5th Apr 2019
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What do the changes to participation requirements mean?
Author: Ben Hocking
What do the changes to participation requirements mean?

Pamela is currently on Newstart and wants to know how the new participation requirements affect her.

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Q. Pamela
I am 63 years old and on Newstart payments. I have been told by Centrelink that I must work or volunteer for 30 hours per fortnight. If I don't work the 30 hours, my jobactive people will ask me to apply for 20 jobs per month and attend their office once a week for one hour to apply for jobs. I find that unnecessary, as I am quite capable of doing this at home on my laptop. I have just read on YourLifeChoices that anyone over 60 and on Newstart only needs 10 hours activity per fortnight to receive the payment. Can you please clarify this for me?

A. From 20 September 2018, the Government strengthened participation requirements for some people receiving an unemployment payment, including mature-aged Australians.

Under the changes, job seekers aged 55 to 59 who have been receiving an unemployment payment for less than 12 months, and who wish to avoid doing any other activities, such as a job search, need to undertake 30 hours per fortnight of volunteer or paid work, of which at least 15 hours will need to be in paid work. 

Annual activity requirements of 10 hours per fortnight have also been introduced for those aged between 60 and the Age Pension age.

From 20 September 2018, job seekers aged 60 and over, who are not already fully meeting their mutual obligation requirements through 30 hours per fortnight of voluntary and/or paid work, will have an annual activity requirement. This means they will be required to undertake 10 hours of activities per fortnight (compared to 30 or 50 for younger age groups), in addition to job searches, for six months of each year after their first 12 months on payment. The annual activity requirement can be met through any approved activity, including voluntary work.

Job seekers aged 60 and over who are already participating in 10 or more hours per fortnight of voluntary work, paid work, other approved activity or any combination of these will be able to use this activity to meet their annual activity requirements. They will have to conduct job searches as well, if their provider thinks that is appropriate (unless they are undertaking 30 hours of paid and/or voluntary work, in which case they will have no further requirements).

Are you eligible for an Age Pension? Do you know your rights? The PensionChecker™ tool has all the information you need.

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    Disclaimer: All content on YourLifeChoices website is of a general nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It has been prepared with due care but no guarantees are provided for ongoing accuracy or relevance. Before making a decision based on this information, you should consider its appropriateness in regard to your own circumstances. You should seek professional advice from a Centrelink Financial Information Services officer, financial planner, lawyer or tax agent in relation to any aspects that affect your financial and legal circumstances.





    COMMENTS

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    FEDUP
    5th Apr 2019
    11:10am
    I feel for those over 50 looking to be employed, but, in my town there are those that are aged from 15 to 25 and above that do not even look for work. I really think that if they bought back National Service, then some of those in the latter category, could find a chance to do a course in the Army, Navy or Air Force, that would get them into jobs. Then the Government of the day would save a substantial amount of money on those that do not want to work but just bludge on the system.
    patti
    5th Apr 2019
    12:18pm
    Maybe the reason some younger people are not looking for work is that there is nothing suitable for them. There are many more applicants than there are jobs for them. It can be so disheartening to spend so much time looking and applying and never hearing back from anyone. I found it hard enough when I was made redundant at 57 and gave up in the end.
    musicveg
    6th Apr 2019
    8:22pm
    If the Government pays you to join National Service to train, why not put that money into training without signing up for service?. It would be cheaper for tax payers then what they pay those who are in services surely.
    McDaddy
    5th Apr 2019
    11:46am
    The information above is incorrect. A 63 yr old does not have to look for work, they can do 30 hrs per fortnight volunteering if they wish. Don’t know where that 10 hr rule is coming from.
    Cheezil61
    5th Apr 2019
    1:54pm
    Obviously would be marginally better off with a real paying job (if that were even possible in the twilight years) if they/we gotta work the butt off for 30hrs a fortnight to earn stuff all on Newstart at 50plus years old (younger people I know on Newstart -& apparently immigrants from certain other countries don't follow these guidelines & still get paid for doing sweet f.a.). This govt does not want any of the older generation (who've worked hard & paid tax) to survive/keep heads above water, far less actually get ahead in life! And it stinks!
    musicveg
    6th Apr 2019
    8:24pm
    Yes Cheez you would be better off in a real job if you could get it then spending all that time volunteering to get the measly Newstart which is below the poverty line and hardly a living income, especially if you rent.
    Rae
    7th Apr 2019
    2:59pm
    That is one of the reasons there are not enough jobs. All the volunteers doing work for nothing.
    musicveg
    7th Apr 2019
    3:08pm
    Yes Rae, it never ceases to amaze me that there are so many volunteers doing so many hours and yet are they are all charity organizations or is the funding going to CEO's instead?
    Cowboy Jim
    5th Apr 2019
    12:27pm
    For people like Pamela the Mature Age Allowance should be brought back in. Waste of everyone's time applying for jobs that do not exist. This allowance was paid in the 90s and I think was abandoned by the Howard administration after 1996. Was a bit less than the age pension and one could earn a bit more if one was lucky enough.
    seagirl
    5th Apr 2019
    3:51pm
    Cowboy Ji... I think so to Mature Age Allowance should be back in for people like Pamela..
    McDaddy
    5th Apr 2019
    4:48pm
    Mature Age Allowance was replaced with Newstart Allowance and as Pamela is 63 years old, she DOES NOT have to look for work, she can simply do 30 hrs per fortnight volunteering and receive her payment. It's app $565/ftn max.
    McDaddy
    5th Apr 2019
    4:48pm
    Mature Age Allowance was replaced with Newstart Allowance and as Pamela is 63 years old, she DOES NOT have to look for work, she can simply do 30 hrs per fortnight volunteering and receive her payment. It's app $565/ftn max.
    GeorgeM
    5th Apr 2019
    8:38pm
    Just another example of how the Labor / Liberal Tag Team works to take turns to smash the retirees.
    Keating made women Equal to men by changing women's Pension Age from 60 to 65, and Howard then scrapped the Mature Age Allowance. Hence, Pamela has the problem.
    musicveg
    6th Apr 2019
    8:25pm
    No Government goes back in time, they make new laws and put a fancy name to it, like when unemployment benefit became Newstart and now we have ParentNext.
    hyacinth
    5th Apr 2019
    12:28pm
    I think that voluntary work is good but at the same time many of these voluntary jobs could equally be paid occupations. The government seems to rely too much on voluntary work. Does anyone know just how many volunteers there are in the country?
    Ted Wards
    5th Apr 2019
    4:31pm
    Its very hard to exactly quantify because many who volunteer don't count themselves as volunteers. For instance, parent who assist with the many sports, grandparents who look after their grandchildren and help out at school and so on. Here's the abs link on that information https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Latestproducts/4159.0Main%20Features152014

