Stimulus announced: $750 for Newstart and pensioners

author-avatar By on March 12, 2020
Stimulus announced: $750 for Newstart and pensioners

Photo by Social Estate on Unsplash

The Government has announced a $17.6 billion stimulus package which includes a one-off cash handout of $750 to pensioners and welfare recipients such as those on Newstart.

BREAKING: The Morrison Government has announced its second stimulus package, with $750 one-time payments for welfare, sole traders and casual workers, and $550 extra per fortnight for social security.

The $750 cash payment is expected to be offered to more than 6.5 million Australians, and will start flowing through to eligible recipients from 31 March, at an estimated cost of around $4.8 billion.

The $750 cash payment will apply to those receiving:

  • Newstart
  • Carer's Allowance
  • Family Tax Benefit 
  • Disability Support Pension
  • Youth Allowance
  • Veterans Support
  • Commonwealth Senior Health Card holders
  • Aged pension

The payment will be tax-free and won't count as income for Social Security, the Farm Household Allowance or Veteran payments.

There is one payment for each eligible recipient, and if a person qualifies for a payment in multiple ways, only one payment will be made.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the total stimulus package is estimated to be 1.2% of Australia's GDP. 

“Households will receive a stimulus payment of $750 across the full gambit of those who receive all sorts of benefit payments,” Mr Morrison said in a press conference this morning.

“The biggest beneficiaries of that will be pensioners.

"They comprise around half of those who will receive those payments, but they also will be extended to those in family tax benefits, which obviously goes to those in earning households.”

The table below displays some of the highest-rate six-month term deposits on the market.

Pensioners and deeming rates

For pensioners, deeming rates will be slashed by 50 basis points as a reaction to low interest rates on savings accounts and term deposits.

Currently, the deeming rates are 1% on the first $86,200 of pensioners couples' investment assets, and $51,800 for singles, to be reduced to 0.50%.

The upper deeming rate of 3% will be slashed to 2.5%, for amounts over these thresholds.

New payments will take effect from 1 May.

Small business benefits

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the stimulus package is geared towards small business owners, helping to keep apprentices in jobs.

“Importantly, $3 out of every $4 spent will go to backing business and keeping Australians in a job,” Mr Frydenberg said.

Small business benefits include increased instant write-off amounts and increased depreciation allowances.

There will also be a 50% accelerated depreciation deduction over what businesses can already deduct.

This will apply to 30 June 2021.

Those with less than 20 employees will receive $21,000 per apprentice employed in wage assistance. 

The benefits are estimated to reach around 117,000 apprentices, worth about $1.3 billion.

Other payments include a payment of $25,000 to businesses that employ fewer than 20 people and have a turnover of less than $50 million, according to Mr Frydenberg.

“The payment will be delivered automatically through the tax system so no new forms will be required, and these payments are tax free, so they’ll be delivered automatically and these payments are tax free,” he said.

The government will also spend $700 million over four years to expand the instant asset write-off, increasing the threshold from $30,000 to $150,000 to businesses of turnovers up to $500 million.

“Any such purchase from now until 30 June, including a truck, a tractor, a shop fit-out, can be written off immediately.” Mr Frydenberg said.

Casual workers

Casual workers will also get immediate access to a sickness payment if they need to self-isolate due to coronavirus - or COVID-19 - instead of having to wait a week under the old guidelines.

The payment is means-tested, and is up to $559 per fortnight for singles without children, and $1,010 per fortnight for couples.

The total stimulus package will stretch over this financial year and next, with more than $11 billion to be spent before 30 June.

Note: We previously made mention of NDIS recipients being eligible for the $750 cash handout. This is not the case. We regret this error and have removed mention of NDIS.

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Harrison is's Assistant Editor. Prior to joining Savings in January 2020, he worked for some of Australia's largest comparison sites and media organisations. With a keen interest in the economy, housing policy, and personal finance, Harrison is passionate about breaking down complex financial topics for the everyday consumer.

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