Who qualifies for the coronavirus cash handout?
Cash handouts will go to about six millions Australians by the end of March. Photo: Getty
It’s the question everyone is asking: Do I get Scott Morrison’s $750 coronavirus cash handout, and when will I get it?
To find out if you qualify for a slice of Scott Morrison’s $22.9 billion stimulus pie, read on.
$750 cash handouts – no need to apply for cash
About one in every four Australians will secure a $750 cash handout in their bank accounts. It will cost the budget $4.8 billion, swallowing up the entire forecast surplus.
There’s no need to apply for the cash. It will be delivered using existing welfare systems to those eligible – which is expected to be over six million Australians.
The one-off payment will be delivered into bank accounts from March 31, 2020, by Services Australia or the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. It’s expected 90 per cent of payments will be made by mid-April 2020.
To qualify for the cash, you need to already be receiving some form of welfare or pension, whether that’s the aged pension, Newstart, Austudy, disability support pension, carer’s allowance or family payments.
By targeting the cash handouts at Australia’s aged pensioners and low-income families, the government hopes recipients will spend it to boost the economy and help avoid a recession.
Parents who earn less than $130,000
For parents, the good news is that those who receive family tax benefits will secure $750.
Family tax benefits are a means-tested payment. The income test is determined by the number of children you have and whether they are teenagers or primary school students.
For example, the income test for Family Tax Benefit A is up to $130,000 if you have three teenagers.
Family tax benefit B is for single parents. You won’t be eligible for FTB Part B if your annual adjusted taxable income is more than $100,000.
Aged pension couples to get double
About half of the recipients of the $750 cash handout will be pensioners.
For couples securing the age pension, both will get $750 – so their household will receive $1500.
Again, there is no need to apply for the cash, it will be deposited automatically in bank accounts.
Commonwealth seniors’ health card-holders
If you qualify for a Commonwealth seniors health card, you will also get $750. It will also be awarded to anyone on the Veteran Service Pension; Veteran Income Support Supplement; Veteran Compensation payments, War Widow(er) Pension; and Veteran Gold Card holders.
One payment person
According to the Treasury website, “if a person qualifies for the one-off payment in multiple ways, they will only receive one payment.”
The government hopes recipients will spend the handout. Photo: AAP
For example, if you receive both Newstart and Family Tax Benefit, you are eligible for a single payment of $750.
However, if you live in a household where, for example, a father is on a disability support pension and a mother gets family tax benefits you should qualify for $1500.
The payment will be exempt from taxation and will not count as income for Social Security, Farm Household Allowance and Veteran payments.
To be eligible, you must live in Australia.
Mutual obligation requirements
The Morrison government has flagged some flexibility for Newstart recipients who cannot meet mutual obligation requirements due to isolation.
To be granted an exemption, you need to call Services Australia and can be granted a Major Personal Crisis exemption for 14 days, without having to provide evidence such as a medical certificate.
Anything beyond that will require a medical certificate.
One big change that might take some people by surprise is that the sickness allowance will close to new entrants and be replaced by the JobSeeker Payment.
According to Treasury, this does not mean that people who previously may have been eligible for Sickness Allowance will be unable to access income support.
At present, people who are aged 22 or over and under the age pension qualification age, who are unable to attend work because they have been diagnosed with the coronavirus or who are in isolation, might qualify for sickness allowance if they do not have any employer leave entitlements, such as sick leave.
Youth allowance, casual workers
According to Treasury, young people under the age of 22 who are unable to attend work because they have been diagnosed with the coronavirus or who are in isolation might qualify for the youth allowance if they do not have any employer leave entitlements, such as sick leave, and they meet general eligibility requirements in respect of residency and income and assets tests.
Students receiving the youth allowance who are in Australia but unable to attend studies due to the coronavirus will be taken to have a reasonable excuse for not meeting study activity requirements for their payments. But you need to contact Services Australia to advise of the circumstances.
For more information on the Australian Government’s Economic Response to Coronavirus visit treasury.gov.au/coronavirus.
Who qualifies for $750
To be eligible, you must live in Australia and be receiving one of the following payments or hold one of the following concession cards March 12, 2020:
- Age Pension
- Disability Support Pension
- Carer Payment
- Parenting Payment
- Wife Pension
- Widow B Pension
- ABSTUDY (Living Allowance)
- Bereavement Allowance
- Newstart Allowance
- Youth Allowance
- Partner Allowance
- Sickness Allowance
- Special Benefit
- Widow Allowance
- Family Tax Benefit, including Double Orphan Pension
- Carer Allowance
- Pensioner Concession Card holders
- Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders
- Veteran Service Pension; Veteran Income Support Supplement; Veteran Compensation payments, including lump sum payments; War Widow(er) Pension; and Veteran Payment
- Veteran Gold Card holders
- Farm Household Allowance