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Coronavirus Australia: JobKeeper welfare loophole revealed

Struggling Australians may be able to keep almost all of their welfare payments even after the government scales back coronavirus subsidies.  

JobKeeper recipients could become eligible to apply for JobSeeker payments too when their payments are cut from $1,500 to $1,200 a fortnight on September 28.

This is because their earnings will fall below the $1,256 a fortnight threshold required to receive the unemployment benefit. 

Currently those on a range of benefits are eligible for the coronavirus supplement payment, which is currently $550 but will fall to $250 a fortnight. 

From the end of September, those on JobKeeper will also be able to claim the $250 JobSeeker payment meaning their total benefits will amount to $1,450. 

Treasury officials have confirmed it will be possible for Australians to dip into both pools of funding.

‘Employees receiving the JobKeeper payment may be eligible for other government assistance, including JobSeeker, subject to the eligibility requirements for those payments,’ a Treasury spokesman told the Brisbane Times.  

‘Social security recipients are required to provide up-to-date details of their income to Services Australia, and JobKeeper payments should be reported as part of this process.’ 

This is also stated clearly on the Services Australia website.

‘Even if you get the JobKeeper payment from your employer, you may still be able to claim,’ the Services Australia website said.   

The federal government announced the extension of the JobKeeper supplement until March 2021 to help struggling Australians stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.

But the welfare package is being cut on September 28 by $300 to $1,200 a fortnight for full time workers, and $750 a fortnight for part time employees working 20 hours or less.

By January 3 the payment will be slashed again to $1,000 and $650 respectively until payments cease entirely at the end of March. 

The ‘mutual obligation’ element of the welfare package will return next month.

Anyone receiving JobSeeker will need to prove they have applied for four jobs a month in order to receive their payments.

The government will also be conducting additional testing in October and January to verify if businesses will still be eligible for JobKeeper.

Only businesses who continue to experience a 30 per cent drop in turnover will be able to keep claiming the support package for their employees. 

If they can’t funding will be cut and they’ll need to start paying employees from their business earnings. 

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