Recent changes to JobSeeker

The federal government recently announced an extension to and some eligibility changes to the JobSeeker payment, which we have summarised below for you.

Here is a summary of the changes that take effect from 25th September, read on for more details:

  • Supplement reduced
  • Income test changes
  • Means testing introduced
  • Partner income testing
  • Expanded eligibility criteria
  • Mutual obligations returned
  • Waiting period waivers

If you would like information on the current payments, please see our blog here.

Coronavirus Supplement reduction

The Coronavirus supplement is currently $550 per fortnight (on top of the regular income support payment for those seeking work) and is available until 24th September 2020.

After 24th September 2020, this supplement will be reduced to $250 per fortnight until 31st December 2020. It remains to be seen if further support will be available after this date however, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has stated there will need to be some continuation of support post December.

Income test changes

Currently, you can earn up to $106 per fortnight without affecting the amount of JobSeeker you are paid. This will now increase to $300 per fortnight. If you earn over $300 per fortnight, you JobSeeker payment will reduce by 60c for each dollar earned over this amount.

Means tests

Means testing will be reintroduced as of 25th September. Below are the asset limits, if your assets are higher than those below, your JobSeeker payment will be cancelled.

Family situationHomeownersNon-Homeowners
Couple Combined$401,500$616,000
One partner eligible, combined assets$401,500$616,000

The Liquid Assets Waiting period will also be reintroduced.

Partner Income Testing

For every dollar your partner earns over $1,165 per fortnight, your JobSeeker will reduce by 27 cents (currently 25 cents). This changes if your income is less than $300 per fortnight, your partner can earn up to $3,086 before your payment is affected.

Expanded eligibility criteria continues for income support payments

If you meet the criteria below, you can continue to receive JobSeeker payments:

  • Permanent employees who are stood down or lose their employment
  • Sole traders, self-employed, casual workers and contact workers who meet the income tests
  • Eligible individuals care for someone affected by Coronavirus

Gradual return of mutual obligation requirements

From 4th August, mutual obligations will return. These are approved tasks and actives that are agreed upon to help you find a job. This is what you are required to do:

  • complete the Job Seeker Snapshot questionnaire
  • agree to a Job Plan
  • go to appointments, either online or over the phone, with your employment services provider
  • the tasks on your online employment services dashboard, if you don’t have a provider
  • the activities in your Job Plan if it is safe to do so, including job searches
  • accept any offer of suitable paid work.

Waiting periods continue to be waived

Some waiting periods will continue to be waived until 31st December, these include:

  • Ordinary Waiting Period
  • Newly Arrived Resident’s Waiting Period
  • Seasonal Work Preclusion Period.

For more information on JobSeeker payments and eligibility, visit the Services Australia website:

It is very important that you understand that whether the above information is appropriate or not will depend on what your personal circumstances are. Please consider getting professional advice to ensure that any action you take will meet with your objectives, goals, and financial situation.

Disclaimer: Due to the ever-changing landscape of the Australian financial and taxation system, please seek out advice from a professional before taking this advice into consideration. The above information is general in nature and should not be considered as advice.