As a type of unemployment benefit; Newstart Allowance is a welcome respite for employment and financial issues. Paid through Centrelink, this allowance helps to bridge the gap during a difficult financial situation and helps you stay afloat until you get a job. Newstart Allowance is a key Australian benefit as unemployment continues to be a problem around the country.
What is the Newstart allowance?
Newstart allowance is a stipend paid to unemployed persons between the ages of 22 and 65. As the name suggests, the payment helps people with temporary loss of job to have monies to take care many of their financial responsibilities and lead a dignified life until they find new employment. It is paid fortnightly to those who have applied and are actively seeking work.
How much is paid with Newstart Allowance?
The amount of Newstart Allowance is fixed on March 20 and September 20 every year. At present, an unemployed person is slated to get $519.20 on every two week. Partnered residents get $468.80 each. An extra payment of $42.60 is made to cater for dependent children. A fixed stipend of $561.80 is provided when the person is single, above 60 years and unemployed for 9 months at a stretch.
The stipend goes up to $725.60 for large families, those doing home schooling or rearing a child under a court order. The beneficiaries are also entitled to receive the payments weekly subject to conditions, such as being homeless.
What is the eligibility for Newstart Allowance?
- Must reside in Australia
- Ages 22 through 65, the age to receive pension
- Unemployed and looking for paid employment
- Willing to enter a job plan or enter into activity test under Employment Pathway Plan
- Meet income and asset qualifications
Is there any need of asset and income test to get Newstart Allowance?
Yes, besides income and asset verification, an evaluation of working credit is also carried out to examine the eligibility for Newstart Allowance. The income limit is fixed up to $102 per fortnight. Beyond this and up to $252, a 50 percent reduction is made. Above this, a 60 percent cut is enforced. In case of having a child, a 40 cent per dollar reduction is made.
Assets tests include verification of all liquid assets, real estate, investment and other holdings are deemed necessary. Working credit up to 3,500 points is allowed. When one with no suitable job is employed in casual, part-time work, he ends up building working credits. This can be converted and added to the Newstart Allowance.
How to apply for Newstart Allowance?
You must register on Centrelink and submit a claim along with identity proof, Employment Separation Certificate (mandatory for those with jobs in the last 12 months) and tax filing details. Applicants may be asked to join the interview process and sign an Employment Pathway Plan. After income and asset verifications, the first payment is released after a week waiting period. Those with claims rejected can appeal against the decision and seek reconsideration. The appellate authority is an Authorized Review Officer of Centrelink. The process is easy and simple and must be made with 13 weeks of the rejection to get Newstart Allowance from the day you applied for it.
In addition to Newstart payments, there are other financial assistance options that include; unemployment loans, crisis payments and other financial hardship programs. You may also seek out help from free professional services like the financial counsellors of Australia.