COVID-19 Supplement Extension to 31 March 2021

The Federal Minister for Families and Social Services has registered the Social Security (Coronavirus Economic Response – 2020 Measures No 16) Determination 2020 to ensure the continued payment of the COVID-19 Supplement to 31 March 2021.

The COVID-19 Supplement will be paid to recipients of the following:

  • JobSeeker Payment;
  • Parenting Payment;
  • Youth Allowance;
  • Austudy Payment;
  • Special Benefit;
  • Partner Allowance; and
  • Widow Allowance.

It will be paid at the rate of $150 a fortnight (down from the previous $250 a fortnight) for social security instalment periods for the period 1 January 2021 to 31 March 2021. This is courtesy of the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Extension of Coronavirus Support) Act 2020.

The new determination also extends (until 16 April 2021) the period for which a person is taken to receive a social security pension or benefit at nil rate, resulting in their continued access to benefits such as concession cards.

In addition, the determination extends the following temporary social security measures to 31 March 2021:

  • waivers of the ordinary waiting period for JobSeeker Payment, Parenting Payment and Youth Allowance (Other), and the seasonal work preclusion period and the newly arrived resident’s waiting period for JobSeeker Payment, Parenting Payment, Youth Allowance, Austudy Payment and Special Benefit;
  • the exemption from the qualifying residence requirement for Parenting Payment;
  • the modifications of the social security law regarding the process to determine when a person is a “member of a couple” for the purposes of JobSeeker Payment;
  • income-free areas and taper rates for JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance (other) recipients to $300 with a 60 cent taper (except single principal carer parents, who have an income-free area of $106 and a taper of 40 cents) and the current 27 cent taper rate associated with the partner income test for JobSeeker Payment;
  • access to certain payment portability arrangements currently in place for Age Pension recipients (and certain recipients of the Disability Support Pension);
  • the power of the Secretary of the Department of Social Services to extend the Mobility Allowance two-week and 12-week qualification grace periods to 18 weeks in recognition of the continued difficulty for some people, in particular people with disability, to access the workplace and other activities.

Important: Clients should not act solely on the basis of the material contained here. Items herein are general comments only and do not constitute or convey advice per se. Also, changes in legislation may occur quickly. We, therefore, recommend that our formal advice be sought before acting in any of the areas. 

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