Coronavirus update: $1100 a fortnight for COVID-19 job seekers | 7NEWS.com.au

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Australian job seekers are set to have their payments temporarily doubled, as part of the government’s second stimulus package.

The JobSeeker Payment, formerly known as Newstart, will be paid at an additional rate of $550 per fortnight to both existing and new recipients during the coronavirus pandemic.

“The coronavirus supplement will provide an additional $550 a fortnight on top of the existing JobSeeker or Newstart payment and will be available for sole traders and casual workers who meet the income test,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said.

“This means anyone eligible for the maximum JobSeeker payment will now receive more than $1100 a fortnight, effectively doubling the JobSeeker allowance.”

The time-limited supplement will be also be given to those who receive Youth Allowance jobseeker, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit.

“Anyone who is eligible for the coronavirus supplement will receive the full rate of the supplement of $550 per fortnight,” the federal government said in a statement.

There will also be expanded access to income payments over the period of the coronavirus supplement.

Who will get the payment?

This will include those who lose their jobs during the pandemic, whether they’re full time, casual or a sole trader.

“JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance JobSeeker criteria will provide payment access for permanent employees who are stood down or lose their employment; sole traders; the self-employed; casual workers; and contract workers who meet the income tests as a result of the economic downturn due to the coronavirus,” the statement said.

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“This could also include a person required to care for someone who is affected by the coronavirus.”

Asset testing will also be waived during the period for those on the JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance Jobseeker and Parenting Payment.

“Income testing will still apply to the person’s other payments, consistent with current arrangements,” the government said.

Making a claim

Waiting times will also be reduced and there will be an accelerated claims process, with new applicants encouraged to head to online and mobile channels to make their claim.

“From April 2020, Services Australia will allow new applicants to call to verify their identity to reduce the need to visit a Services Australia office,” the statement said.

“To claim online, people who do not already deal with Services Australia will need to set up their myGov account, call to verify their identity and get a link to their Centrelink online account.”

Arrangements for those looking for work will also be more flexible during this unprecedented time.

“Jobseekers who have caring responsibilities, or who need to self-isolate, are able to seek an exemption from their mutual obligation requirements without the need for medical evidence,” the statement explained.

“Job plans will be adjusted to a default requirement of four job searches a month (or one a week) to reflect softening labour market conditions.”

Application process

The application process will be streamlined, making it simpler for people to apply as well as removing certain requirements.

These include employment separation certificates, proof of rental arrangements and verification of relationship status.

The ‘Job Seeker Classification Instrument assessment’ will also removed.

This is usually in place for those who have recently left jobs, to recognise they are job-ready.

The requirements that job seekers have to make an appointment with an employment service provider before they can be paid, is also set to be removed for the period.

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