Monday, March 16, 2020

6.5 Million Aussies Get $750 Each As Virus Stimulus

Everyone who will get the $750 coronavirus package: The Australian government announced its $17.6 billion coronavirus stimulus package on Thursday, which includes $750 cash payments for around 6.5 million Australians.

Those Australians will receive the payment automatically from 31 March, with the majority to receive the boost by 17 April. It’s estimated to cost around $4.76 billion. The majority of the tax-exempt payments will be targeted at Australians receiving the pension, with 2.4 million pensioners set to benefit.

“Frankly, it is about a cash injection into the Australian economy, which supports small businesses and supports medium businesses,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said while announcing the measure. “That, in turn, supports the jobs, which means people can continue to participate positively in the economy and have greater confidence going forward.”

Am I eligible for the $750 coronavirus benefit? You’ll receive the payment if you receive one of these welfare payments:

Age Pension
Disability Support Pension
Carer Payment
Carer Allowance
Parenting Payment
Wife Pension
Widow B Pension
ABSTUDY (Living Allowance)
Bereavement Allowance
Newstart Allowance
Youth Allowance
Partner Allowance
Sickness Allowance
Special Benefit
Widow Allowance
Farm Household Allowance
Family Tax Benefit A
Family Tax Benefit B
Double Orphan Pension.

And if you use one of these concession cards, you’re also eligible:

Pensioner Concession Card
Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
Veteran Gold Card.

On top of that, if you are receiving any of these Department of Veterans’ Affairs payments, you’ll also receive the $750:

Veteran Service Pension
Veteran Income Support Supplement
Veteran Compensation payments, including lump sum payments
War Widow(er) Pension.

Do I get more money if I receive more than one of these benefits?  Unfortunately, even if you claim more than one benefit you will only be eligible for one of these payments.

Is it enough?  While the Coalition government said the payment would provide the necessary relief in a scalable way, Greens Senator Rachel Siewert described the payment as an “insult” and said Australians receiving Newstart and Youth Allowance need a permanent increase in payments.  

“This is an insult to all those people condemned to living below the poverty on Newstart and Youth Allowance,” Siewert said. “Any additional payment to those living in poverty will get spent but this is simply not enough.” The Australian Council of Social Services echoed Siewert, describing the payment as “welcome” but not enough.

“People are doing it really tough, especially people on Newstart and Youth Allowance – the lowest payments – and pensioners who don’t own their home. The payment will be welcome short-term relief but it’s nowhere near enough. Leading economists urged the government to increase Newstart ongoing to build consumer confidence and to guarantee that the payment would be spent into the real economy,” ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie said.

“We know that increasing Newstart by $95 per week ongoing would inject $4 billion into the economy a year and generate more than 12,000 jobs, helping to deliver the ongoing confidence business is crying out for.”