Coronavirus fact sheet for employees

It’s not brilliant out there at the moment. We know everyone is feeling really overwhelmed with all the information about the Coronavirus so we want to do our best to keep you as informed as possible when new changes occur. This page is for people who are employed (not business owners).

If you’re a business please check out our Coronavirus Fact Sheet for Businesses.

For a little bit of light-hearted relief or to not feel so alone, go and check out our Facebook page.

What help can I get from the Government if I lose my job?

The Coronavirus Supplement:

If you lose work during the pandemic, or are unable to work due to contracting the virus or needing to self-isolate, you will be able to claim support from the federal government. An extra Cornavirus Supplement payment of $550 a fortnight to new and existing income support recipients is available from April 27 for six months. That money will go to people who are on the JobSeeker Payment, Austudy, Abstudy, Youth Allowance (student), Sickness Allowance, Youth Allowance, Parenting Payment, Partner Allowance and Farm Household Allowance.

JobSeeker Payments:

For JobSeeker payments what you receive will depend on your circumstances – if you’re single, in a relationship or if you have children etc. You can read more here about the JobSeeker Payment

There will also be Tax-free payments of $750 to social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders. It is estimated that around half of those who will benefit will be pensioners. These payments will commence to be automatically made from 31 March 2020.

How to tackle Centrelink

If you’ve lost your job, been stood down or suddenly find your business without customers due to the coronavirus pandemic, you might be tackling Centrelink for the first time, or the first time in a long time. We’ve found a brilliant article from the ABC that explains the whole process. Even if you are still employed, our advice is to be proactive and ensure your MyGov is set up and ready to go should you need it. But….be patient! It is overwhelmed at the moment with visitors so try accessing it when visitors will be less (late at night, early morning).

Read it here.

Beware of Scams!

This is the perfect environment for scammers – heightened fear makes us all vulnerable. If you receive a text message, email or phone call that you’re not sure is legit, see the latest ATO impersonation scams and the scam advice from the government. You can also call us anytime on 1800 93 10 20 if you’re unsure. The government will never ask for your bank details and don’t give out your Tax File Number.

Can I access my Super?

If you are currently unemployed, or your employment has been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, the government is offering an early release of superannuation to help ease the burden. Eligible individuals will be able to apply online through myGov to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation before 1 July 2020. They will also be able to access up to a further $10,000 from 1 July 2020 for approximately three months (exact timing will depend on the passage of the relevant legislation). You can read more here. It’s really important to note that accessing your super at a time like this might be a necessity but be aware that your ability to retire in the future will be impacted. Not to mention that the markets have crashed, potentially leaving your super balance low. We strongly suggest seeking out some advice on what to do here from a licensed financial advisor.

What is my bank doing to help?

Most banks have hardship assistance programs in place to help those in need. They can be found on their websites. Specifically relating to COVID-19 the following has been announced (a lot is business related, but worth reviewing to see if you can negotiate a reduction in your interest rates). The Australia Banking Association is a great resource to understand what you bank is offering – check their info our here.

CBA – check more info out here

  • Reducing commercial interest rates by 0.25
  • Extended hours for lending teams for faster decisions
  • Deferring repayments on a variety of business loan and overdraft products, for 90 days.
  • Waiving merchant terminal fees for impacted customers with CBA payment terminals, for 90 days.
  • Waiving early redraw fees on business term deposit accounts (including Farm Management Deposit accounts).
  • Waiving establishment fees and excess interest on Temporary Excess products.
  • Deferring repayments on vehicle and equipment finance loans, and providing tailored restructuring options that meet individual customer needs.

ANZ – check more info out here

  • Suspending interest repayments
  • Providing early access to term deposits without incurring break fees
  • Providing access to additional credit subject to approval

NAB – check more info out here

  • Deferral of business loan repayments for up to three months, assessed on a case-by-case basis
  • Extension of a business loan term by a period of up to three months, where individual circumstances warrant
  • Support to restructure existing business loans, including equipment finance
  • Business credit card deferred repayments.

Westpac – check more info out here

  • Continuing its hardship assistance program
  • Deferring repayments for 3 months

Bendigo Bank – check more info out here

  • Home Loan and Business Loan customers can apply for relief on loans for up to three months
  • Waiver of fees for the restructuring or consolidation of loans
  • Credit card customers can apply for an emergency credit card limit increase
  • Discounted interest rates on new personal loans taken out by existing Bendigo Bank customers
  • Waiver of interest rate reduction for early withdrawals on term deposits prior to maturity
  • Deferral of payments and extensions for Equipment Finance on a case by case basis

(Big shoutout to Illumin8 for putting this information together!)

If you have any questions at all about the above, please call us on 1800 93 10 20. We’re not experts in Centrelink payments or myGov set up but we are doing our best to learn as quick as we can to help you.

Stay healthy,

The Orbit team.