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Medical students and Government Coronavirus Stimulus Packages

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Every mode of communication we own is currently full of information about COVID-19 and the effects it’s having on our society. The effect it has had on our economy and financial strain it has put on many across the globe and their families is nothing short of devastating emotionally, and financially. To mitigate some of the financial stresses, the Australian government has implemented strategies and have introduced – and continue to do so – numerous packages over the past couple of weeks. As medical students, many of you may have lost your side jobs you were relying on to put you through med school or had your hours drastically decreased, with financial pressure to simply live your everyday lives. There is a lot of noise out there, with constant updates, so the team at DPM has put together a guide (up-to-date as of 06/04/2020) that summarises the Government Coronavirus Stimulus Packages all for you, from what you may have access to, to what is required to access it.

Income support for individuals

As part of the Government Stimulus Package, they have introduced a Coronavirus supplement payment of $550 per fortnight. The supplement will be paid to existing and new recipients over the next 6 months providing you meet certain criteria.

The income support payment categories eligible to receive the Coronavirus supplement are:

  • Jobseeker Payments,
  • Youth Allowance,
  • Aus Study,
  • Parenting Payment (Partnered or Single), or
  • ABSTUDY (Living Allowance).

The government has also implemented strategies in order to quicken payments to individuals by reducing asset testing and have expanded access to the supplement to anyone who may have lost employment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Everyone has been advised that the fastest way to process a claim is online. Please note that if you need a Customer Reference Number (CRN), you will need to call 132 307 and choose option 2.

The Coronavirus supplement is set to commence 27 April 2020.

Payments to Support Households

In addition to the Coronavirus supplement, an economic support payment of $750 will be paid to anyone who receives any of the following:

  • Carer Payment,
  • Parenting Payment,
  • Wife Pension,
  • Widow B Pension,
  • ABSTUDY (Living Allowance),
  • Austudy,
  • Bereavement Allowance,
  • Newstart Allowance,
  • Youth Allowance,
  • Partner Allowance,
  • Sickness Allowance,
  • Special Benefit,
  • Widow Allowance,
  • Family Tax Benefit, including Double Orphan Pension, or
  • Carer Allowance.

Some of the above are unlikely to apply to you but could be relevant to family members and friends. Along with these:

  • 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;
  • Age Pension, or
  • Disability Support Pension.

To get this payment you will not have to do anything other than have your current bank details up-to-date. The payments should start to appear in your bank accounts from 31 March 2020.

A second payment of $750 will be made in July if you don’t receive the Coronavirus supplement payments.

Early Access to superannuation

The Government announced that temporary early access of up to $10,000 can be released from your superannuation for those directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Your superannuation is a retirement fund and the Government has recognised that people will benefit by being able to access these funds earlier rather than waiting until they retire.

You may be eligible to apply for this release twice which is before 1 July 2020 and another $10,000 could be possible from 1 July 2020, up to 24 September 2020.

If you choose to withdraw funds, you can do so by accessing your MyGov account from 20 April 2020.

To be eligible for the early release of Super you must satisfy one or more of the following conditions:

  • You are unemployed,
  • You are eligible to receive a job seeker payment, youth allowance for jobseekers or parenting payment,
  • You were made redundant,
  • Your working hours were reduced by 20% or more, or
  • If you are a sole trader – your business was suspended or there was a reduction in your turnover of 20% or more.

Tax will not need to be paid on amounts drawn out should you meet the above criteria.

JobKeeper Payments

Announced 30 March 2020, the JobKeeper Payment Package is the biggest financial package given by any Australian Government in history. It has been designed for employers to keep employees in their jobs and prevent the country from entering an economic crisis.

If the Coronavirus pandemic has made you subsequently lose your job or experience a decrease in work whether you were a full-time, part-time or casual worker, then it would be recommended to get in touch with your [former] employer.

The package works in such a way that businesses who have been directly financially impacted will be paid $1,500 per fortnight to contribute to the wages of their employees, giving more chances for those employees to keep their jobs throughout this crisis. This will help business return back to normal when all this is over and we are all able to get back to our normal lives.

For more information on this, please read the treasury fact sheet here.

As the Government announces more packages, we will continue to endeavour to keep you all updated and should you have any queries, please feel free to email grad@www.dpm.com.au.

DPM is here to assist in any way possible during this time. Our services are always free for medical students, but now more than ever you may want to take advantage of this offer to make sense of all this.

Stay positive, and we look forward to hearing from you soon.

Disclaimer: * The information contained in this site is general and is not intended to serve as advice. DPM Financial Services Group recommends you obtain advice concerning specific matters before making a decision.

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