If your ability to earn income has been affected by the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, you may find it difficult to navigate all of the advice. We have gathered information on assistance that may be available to you and others living with MS.
With varying degrees or self-isolation in place around Australia, businesses everywhere are adapting how they work – even closing altogether. This is affecting millions of workers, who may now need to supplement lost income.
If you don’t have work, are unable to work, are in isolation or hospitalised due to COVID-19, or the primary carer of a young child (under 8, if single or under 6, if partnered):
You may be eligible for 1 of the following payments:
- Youth Allowance
- JobSeeker Payment
- Parenting Payment
If you’re claiming Youth Allowance as a job seeker or JobSeeker Payment, Services Australia may need information about your employment situation. This includes if you’re still working but there’s a reduction in your hours or earnings.
You don’t need a Centrelink Customer Reference Number (CRN) to register your intention to claim. When they contact you, they will confirm your identity and give you a CRN.
You will have to create a myGov account if you don’t already have one, to register your intention to claim a Centrelink payment. For registrations made from 30 March 2020, if Centrelink grants your full claim, your payment will start from the date you registered your intent to claim.
The JobKeeper Payment
The Federal Government has also announced the JobKeeper Payment for employers to pass on to employees. Under the JobKeeper Payment, businesses impacted by the coronavirus will be able to access a subsidy from the Government to continue paying their employees.
Affected employers will be able to claim a fortnightly payment of $1,500 per eligible employee from 30 March 2020, for a maximum period of 6 months. You can see the proposed eligibility requirements for employees on the Federal Government’s Business Australia website.
Speak to your manager, or the most appropriate point-of-contact at your workplace, for further information on whether your employer intends to register for the payment; if you haven’t already received communication from your workplace.
If you do receive the JobKeeper Payment, it may affect your eligibility for payments from Services Australia as you must report your JobKeeper Payment as income.
If you already receive a government benefit:
If you receive the Youth Allowance, a Jobseeker Payment, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance or Special Benefits, you will receive an increase of $550 per fortnight for the next six months.
If your partner is still working, they can earn up to $1844 in a fortnight and you will be eligible for the full supplemental payment.
If you receive the Disability Support Pension (DSP), there are no current changes to your payment. You will be entitled to the increased payment amount if you receive a Sickness Allowance or Jobseekers Payment as part of your DSP payments.
If you have a chronic health condition and need to see a health professional, you can get bulk billed telehealth appointments with your GP, a specialist, an allied mental health practitioner or nurse practitioner if you require it. Confirm with your chosen service what their bulk billing process and telehealth options are.
For more information about assistance during this time, visit the Services Australia website, or read their article on the stimulus measures the Federal Government have enacted including crisis payments, as well as the $750 Coronavirus supplement payment.
If you are a business owner:
The Queensland Government has announced relief on payroll tax, rent for businesses in government owned buildings, and rebates on electricity bills for businesses that consume less then 100,000 kilowatt hours.
There are also eases on restrictions of liquor licensing laws for businesses impacted by enforced safety industry shutdowns.
Find more information and useful links on the Business Queensland website.
The JobKeeper Payment is also available to eligible employers to pass on to their employees in order to keep people in their jobs and re-start when the crisis is over.
Find out more about the announced payment, and proposed eligibility criteria for employers and employees on the Federal Government’s Business Australia website.
If you are registered for the NDIS, or in the process of obtaining a plan:
The NDIA is responding to current restrictions, and public health advice in regards to plan reviews and management, and adapting how they plan to maintain your supports during this time where providers may be affected.
Speak to your service coordinator if you have any concerns.
There is a dedicated section of the NDIS website outlining the increased support measures being implemented, as well as useful links.
You can also read the NDIA’s easy guide on their response which breaks down how you may be affected.
If you are living with MS and need more information on financial assistance in times of hardship or need more information on the MS Employment Support Service, MS Queensland’s NeuroAssist Infoline is available on 1800 177 591, or you can request a callback below.Request a callback