Income support options (Centrelink)

Updated 11 August 2020, 12pm


For employees who have been terminated or stood down without pay, moved from full time to casual or had their hours of work reduced and not been nominated for JobKeeper Payments.

The Government has temporarily expanded eligibility for income support payments – including JobSeeker Payment.

In addition, the Coronavirus Supplement of $550 per fortnight is available until 24 September 2020. Beyond this date, the Coronavirus Supplement will be available at $250 per fortnight until 31 December 2020.

You will be paid the Coronavirus Supplement if you receive income support under JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance , Parenting Payment (Partnered or Single), Austudy, ABSTUDY (Living Allowance), Farm Household Allowance, Special Benefit or Department of Veteran’s Affairs Education Scheme, or if you are an Eligible New Enterprise Incentive Scheme participant.

If you are already a registered recipient of JobSeeker Payment or one of the other eligible payments you will automatically receive this non-income tested supplement.

If you have recently lost your job you will need to register for income support and are encouraged to do so online or by phone (via Services Australia).


You may also be eligible for JobSeeker Payment or Youth Allowance (other) if your income has been affected and you meet any of the following criteria:

  • permanent employees who are stood down or lose their employment
  • sole traders, the self-employed, casual workers and contract workers who meet the income tests
  • eligible individuals caring for someone affected by Coronavirus.

In addition, eligibility criteria and waiting periods are currently suspended, including:

  • asset test
  • Liquid Assets Waiting Period
  • Seasonal Work Preclusion Period
  • Newly Arrived Resident’s Waiting Period

From 25 September 2020, the asset test and Liquid Assets Waiting Period will be reintroduced. The Ordinary Waiting Period, Newly Arrived Resident’s Waiting Period and Seasonal Work Preclusion Period will continue to be waived until 31 December 2020.

Next steps

If you are already registered for JobSeeker Payment or for another eligible allowance, you do not have to do anything.

If you have recently lost your income or job or had shifts reduced because of Coronavirus and need income support you will need to register and are encouraged to do so online or by phone (via Services Australia).

When registering for Jobseeker Payment or Youth Allowance (other) you must declare your identity, residency status, income and whether you have been made redundant or had hours reduced (including to zero) as a result of the Coronavirus.

Sole traders and the self-employed will need to declare that your business has been suspended or turnover is significantly reduced.

You can also claim Rent Assistance if you are renting in community housing or the private rental market.

If you are a new income support applicant you can verify your identity by phone with Services Australia and register online.

  • Set up a myGov account
  • Phone Services Australia to verify your identity
  • Get a link to a Centrelink online account.

Further information can be found through the Treasury’s website



For sole traders, self-employed and contractors

JobKeeper Payments

Support is available if you are a sole trader with legal responsibility for all aspects of your business whether you work alone or are an employer.

On 21 July, the Government announced it is extending the JobKeeper Payment until 28 March 2021 and is targeting support to those businesses and not-for-profits who continue to be significantly impacted by the Coronavirus.

Further changes were announced on 7 August 2020 to adjust the reference date for employee eligibility and make it easier for organisations to qualify for the JobKeeper Payment extension.

The existing JobKeeper Payment will remain in place until 27 September 2020 and will continue to be open for new enrolments for entities that were in operation on 1 July 2020. Additional information about eligibility for the JobKeeper Payment until 27 September 2020 is available on the ATO website.

From 28 September 2020, the JobKeeper Payment will be extended, however, payments will be targeted to eligible sole traders that have been, and continue to be, most significantly impacted by the Coronavirus. The payment will also be stepped-down and two tiers of payment will be introduced.

More detailed information is available on the Treasury’s website.

Where a sole trader or self-employed contractor is not able to claim the JobKeeper Payment, they can apply for income support such as JobSeeker and the coronavirus supplement of $550 per fortnight until 24 September 2020. Beyond this date, the coronavirus supplement will be available at $250 per fortnight until 31 December 2020.

Further information is available through Services Australia.