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What is the JobSeeker Payment?

The JobSeeker Payment is the primary form of government-issued income support for individuals who do not hold active, full-time positions of employment.

All JobSeeker Payments are administered by Services Australia (formerly, the Department of Human Services) on a fortnightly basis.

JobSeeker Payment vs. JobKeeper Payment:

The JobSeeker Payment is primarily designed to support those who are unemployed and searching for full-time work, as well as those who are sick or injured and thus, unable to fulfill their work or study obligations in the short term.

The JobKeeper Payment, by contrast, was a wage subsidy intended to help employers whose businesses were significantly affected by coronavirus retain their staff. However, it was also accessible to non-employing individuals whose turnover had shrunken due to COVID-19.

Eligibility for the JobSeeker Payment:

To receive JobSeeker Payments, applicants need to:

In addition to the aforementioned criteria, applicants will need to be:

  • unemployed or not in full-time work, and looking for work, or
  • injured or sick and thus, unable to fulfill their usual work or study obligations for a short period of time.

Those who are accessing benefits such as annual and/or sick leave, or Income Protection Insurance, are ineligible for the JobSeeker Payment.

The tables below reflect the income and asset limits alluded to earlier.

JobSeeker Payment Income Limits:

Circumstance

Biweekly Income Cutoff

Single individual, no children

A$1,217.00

Single individual who is the principal caregiver of their dependent child(ren) younger than 16

A$1,306.34

Single individual who is the principal caregiver of their dependent child(ren) younger than 16 and is exempt from mutual obligations

A$2,321.00

Single individual who is not the principal caregiver of their dependent child(ren) younger than 16

A$1,296.00

Single individual over 60 years who has received payments for 9 consecutive months

A$1,306.34

Partnered individual whose spouse doesn't receive a pension

A$1,123.17 (own income)

Partnered individual with an income of less than A$150.00 and whose spouse doesn't receive a pension

A$2,079.50 (partner's income)

Partnered individual whose spouse receives a pension

A$2,246.34 (combined income)

JobSeeker Payment Asset Limits:

Circumstance

Homeowners

Non-Homeowners

Single individual

A$270,500.00

A$487,000.00

Couple

A$405,000 (combined total)

A$621,500 (combined total)

One eligible partner

A$405,000 (combined total)

A$621,500 (combined total)

JobSeeker Payment Amounts:

The size of each payment is contingent on various factors, including recipients' familial structure and amount of income earned over the past fortnight.

The table below is a guide only to the maximum biweekly payments individuals may qualify for. Visit servicesaustralia.gov.au to learn how income affects the size of each payout.

The Coronavirus Supplement, which was temporarily instituted from April 2020, ended on March 31, 2021.

JobSeeker Payment Rates:

Circumstance

Maximum Biweekly Payment from April 1, 2021

Single individual, no children

A$620.80

Single individual, with dependent child(ren)

A$667.50

Single individual over 60 years who has received payments for 9 consecutive months

A$667.50

Partnered individual

A$565.40

Single principal carer without mutual obligations*

A$850.20

*Due to any of these reasons: foster carer; non-parent relative delivering care under a court order; member of a large family; distance learner; provider of homeschooling.

Accessing the JobSeeker Payment:

Services Australia suggests that applicants submit their JobSeeker Payment claims online. Here's how to do so:

  • Create a myGov account, if needed. Services Australia has a step-by-step guide on how to do this.
  • Link your myGov account to Centrelink if you have not done so already. To do this, sign in to myGov, click either "Link your first service" or "Services," select "Centrelink," and then follow the prompts.
  • Sign in to your myGov account.
  • Select "Centrelink."
  • Click "Get Started" in the category titled "Looking for work."
  • Answer some pre-claim questions to determine your eligibility for the payment.
  • Start your claim.
  • Answer the questions presented to you.
  • Read through your claim and submit it when you're ready.

Note that applicants may be required to submit supporting documents or visit a local service center to complete their claim.

Those who cannot or do not want to claim online can call the Job Seekers line or visit a nearby service center to receive assistance.

Mutual Obligations:

Recipients of the JobSeeker Payment must complete various tasks and activities assigned to them to remain eligible for continued support. These are referred to as mutual obligations. Mutual obligations have been temporarily suspended in areas with lockdown restrictions.

Mutual Obligation Requirements:

  • Fill in the Job Seeker Snapshot form.
  • Sign a Job Plan.
  • Honor all appointments with their employment services provider, whether online or telephonic.
  • Complete the tasks on their online employment services dashboard in instances where they don't have an employment services provider.
  • Complete all other tasks outlined in their Job Plan when it is safe to do so. This includes searching for work.
  • Accept opportunities to conduct suitable, gainful work.

Individuals must submit an income report on a biweekly basis or as otherwise directed. Pertinent changes to an individual's circumstances must be reported within 14 days.

Note that principal carers, individuals aged 55 and older, and individuals in the Community Development Program may have different mutual obligations. Individuals who are classed in these categories should check Services Australia's website on a regular basis.

Also, note that Services Australia grants exemptions from mutual obligations in exceptional circumstances. Examples include crises such as the loss of a loved one, domestic violence, or becoming homeless; disasters at home, such as a fire or flood; sickness or injury; and short-term caring responsibilities. Exemptions can be requested telephonically.

As highlighted, guidelines related to the JobSeeker Payment have been undergoing regular change. Recipients and other interested individuals should look out for updates online.

What is the JobKeeper Payment?

The JobKeeper Payment was a temporary governmental intervention designed to help businesses weather the effects of COVID-19. It entailed biweekly wage subsidies worth A$1,500 (before tax) per eligible individual. These were intended to help businesses retain their staff and remain viable.

Businesses with employees could claim these payments on behalf of their workers. Those without staff, such as the self-employed, were also able to access this form of assistance. The JobKeeper Payment was treated as "regular" income, meaning that employers had to withhold income tax on behalf of their employees, as usual.

JobKeeper Payments stopped on March 28, 2021.

FAQs:

How much do you get on JobSeeker Payment?

Successful applicants may receive a maximum fortnightly payment ranging from A$565.40 to A$850.20 from April 1, 2021. The precise amount is contingent on individual factors such as familial structure and the amount of income earned during the preceding fortnight.

Can you get JobKeeper and JobSeeker?

If the JobKeeper Payments are received by an individual were below the relevant income and asset thresholds, they may have been eligible for the JobSeeker Payment as well. However, JobKeeper Payment was stopped as of March 20, 2021.

Is the JobSeeker Payment means-tested?

Yes. There are income caps that vary depending on family circumstances.

How do I claim JobSeeker?

You can apply online, telephonically, or at a nearby service center. Services Australia recommends that eligible applicants submit their claims online, where feasible. Successful individuals will receive the JobSeeker Payment via bank transfer every fortnight.

What other support is available to recipients of the JobSeeker Payments?

Those who receive the JobSeeker Payment may also be eligible for other government support, including Rent Assistance and the Energy Supplement. Interested parties should contact Services Australia for further information about these interventions, as well as others for which they could be eligible.

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