Information for New Zealanders in Australia
If you find yourself unemployed and:
- have been living in Australia for 10 consecutive years (which can include leaving for holidays and alike);
- have not accessed the one off 6 month benefit payment before now;
- you meet the rest of the JobSeeker Allowance criteria (it is income tested if you have a partner still working)
Non-protected Special Category Visa holders (New Zealanders that came after 26 February 2001) can apply to Centrelink for a Jobseeker Allowance ONCE for a maximum of 6 months. It is income tested, so partner’s income will be taken into account.
Some superannuation schemes will require confirmation you do not qualify for Centrelink in order to apply for early release (see superannuation information below).
The best way to start the process is over the phone by ringing 132 850. You need to have the following ID on hand:
- birth certificate
- bank card
- drivers license
They will then give you a linking code and you can then create a MyGov account (if you haven't already got one) and make your application online - at home. Fact sheet here.
Getting back to New Zealand
- The International Organisation for Migration is affiliated to the Department of Home Affairs and one of their services is to help those that are in Australia on temporary visas who now find themselves in crisis and needing to voluntarily get back to their country of origin. They can pay for passports and flights. They can also help in crisis on a case by case basis ie; accommodation
- Assisted Returns Program, much like IOM, can pay for passports and flights to get people voluntarily back to their country of origin.
Employers impacted by the coronavirus will be able to access a wage subsidy from the government to continue paying their employees.
Employees will receive a notification from their employer that they are receiving the JobKeeper Payment. Most employees will not need to do anything further.
Income support payments for individuals and households
Income support fact sheets
The Australian Government is providing financial assistance to Australians. This assistance includes income support payments, payments to support households and temporary early releases of superannuation. The following fact sheets provide more information about each of the payments.
Income support for individuals - eligibility information about income support payments and the Coronavirus supplement to be paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight.
Payment to support households - information about the two separate $750 payments to social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders.
Early access to superannuation - individuals affected by coronavirus can access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21.
- Providing support to retirees - information about how retirees can manage the impact of volatility in financial markets on their retirement savings by temporarily reducing superannuation minimum drawdown requirements.
Please note: If you already receive Newstart or another payment, you do not need to contact Centrelink to get the extra support announced. The extra payment will come through automatically.
The government is providing two separate $750 payments to social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders.
Over the next six months, the government is temporarily expanding eligibility for income support payments and establishing a coronavirus supplement of $550 per fortnight. This will be paid to existing and new recipients of JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance Jobseeker, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit.
How do I receive an income support payment?
Information for people already getting a payment
You don't need to do anything - you do not need to contact Centrelink.
The payments will happen as part of your usual payments. This includes the two lump sum $750 Economic Support Payments to support households and the $550 additional coronavirus supplement.
First lump sum payment - Centrelink will pay you $750 from 31 March 2020 if you're getting an eligible payment on any day between 12 March to 13 April 2020.
To be eligible for the first payment, you must be residing in Australia and getting one of the payments or hold one of the concession cards on the list here.
If you're a Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Cardholder, you'll need to make sure Centrelink have your bank account details, which you can update through MyGov.
Second lump sum payment - Centrelink will pay the second $750 Economic Support Payment from 13 July 2020.
If you're not eligible for the Coronavirus Supplement, you may get the second $750 payment.
To be eligible, you must be in Australia and on 10 July 2020, getting one of the payments or holding one of the concession cards from the list here.
Coronavirus Supplement - From 27 April 2020, you will be paid a temporary fortnightly $550 Coronavirus Supplement if you are getting one of the following payments:
- JobSeeker Payment (Newstart)
- Youth Allowance
- Parenting Payment
- Farm Household Allowance
- Special Benefit
- ABSTUDY (living allowance)
If you already receive Newstart or another payment, you do not need to contact Centrelink to get the extra support announced. The extra payment will come through automatically.
Information for people not currently on income support
Have you ever received income support?
You may already have a Centrelink Customer Reference Number (CRN). This may be from when you got student or family payments or even from when your parents received benefits for you. CRNs don't change. If you have previously had a CRN, you can use that number to go online to make a claim. Please take the time to look for your CRN - it will help you claim quickly. Your CRN may be listed on old bank statements, letters or documents from your educational institute.
If you've never received income support or can't find your CRN
There are three things you need to as a priority:
1. MyGov - Create a MyGov account at my.gov.au - it's quick and easy to do. You'll need an email address, mobile phone number and answer some basic questions. Once you've created your account, link it to a government service, like Medicare or the Australian Taxation Office. Once you do this, you'll get a prompt to register your intention to claim a Centrelink payment.
2. Register your intention to claim a Centrelink payment - this simple process will let you give basic details so Australian Services can contact you later to help you with your claim. It's important you complete this process and give correct details. This process also enables them to backdate your payment if your claim is successful.
3. You'll need a CRN - the easiest way to do this is to wait until Australian Services contact you after you have registered your intention to claim. You can also call 132 850 and answer some simple questions about your identity to get your CRN. You'll need to have your passport, driver's licence and birth certificate details.
Once you have completed these steps and set up your online account, you can start your claim for an income support payment. You'll need supporting documents (including your CRN).
Due to a large number of claims, it will take time for Centrelink to contact you. Remember, your payment will be backdated if you registered your intention to claim a payment.
Accessing Services Australia
In line with current advice, there's a reduction in the number of people in service centres to maintain social distancing practices for the health and safety of customers and staff.
If you choose to come to a service centre, it's likely you'll experience a delay. If you're waiting in a queue, you must practice social distancing.
The JobSeeker line is 132 850
The JobSeeker line has extended hours of operation from 8:00am to 8:00pm local time on weekdays and 9:00am to 5:00pm local time on weekends.
You can find more information on how to claim here.
Job Seekers (Newstart) mutual obligations
Mutual obligations have been temporarily suspended. Find out more here.
You will need to call Services Australia on your regular payment line.
For job seekers, more details can be found here.
Basic Rights Queensland can also provide free information, advocacy and legal services on Social Security (Centrelink and Employment Services) - call them on 07 3847 5532 or free call on 1800 358 511.
People with disability
If you receive a disability payment from Services Australia, there are no changes to your payment due to COVID-19.
Many people with disabilities are likely to be concerned about coming into a service centre. They are advised to use Services Australia's online services, including the people with disability phone line.
For more information, please visit the People with disability - coronavirus (COVID-19) page.
Find out more about new measures to support NDIS participants and providers through COVID-19 on our FAQs page.
Support for apprentices and trainees
The Australian Government is supporting small businesses to retain their apprentices and trainees. Find out more here.
Cash flow assistance for businesses
This fact sheet from the Australian Government details how they will be supporting small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Small business support from the Queensland Government
The Queensland Government has announced a range of initiatives to support businesses. Find out more here.