Coronavirus stimulus package: Millions to get $750 from tomorrow
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Millions of Australians will receive a special payment from tomorrow as part of the Federal Government’s plan to soften the economic blow of the coronavirus crisis.

As part of the Government’s unprecedented relief package, around 6.5 million Aussies will receive a $750 Economic Support Payment.

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The good news is the cash will start arriving from tomorrow, with most people receiving the payment by April 17.

WHO GETS IT?

The $750 has been earmarked for Australians who receive a range of government benefits.

It includes those on the Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, Carer Payment, Carer Allowance, Parenting Payment, Wife Pension, Widow B Pension, ABSTUDY (Living Allowance), Austudy, Bereavement Allowance, Newstart Allowance, Jobseeker Payment, Youth Allowance, Partner Allowance, Sickness Allowance, Special Benefit, Widow Allowance, Farm Household Allowance, Family Tax Benefit A, Family Tax Benefit B and Double Orphan Pension.

You will also receive the payment if you have a Pensioner Concession Card, Commonwealth Seniors Health Card or Veteran Gold Card or if you get the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Veteran Service Pension, Veteran Income Support Supplement, Veteran Compensation payments, including lump sum payments or War Widow(er) Pension.

HOW DO I GET IT?

If you’re eligible and living in Australia, you won’t need to do a thing to claim the $750 payment – it will automatically be processed and sent to your account registered with Services Australia.

The best way to avoid any hiccups is to make sure the Government has your correct details, which can be done via your Centrelink online account through myGov or the Express Plus Centrelink app.

If you don’t have an online account, you can update or check your details over the phone on your regular payment line.

The payment will be made automatically to eligible Australians. Picture: iStockSource:istock

WHAT ABOUT THE SECOND PAYMENT?

Millions of Australians may also get a second $750 Economic Support Payment, which the Government will begin paying from July 13.

You may get it if you were eligible on July 10 for any payments or concession cards that were eligible for the first Economic Support Payment.

Again, it will be paid automatically into your account registered with Services Australia.

WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO KNOW?

You will only receive one payment during the first round, even if you get more than one qualifying payment or card.

According to the Australian government website, it won’t be counted as income for social security and family tax benefit payments, aged care fees and charges, Farm Household Allowance and veterans’ payments.

“It’s tax exempt. We won’t use this payment to pay off an existing Centrelink or Child Support debt,” the website states.

Meanwhile, the Jobseeker Payment will temporarily be doubled, providing people with an extra $550 a fortnight.

WAIT, WHY AM I MISSING OUT?

The Morrison Government’s decision to restrict these payments to welfare recipients has caused a fair bit of confusion, but according to economic experts, there’s a good reason behind it.

In a nutshell, the Government wants to keep money circulating through the economy in the hope it will keep more people in jobs.

In theory, people receiving social security benefits are short on cash and will therefore be more likely to spend money they receive.

If the payments were made to Australians who are better off and still in work, the Government fears they may be tempted to hold onto the cash by stashing it in savings accounts, superannuation or on their mortgage instead of spending it and helping kickstart the economy.

“For the most part, these households likely have nothing else to spend, and so the theory is the money will be put back into the economy,” leading independent economist Saul Eslake previously explained to news.com.au.

And AMP Capital chief economist Dr Shane Oliver told news.com.au last week the Government’s broader, multibillion-dollar stimulus package was designed to “keep the economy on life support” as the pandemic rages on.

But he said with many businesses shut because of the outbreak, a lot of that cash won’t be able to be spent anyway – and he suspected the Government will “have to do more” down the track in the form of further stimulus measures.

“I accept that giving money to individuals when they’re in lockdown means that they can’t spend it anyway,” Dr Oliver said.

“It’s all about shoring up household finances because when the virus loses its grip and the economy can bounce back, that money will be there even if it doesn’t do very much in the short term.

“And the final element of the stimulus that is yet to be announced will involve getting payments to households, so once we can leave the home and undertake normal activity once again, people can go out and buy discretionary spending items.”

MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR CASH

Finder money expert Bessie Hassan said the two $750 payments could make a huge difference to households provided it was spent thoughtfully.

“The $1500 boost from the Government will come just in time for many needy Australians who are already struggling financially. And it can go a very long way if it’s used wisely,” she said.

“Don’t view this as ‘free money’ – put it towards something that will have a lasting impact on your financial health.”

Ms Hassan said the money could be stretched further by stocking up on bargain necessities.

“Without causing a panic-buying frenzy, you could double your government boost if you use it to pay for essential items that you usually buy if they are half price or more,” she said.

“Go through supermarket and department store catalogues or websites and make a list of items you usually buy that are 50 per cent off or more.

“If you bought $3000 worth of items marked down by 50 per cent, that’s a saving of $1500. Remember, only stick to what you would usually buy otherwise you won’t be making a saving.”