Centrelink have answered some frequently asked questions about the changes to income support as a result of COVID-19. 

I've never received income support or a payment

Centrelink advise that you need to do three things as a priority: Sign up for a MyGov account, register your intent to claim a Centrelink payment, and apply for a Customer Reference Number (CRN). For a CRN number, Centrelink advises waiting until you are contacted after registering an intent to claim to confirm your identity. 

Alternatively you can still call 132 850 to answer questions confirming your identity.

The support line at 132 850 has extended hours of operation from 8am to 8pm on weekdays and 9am to 5pm on weekends.

You will be backpaid to the date you registered an intent to claim.

Information on income support payments for people already getting a payment

If you already get a Centrelink payment, you don’t need to contact them to get additional payments. This includes the two lump sum $750 Economic Support Payments to support households and the $550 additional Coronavirus Supplement. This will happen as part of your usual payment.

Lump sum payments - One and two

They 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 following payments, or hold one of the following concession cards, at any time from 12 March 2020 to 13 April 2020:

• Age Pension
• Disability Support Pension
• Carer Payment
• Parenting Payment
• Wife Pension
• Widow B Pension
• ABSTUDY (Living Allowance)
• Austudy
• Bereavement Allowance
• Newstart Allowance
• JobSeeker Payment
• Youth Allowance
• Partner Allowance
• Sickness Allowance
• Special Benefit
• Widow Allowance
• Family Tax Benefit Part A
• Family Tax Benefit Part B
• Double Orphan Pension
• Carer Allowance
• Pensioner Concession Card (PCC) holders
• Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders
•Veteran Service Pension
• Veteran Income Support Supplement
• Veteran Compensation payments, including lump sum payments
• War Widow(er) Pension
• Veteran Payment
• DVA PCC holders
• DVA Education Scheme recipients
• Disability Pensioners at the temporary special rate
• DVA Income support pensioners at $0 rate
• Veteran Gold Card holders
• Farm Household Allowance

The second lump sum payment will be paid to the same categories from 13 July 2020.

Coronavirus Supplement payment
From 27 April 2020, you'll be paid a temporary fortnightly $550 Coronavirus Supplement if you're already getting an eligible payment. You’ll automatically get the $550 supplement each fortnight on top of your normal payment rate if you’re getting one of these payments:

• JobSeeker Payment
• Youth Allowance
• Parenting Payment
• Farm Household Allowance
• Special Benefit
• ABSTUDY (living allowance)

To access their factsheets: click here for existing customers, click here for new customers. To find out about changes to Centrelink mutual obligation requirements, click here.

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