CASH IN HAND: 5.1 million Australians to receive $500 COVID payment


About 5.1 million Australians are locked in to receive two $250 payments under a bill passed through parliament on Wednesday.

The Economic Support Payments, originally unveiled as part of the 2020-21 budget, are set to be paid progressively from 30 November 2020 and the second from 1 March 2021.

Those eligible for the handout include aged and disability pensioners, veterans, people on carer payments and family tax benefit recipients, as well as Commonwealth Seniors Health Card (CSHC) and pensioner concession cardholders.

“We can now deliver more practical support to older Australians, families and young people through these targeted, temporary initiatives in our social security system,” Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston said.

Social Services Minister Anne Ruston.
Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston. Credit: AAP

“We are standing side by side with Australians who have been hardest hit by the economic impact of the pandemic as we fight the virus and reopen our economy.”

The payments are set to support more than 2.5 million Age Pensioners, about 400,000 self-funded retirees with a Commonwealth Seniors Health card, more than 1 million people with disabilities and carers, and 760,000 low-income families.

Criteria confusion

National Seniors Australia has previously advised self-funded retirees to check their eligibility for the handout too.

The country’s peak consumer group for older Australians says tens of thousands of self-funded retirees may be under the impression they don’t qualify for the CSHC - when they do.

Changes to deeming rates used as part of the CSHC income test has improved eligibility for the card, and therefore the budget stimulus payments.

Recipients will receive a $250 cash boost in December and another $250 in March 2021.
Recipients will receive a $250 cash boost in December and another $250 in March 2021. Credit: Traceydee Photography/Getty Images

To qualify for the CSHC, an individual must have reached the pension age, meet an income test, are not receiving any payments from Veterans Affairs and are an Australian resident living in Australia.

To meet the income test, individuals or couples must earn below the following thresholds:

  • $55,808 for singles
  • $89,290 for couples
  • $111,616 for couples who are separated by illness, respite care or prison.

Australians have until November 27 to be eligible and receive the first $250 payment.

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