Final reminder on COVID-19 financial initiatives
Many Aussies experienced financial hardship during the COVID-19 crisis. Although the virus is under control in most parts of Australia, many workplaces and employees are still feeling the effects. Financial support is still available, but some options are ending soon.
Temporary early access to super
The COVID-19 early release of super program ended on 31 December 2020. Payments for applications submitted by 31 December were made throughout January. If you have any questions or if your payment has not been made please contact us.
Relief for Victorian renters
The Victorian Government established this one-off grant to provide rent relief payments of up to $3,000 to Victorians experiencing rental hardship because of COVID-19.
The grant is paid directly to the tenant’s agent or landlord to contribute to rental payments, under the rental agreement.
The Victorian Government has extended the time you can lodge a grant application until 28 March 2021.
For more information on the grant, including who’s eligible and how you can apply visit our original article here.
Rental assistance (rest of Australia)
Rental assistance is available for some Australians regardless of whether you’ve been directly impacted by COVID-19. It may also available to those receiving a JobSeeker Payment. Head to the Australian Government Services Australia for more information.
Temporary mortgage relief
Banks have assisted people during the crisis with mortgage repayment ‘holidays’ to provide immediate relief for anyone finding it tough to keep up with mortgage payments. For many, the six-month repayment deferral period is coming to an end and there’ll be three key stages to repayment.
- You can resume repayments
If you can restart paying your loan, then you’ll be required to do so at the end of your deferral period.
- You can partially pay
If you’re still experiencing financial difficulty, you may have the option to restructure your loan and/or repayment amounts. If you can’t restructure, you may be eligible for an extra deferral period for up to four months. Speak to your bank directly about this as the extension is not automatic and is only provided if your bank believes you genuinely need extra time.
- You cannot pay
If, during or at the end of any deferral, you cannot make repayments, you’ll be assisted through your bank’s financial hardship process to determine your best long-term solution. Contact your bank directly about this option as soon as possible
For more information visit the Australian Banking Association website.
JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments
If you’re working for a business that’s been significantly affected by COVID-19 you may be receiving a JobKeeper payment. Your employer will let you know if they’re eligible to claim and if so, it’s paid as part of your usual wage.
The JobKeeper payment rate reduced from 4 January 2021 and is in place until 28 March 2021.
The JobSeeker Payment is an income support payment to help you while you look for work. It currently includes a Coronavirus Supplement which is in place until the 31 March 2021. From 1 April 2021, the payment will change to the normal JobSeeker Payment rate for your situation.
If you want to receive or apply for either of these payments you can read more here.
If your income has been disrupted due to job loss or reduced hours, managing debt can become increasingly hard and stressful. Free and confidential counselling services are available for anyone experiencing financial difficulties. We’re able to provide a referral to our Financial Counselling partners if you need.
The National Debt Helpline also provides a number of resources to help you look after yourself and your family financially during this time.
In some circumstances you may be eligible for early access to some of your super to help meet your immediate financial needs.
Before accessing financial support consider the following:
- Any long-term impacts of your financial goals before making any short-term financial decisions.
- Your individual circumstances, including your personal financial situation, objectives and needs.
- Getting financial advice before making any changes to your super or other financial arrangements.
Beware of scammers
Unfortunately, one of the side effects of financial initiatives is a rise in scammers trying to take advantage of the vulnerable. If you’re applying for any of the above initiatives keep in mind that you generally won’t need a third party to assist with the application or the process. You should be very cautious of anyone emailing or calling you to offer a service or changing a fee related to any financial access process.
Do you have questions or wish to apply for financial hardship?
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