House of Representatives

Coronavirus Economic Response Package Omnibus Bill 2020

Guarantee of Lending to Small and Medium Enterprises (Coronavirus Economic Response Package) Bill 2020

Guarantee of Lending to Small and Medium Enterprises (Coronavirus Economic Response Package) Act 2020

Australian Business Growth Fund (Coronavirus Economic Response Package) Bill 2020

Australian Business Growth Fund (Coronavirus Economic Response Package) Act 2020

Assistance for Severely Affected Regions (Special Appropriation) (Coronavirus Economic Response Package) Bill 2020

Assistance for Severely Affected Regions (Special Appropriation) (Coronavirus Economic Response Package) Act 2020

Structured Finance Support (Coronavirus Economic Response Package) Bill 2020

Structured Finance Support (Coronavirus Economic Response Package) Act 2020

Appropriation (Coronavirus Economic Response Package) Bill (No. 1) 2019-2020

Appropriation (Coronavirus Economic Response Package) Act (No. 1) 2019-2020

Appropriation (Coronavirus Economic Response Package) Bill (No. 2) 2019-2020

Appropriation (Coronavirus Economic Response Package) Act (No. 2) 2019-2020

Boosting Cash Flow for Employers (Coronavirus Economic Response Package) Bill 2020

Boosting Cash Flow for Employers (Coronavirus Economic Response Package) Act 2020

Explanatory Memorandum

(Circulated by authority of the Treasurer, the Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP)

Chapter 11 Additional support for income support recipients

Outline of chapter

11.1 Schedule 11 to this Bill amends the Farm Household Support Act 2014 , Social Security Act and the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Simplifying Income Reporting and Other Measures) Act 2020 to provide additional financial assistance to Australians who are financially impacted by the Coronavirus.

Context of amendments

11.2 These additional payments are part of the Government's commitment to provide financial assistance to those who are financially impacted by the Coronavirus.

Summary of new law

11.3 Schedule 11 to this Bill amends the Social Security to provide for additional categories of Youth Allowance (other) and jobseeker payment. In addition, a new supplement is paid to new and existing recipients of Youth Allowance (other) and jobseeker payment.

11.4 This supplement applies for an initial six month period. The initial period can be extended by a legislative instrument made by the Minister for Families and Social Services.

11.5 The amendments in this Schedule also exempt new and existing jobseeker payment, Youth Allowance (other) and parenting payment recipients from the assets test, liquid assets waiting period, ordinary waiting period, newly arrived resident's waiting period and seasonal worker preclusion period. The exemption from the newly arrived resident's waiting period also applies to special benefit.

11.6 Schedule 11 to this Bill also amends the Farm Household Support Act 2014 to also exempt recipients from certain waiting periods.

11.7 Finally, the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Simplifying Income Reporting and Other Measures) Act 2020 is amended to provide for a delay to the commencement of that Act.

Comparison of key features of new law and current law

New law Current law
Australians who are financially impacted by the Coronavirus may claim jobseeker payment or Youth Allowance (other) if they are an Australian resident (or exempt from the residence requirements) and satisfy the requirements outlined in a legislative instrument made by the Minister for Families and Social Services. No equivalent.
A $500 supplement is paid to new and existing recipients of Youth Allowance (other) and job seeker payments for an initial six month period or an extended period determined by the Minister for Families and Social Services in a legislative instrument. No equivalent.
Jobseeker payment and Youth Allowance (other) recipients are exempt from the assets test, liquid assets waiting period, ordinary waiting period, newly arrived resident's waiting period and seasonal worker preclusion period. The assets test, liquid assets waiting period, ordinary waiting period, newly arrived resident's waiting period and seasonal worker preclusion period apply to Jobseeker payment and Youth Allowance (other) recipients.
Parenting Payment recipients are exempt from the assets test, ordinary waiting period, newly arrived resident's waiting period and seasonal worker preclusion period. The assets test, ordinary waiting period, newly arrived resident's waiting period and seasonal worker preclusion period apply to Parenting Payment.
Special benefit recipients are exempt from the newly arrived resident's waiting period. The newly arrived resident's waiting period applies to special benefit recipients.
Recipients of the Farm Household Support are exempt from waiting periods. The newly arrived resident's waiting period and the seasonal work preclusion period apply to recipients of the Farm Household Support payment.
The Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Simplifying Income Reporting and Other Measures) Act 2020 commences on a single day fixed by Proclamation. If Proclamation is not made by 1 July 2021. The Act commences on 1 July 2021. The Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Simplifying Income Reporting and Other Measures) Act 2020 commences on 1 July 2020.

Detailed explanation of new law

Amendments to the Farm Household Support Act 2014

11.8 Item 1 makes a minor consequential amendment to subsection 42(1) of the Farm Household Support Act 2014 resulting from the inserting of new subsection 42(3) (discussed below).

11.9 Item 2 adds a new subsection 42(3) to the Farm Household Support Act 2014. The new subsection 42(3) provides that the newly arrived resident's waiting period under subsection 42(1) does not apply to a person during the period covered by the new subsection 646(2) (discussed below).

