To help combat the economic and financial pressures of the global Covid-19 pandemic, the federal government has announced a number of initiatives for individuals and businesses. While as real estate agents, we are unable to give you financial advice, we can help make you aware of the current incentives available to Australian and where to find further information.
Freeze of mortgage repayments
Many banks are now allowing customers to freeze their mortgage repayments for up to six months. All lenders have hardship teams who are able to help customers decide what option is best for them in their current financial position. So, contact your bank to discuss your options. You may be able change the terms of your loan, or temporarily pause or reduce your repayments.
The JobKeeper Payment will help businesses keep their employees in jobs so they can earn an income, even if their hours need to be cut. Eligible businesses are able to access $1,500 a fortnight for up to six months to keep paying eligible employees. The JobKeeper Payment is also available to people who are self-employed. For more information on the government’s $130 billion JobKeeper payment scheme, visit the Treasury website.
Individual income support
The government has also expanded eligibility to income support payments for the next six months. This includes a newly established and time-limited Coronavirus supplement of $550 per fortnight. This will be paid to both existing and new recipients of the JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance Jobseeker, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit payments. The Treasury’s fact sheet provides more information on who is eligible for the income support payment and how to claim the payment.
The government will also provide two separate $750 payments to social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders. The first payment will be made from March 31 and the second payment will be made from July 13. The second payment will not be made to those eligible for the Coronavirus supplement. The Treasury’s fact sheet outlines who is eligible and how to attain the household support payment.
Early access to superannuation
From April 20, some Australians will be able to apply to access up to $10,000 of their super in 2019-20 and another $10,000 in 2020-21. If you meet the requirements, you won’t pay tax on the super you withdraw and it won’t affect your Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments. If you’re a first home buyer, you may be able to access super contributions under the First Home Super Saver Scheme. The scheme allows you to make voluntary super contributions which you can then apply to access to buy your first home. For more information on the first home buyers scheme, visit the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website.
Free financial counselling
While we can’t give you financial advice, financial counselling is a free and confidential service offered by community organisations, community legal centres and some government agencies. Financial counselors are skilled professionals who can help you manage the bills or fines you’re struggling to pay, gas, electricity or phone disconnection and tax debts. It’s important to remember that financial counselors do not offer legal advice. For a list of free financial counselors, visit the Money Smart website.
We understand that this time is financially stressful for many Australians. For more information on what incentives you may be eligible for and may benefit from, please visit the Money Smart website.
The information provided here is general in nature. You should consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice to check how the website information relates to your unique circumstances.