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COVID-19 and Centrelink benefits - further information


Centrelink benefits available during coronavirus

Many more Australians are moving onto Centrelink benefits due to the coronavirus disruptions. In line with the financial assistance outlined in our article “COVID-19 (Coronavirus) financial help for individuals”, here are some further details about Centrelink eligibility.

Centrelink coronavirus supplement

In addition to some Centrelink payments/allowances, you can get a $550 per fortnight supplement.

This could be double the current payment you get.

The supplement is payable from 27 April 2020 for a period of 6 months.

It is possible it may be extended

The payment is still subject to the Centrelink income test but not the assets test.

The supplement is payable on top of:

  • Jobseeker (Newstart) payments
  • Youth allowances
  • Parenting allowances
  • Farm household allowance
  • Special benefits
  • Youth allowance for students
  • Austudy for students
  • ABSTUDY for students

This supplement is automatically applied to your welfare payment for six months from 27 April 2020.

Are you still entitled to JobSeeker payments if you were “stood down”?

We have seen some confusion about whether you have to be “unemployed” to be entitled to the JobSeeker payment. That is, if you’re still “on the books” but not getting paid because there is no work, can you still claim the JobSeeker payment?

The answer is if you’ve been stood down, you ARE entitled to apply for the JobSeeker payment even if you’re technically still employed.

Under the Social Security Guides, a person who is on unpaid leave can be considered unemployed if they are not able to resume their employment and they are willing to look for suitable work. 

So, if you’re unemployed or you’ve been stood down you should notify Centrelink of your intention to claim the JobSeeker payment as soon as possible.

Disability Support Pension (DSP)

The supplement is NOT payable to pensioners; e.g. the Disability Support Pension (DSP).

For the 6 months of the coronavirus supplement, people on DSP’s will be approximately $100 per week worse off than those on Jobseeker payments with the supplement.

If you apply for a DSP & you win, you could get back paid the difference between the DSP & the Jobseeker allowance (about $350 per fortnight).

However, if you were also paid the supplement, you could potentially owe Centrelink money.

If you are on a DSP or applying for DSP, get advice about your options.  Call us.

Melbourne:  03 9448 8048
Brisbane:  03 9448 8048
Anywhere else in Australia:  03 9448 8048

Applying for Centrelink benefits

To apply for Centrelink benefits you can now lodge a Notice of Intent to claim online.

Log onto your MyGov account and click the ‘Intent to Claim’ button.

Centrelink will then contact you for any further information to enable them to process the claim; e.g. proof of income etc.

If successful, you will get payments backdated to when you lodged the notice.


Contact Berrill & Watson for FREE advice


Melbourne: 03 9448 8048

Brisbane: 07 3013 4300

Anywhere else in Australia:  03 9448 8048


[email protected]

Looking for advice on other super and insurance matters during COVID?

We provide free advice for all types of queries.

Visit “Coronavirus – Berrill & Watson support” for more details.

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