From tomorrow, approximately 6.5 million Australians will find themselves $750 richer as the government desperately tries to stimulate an economy crippled by the coronavirus pandemic.
The one-off payment is a component of a package designed to support the nation’s most vulnerable citizens, and the government intends for it to be spent widely in the community.
It’s called an “Economic Support Payment”, and here’s what you need to know.
1. When does the Centrelink money arrive in my account?
If you’ve been living in Australia and receiving an eligible Centrelink Payment between March 12 and April 13, the $750 from Centrelink will arrive starting from tomorrow, March 31.
The government estimated that most will be seeing it in their bank accounts by April 17 this year.
2. Do I need to contact Centrelink?
If you have already been receiving an eligible payment, then you don’t need to do anything – Centrelink will pay you automatically.
3. Who is eligible for the $750 payment?
Essentially, most people who already receive support from Centrelink will receive the payment.
This includes a long list of payments, which includes:
- Age Pension
- Disability Support Pension
- Carer Payment
- Carer Allowance
- Parenting Payment
- Wife Pension
- Widow B Pension
- ABSTUDY (Living Allowance)
- Bereavement Allowance
- Newstart Allowance
- JobSeeker Payment
- Youth Allowance
- Partner Allowance
- Sickness Allowance
- Special Benefit
- Widow Allowance
- Farm Household Allowance
- Family Tax Benefit A
- Family Tax Benefit B
- Double Orphan Pension.
Additionally, if you hold a pensioner concession card, a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card or a veteran Gold card, you will receive the payment.
4. What if I qualify for a number of those payments? Will I receive double or triple the payments?
No. You’ll only receive one payment even if you qualify across a number of benefits.
5. What if my payment doesn’t arrive?
The government expects most people to be paid by April 17 this year. To ensure there is no mix-up, Centrelink is also encouraging users to log on to their online account and ensure their bank account details are correct.
6. Will I be taxed on this payment?
No. This $750 payment is exempt from tax, which also means it won’t be counted as your income for social security or family tax benefit payments.
Centrelink has also stated they will not use the payment to pay off an existing Centrelink or Child Support debt.
7. I’ve never received a payment from Centrelink. How do I know if I’m eligible for unemployment benefits?
The fast-moving pace of government restrictions has suddenly left thousands of Australians jobless, many of whom have never been through the Centrelink system.
If you’ve lost your job or income has reduced due to coronavirus, you may be eligible for a youth allowance payment (if you’re 21 or younger), you may be able to claim an ongoing JobSeeker Payment (if you’re between 22 and the aged pension) or you may be able to claim a parenting payment if you’re the main carer for a young child.
The best place to start is to register your intention to claim a Centrelink payment, which can be done completely online – you do not need to call or visit a service centre in person.
8. In that case what is a CRN? Do you have to line up to get one if you’ve never been with Centrelink before?
A CRN is a Centrelink Customer Reference Number, which acts like your own personal registration code for receiving support payments.
To get a CRN, Centrelink needs to be able to prove your identity, which they can do over the phone.
For most people, this will be via their 132 850 phone number.