Updated: Mar 25
If you’re feeling a little motion sick right now, you’re not alone. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re living in an almost unrecognisable Australia where the only consistent thing is, for once, the name of our Prime Minister.
The global emergency has led to a whole host of new social security measures aimed at safeguarding the Australian economy. Scott Morrison announced these new measures earlier this week. For many students, who have been living around the poverty line for years, this could come as a bizarre silver-lining to the current global crisis.
Image: David Jackmanson
The Coronavirus Supplement is basically an extra $550 per fortnight for anybody who loses their job because of coronavirus or anybody who is already on a pension. Luckily for students, a last-minute decision was made to include anyone receiving Abstudy, Austudy and Youth Allowance payments.
Eligibility criteria will also be loosened in many cases. Even if you were unable to receive payments before because of your savings or other assets, it’s worth trying again.
Many of the bureaucratic hoops for applying have also been relaxed. So, if you have been unable to apply for your payment because you couldn’t make it into a Centrelink shop front, you can now apply over the phone and online.
To use Scomo’s language, these are “unprecedented” stimulus measures from our free-market economy loving government. ‘Stimulus’ is when the government injects large amounts of cash into various sectors of the economy in an aim to boost economic activity, particularly during a recession.
Image: Katherine Lim
But for stimulus to work, a large chunk of the money we receive needs to be spent in the local economy. So please, go ahead. Call a nearby café and see if they can deliver some avo toast. It would be a heroic act of civic duty.
In reality, it’s pretty difficult to get hold of Centrelink right now, but your payments will be back paid from the date you first made contact with Services Australia. This means you can simply fill out the online form and trust the money will arrive in your bank account eventually.
These payments will not commence until the 27th of April 2020, so there’s still around four weeks before the boost will kick in.
However, students receiving pensions will also receive two $750 payments as a one-off stimulus measure. The first will be paid automatically next Tuesday and another can be expected on the 10th of July 2020.
There is no doubt this stimulus package will have a big impact on the bottom line for students across the country.