Centrelink to resume assets testing

COVID-19 has wiped out many a household income.

The government, to its credit, implemented a raft of stimulus schemes to keep heads above water, but the tide is coming in, and soon, without those packages keeping people from falling below the poverty line, many will be drowning in debt.

One of those schemes is coming to an end, and thousands, including many working older Australians, will feel it in their hip pocket.

We’re talking about the assets test waiver for Centrelink payments, which is set to end on 24 September, and will create a whole set of new challenges for anyone depending on those payments.

The government temporarily removed assets testing on a number of payments earlier this year, including JobSeeker, parenting, Austudy, Youth Allowance and ABSTUDY payments.

However, all these payments – except JobKeeper – will have their assets tests reinstated later this month.

So, if you’re out of work, or depending on these payments right now, but have assets above the allowed limit, you’ll likely have your payments cut.

The asset limit for singles is $482,500 for non-homeowners, or $268,000 if you own a home.

The change will affect a lot of Australians, including those who own a home or have considerable assets and have found themselves out of work due to the pandemic.

The partner income test will also resume, so payments will reduce by 27 cents for every dollar your partner earns over $1165 per fortnight.

If you’re on one of these payments, you’ll have to update your details through myGov or by calling your regular payment line.

You’ll have until 24 September to tell Centrelink about any changes in your assets, so you receive the right payment, or you could be required to pay back any funds you weren’t entitled to. So, make sure you’ve got your assets in order.

The government has also announced the new rules for JobKeeper payments, starting from 28 September.

The new rules, announced on Tuesday, gave businesses a two-tiered payment rate, ending in March 2021.

The first extension period runs from 28 September to 3 January 2021 and applies to employees who worked for 80 hours or more in the 28-day period before either 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020.

They’ll receive $1200 per fortnight, while all other employees will receive $750.

For the second period running from 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021, the rate will drop to $1000 per fortnight and $650 per fortnight, respectively.

Have you been informed of the assets test waiver being reinstated?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Publisher of YourLifeChoices – Australia's most-trusted and longest-running retirement website. A trusted voice on Australia's retirement landscape, including retirement income and planning, government entitlements, lifestyle and news and information relevant to Australians over 50. Leon has worked in publishing for more than 25 years and is also a travel writer and editor, graphic designer and photographer.

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