    Also there has been a law for many years that legally prohibits organisations putting volunteers in positions that should be paid. I know some may flout that law. I coordinate a community centre and get many applications a month from people who want to volunteer just because and those with centrelink requirements. We purely go on skill base. We have volunteers to assist serve meals on our in centre day, on trips and to teach seniors computing.

    There are states which literally run many services because of volunteers alone. South Australia is one example, the Flinders Medical Centre could not offer a quarter of the patient services they do without people volunteering. These are jobs like delivering books and magazines, running shops etc. The Managers are all employed.
    hyacinth
    5th Apr 2019
    12:28pm
    I think that voluntary work is good but at the same time many of these voluntary jobs could equally be paid occupations. The government seems to rely too much on voluntary work. Does anyone know just how many volunteers there are in the country?
    Cowboy Jim
    5th Apr 2019
    12:43pm
    We seem to have too many volunteers where I live - I would rather see our young people having a starting job than elderly volunteers doing all the work.
    Sundays
    5th Apr 2019
    1:40pm
    The attitude of some Volunteering organisations has changed too. Once, they appreciated your contribution but now that older unemployed are forced to participate it’s more an employer/employee relationship but no money changes hands.
    DAM
    5th Apr 2019
    12:40pm
    You better re-read the article McDaddy because at 63 y.o. the lady has to look for work as well as do 10 hours of volunteer work per fortnight. This is a fact - and a waste of time applying for positions when there are not too many employers wanting 63 y.o. women working for them. I don't mind volunteering and do so, but I do so because I want to and for the organisation of my choosing. I wont have the government insist that I volunteer to an organisation that they deem acceptable.
    DAM
    5th Apr 2019
    12:40pm
    You better re-read the article McDaddy because at 63 y.o. the lady has to look for work as well as do 10 hours of volunteer work per fortnight. This is a fact - and a waste of time applying for positions when there are not too many employers wanting 63 y.o. women working for them. I don't mind volunteering and do so, but I do so because I want to and for the organisation of my choosing. I wont have the government insist that I volunteer to an organisation that they deem acceptable.
    McDaddy
    5th Apr 2019
    12:56pm
    No thanks DAM no need to reread it. It is not a fact, the article is wrong. She can do 30 hours per fortnight voluntary work, she has no requirements to look for work.
    Cheezil61
    5th Apr 2019
    1:47pm
    What a confusing answer to a simple question! OMG I am so not looking forward to dealing with this rotten organization in a few years time (as unfortunately there will not be enough super to tide me thru til pension age or death (like so many other hard working older Aussies who seem to be the easy target always!
    McDaddy
    5th Apr 2019
    3:29pm
    That answer is confusing, it is not as difficult as it sounds.
    Alexii
    5th Apr 2019
    1:51pm
    Surely the whole idea of it is to make life even more difficult for these people.
    Hairy
    6th Apr 2019
    1:39pm
    Bring back the workcamps so all us pensioners and welfare recipients can just die off and save the goverment money for their over inflated pension scheme
    musicveg
    6th Apr 2019
    8:20pm
    There are other options, like study, if you study for those hours required you can look for work in your own time and way. Study something you are interested in then it is easy enough. There are also many free Tafe courses or exempt from payment courses, or low pay courses, which Centrelink may even be able to assist with payments. The requirement is "approved activity". Maybe even babysitting the grandkids is an option?


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