payments, compared with a current base rate of $565.70.
Additionally, the government has raised the maximum amount an unemployed person’s partner can earn to qualify for the payment from $48,000 to $79,762. Apply for the jobseeker payment here.
Additional Child Care Subsidy
Parents, especially the ones with tiny demanding humans, have a rough time right now. No playgrounds, no playdates… if I hear Baby Shark once more I may leap out the window.
If you have kids in daycare and you have suffered loss of income due to the bastard virus, help is at hand! You may be a casual worker whose shifts have been cut, or you’re in self-isolation, or mandatory isolation due to international travel. Normal fees will still be charged by the service, however this subsidy is available for up to 13 weeks and, in most cases, cover the full cost of childcare! Check it out here.
Update: news on 2nd April is better still… from 6th April to 28th June 2020, the government is covering child care fees completely for working parents!
You can also access 62 allowable absences in the 19-20 financial year (normally 42). This means that if you decide to keep your child at home, you can stay enrolled, as well as receiving the Child Care Subsidy.
The big 4 banks (Commonwealth, NAB, ANZ, Westpac) have all stated they will provide up to 6 months mortgage freeze for those who need it. Contact your lending institution to apply for financial hardship. Just remember – they aren’t paying your mortgage for you, and you will still be required to make payments after the freeze finishes.
ScoMo said: “States and territories will be moving to put a moratorium on evictions of persons as a result of financial distress if they are unable to meet their commitments. And so there will be a moratorium on evictions for the next six months under those rental arrangements.”
The laws are yet to be passed by Parliament, but would shield those suffering financially due to coronavirus from rent arrears or eviction notices for an initial 120 days, with an extension of 90 days in exceptional circumstances.
Early Access to Super
I put this nearer the end, because dipping into your super is a last resort – keep it for your grey years!
You have the option to apply once to withdraw up to $10,000 from your super in the 19-20 financial year, citing financial hardship [SIS Reg 6.19B(2)(a), SIS Reg 6.19B(5)]. A further application for up to $10,000 can be made between 1 July 2020 – 24 September 2020 [SIS Reg 6.19B(2)(b), SIS Reg 6.19B(5)].
Apply directly to the ATO via myGov, there’s a manual option for those who can’t do it online.
Some people can still get groceries delivered, including the elderly, disabled or ill. Apply here, create a login if you don’t already have one, choose your concession card type and number if applicable.
Is your data allowance about to get a flogging, with all the working from home and Netflix?
Telstra invite you to register for a free extra 25GB of data for personal or small business post-paid mobile and mobile broadband here, to use within 30 days if you register by 19th April 2020.
AND from Thursday 19 March until 30 April 2020, Telstra personal and small business customers with home broadband plans (ADSL, nbn and cable) get unlimited data. You don’t need to do anything. The data will be provided automatically, at no extra charge.
Bonus $$ Tip
With lots of people stuck at home, it’s a good time to have a clear-out… but don’t invite the whole neighbourhood to a garage sale! List some smaller stuff which doesn’t cost too much to mail on eBay, or list bigger items on Gumtree. Just remember to keep a 2m distance from others outside the home, keep the transactions one-on-one, and sanitise whatever you’re selling if possible. Oh yeah, and cash is narsty – wash it in hot soapy water.
What’s your biggest worry during this event? What’s your favourite Netflix binge? Why do my co-workers video-call me at 2pm and act surprised when I’m still in my PJs?