11.10 Item 3 adds a new subsection 48(5) to the Farm Household Support Act 2014. The new subsection 48(5) provides that the seasonal work preclusion period does not apply to a person for the period that new subsection 646(2) applies (discussed below).

11.11 Item 4 makes a minor consequential amendment to paragraph 94(b) of the Farm Household Support Act 2014 resulting from the insertion of new section 557 (discussed below).

11.12 Item 5 makes a minor consequential amendment to paragraph 94(d) of the Farm Household Support Act 2014 resulting from the insertion of new section 646 (discussed below).

Amendments to the Social Security Act

11.13 Item 6 makes a consequential amendment to current subsection 7(7) of the Social Security Act. Subsection 7(7) of the Social Security sets out when a person is exempt from the residence requirement for the purposes of the Social Security Act. This amendment is a result of the insertion of the new categories of Youth Allowance (other) and job seeker payment provided for in new section 540BA and new subsection 593(5) of the Social Security Act (discussed below). These new categories of jobseeker and Youth Allowance (other) will be available to people who are Australian residents or exempt from the residence requirement under subsection 7(7) of the Social Security Act.

11.14 Item 7 introduces new subsection 500Q(6) to the Social Security Act. The new subsection provides that the assets test under section 500Q does not apply to a person during the period covered by new subsection 504(2) (discussed below).

11.15 Item 8 makes a minor consequential amendment to subsection 500WA(1) resulting from the insertion of new subsection 500WA(4) (discussed below).

11.16 Item 9 introduces a new subsection 500WA(4) of the Social Security Act. Under new subsection 500WA(4), subsection 500WA(1) does not apply to a person during the period covered by subsection 504(2). This means the seven day ordinary waiting period does not apply for the period covered by new subsection 504(2) (discussed below) that a person qualifies for parenting payment.

11.17 Item 10 inserts a new subsection 500X(6) of the Social Security Act. This new subsection provides that the newly arrived resident's waiting period under subsection 500X(1) does not apply to a person during the period covered by new subsection 504(2) (discussed below).

11.18 Item 11 introduces a new subsection 500Z(4) of the Social Security Act. Under current section 500Z of the Social Security Act, the seasonal workers preclusion period applies except in certain circumstances. This new subsection 500Z(4) provides that the seasonal workers preclusion period does not apply to a person for the period covered by new subsection 504(2) (discussed below).

11.19 Item 12 inserts a new section 504 to the Social Security Act.

11.20 New subsection 504(1) increases a person's rate of parenting payment by the amount of the Coronavirus supplement.

11.21 New subsection 504(2) provides for a date that the Coronavirus period of six months beginning on the day on which this new section 504 commences unless the period is extended.

11.22 New subsection 504(3) enables the Minister to extend the initial period one or more times, with each individual extension not exceeding three months. The Minister must be satisfied that the extension is in response to circumstances relating to the Coronavirus known as the Coronavirus.

11.23 New subsection 504(4) provides that the amount of the Coronavirus supplement is $550 per fortnight, unless an amount determined under new subsection new paragraph 504(5).

11.24 New subsection 504(5) provides that the Minister may, by legislative instrument, determine an amount for the purposes of new paragraph 504(4)(b). The instrument is disallowable.

11.25 New subsection 504(6) provides that for any extension period, the amount of the Coronavirus supplement is to be worked out in accordance with a determination made by the Minister under new subsection 504(7).

11.26 New subsection 504(7) provides that the Minister may make a determination for the purposes of new subsection 504(5) in a legislative instrument. The instrument is disallowable.

11.27 New subsection 504(8) provides that, without limiting new subsection 504(7), the determination made provide that the amount of the Coronavirus per fortnight is nil for specified persons.

11.28 Item 13 inserts new section 540BA of the Social Security Act. This new section contains a new Youth Allowance (other) qualification provision. A person is qualified for Youth Allowance (other) under new subsection 540BA(1) in respect of a period if:

the person satisfies the requirements determined in an instrument under new subsection 540BA(2) of the Social Security Act (see new paragraph 540BA(1)(a)); and
the person is not undertaking full time study and is not a new apprentice (see new paragraph 540BA(1)(b)); and
throughout the period, the person is of Youth Allowance (other) age in accordance with Subdivision D of Division 1 Part 2.11 of Chapter 2 of the Social Security Act (see new subparagraph 540BA(1)(c)); and
throughout the period, the person:

-
is an Australian resident (see new subparagraph 540BA(1)(d)(i)); or
-
is exempt from the residence requirement within the meaning of subsection 7(7) of the Social Security Act (see new subparagraph 540BA(1)(d)(ii)).

11.29 New subsection 540BA(2) of the Social Security Act provides that the Minister may by legislative instrument, determine requirements for the purposes of new paragraph 540BA(1)(a). The Minister must be satisfied that the requirements are determined in response to circumstances relating to the Coronavirus known as the Coronavirus. The instrument is disallowable.

11.30 New subsection 540BA(3) of the Social Security Act provides that, without limiting new subsection 540BA(2), the requirements determined in the legislative instrument may depend on the Secretary being satisfied of one or more specified matters.

11.31 New subsection 540BA(4) of the Social Security Act provides that a person is not qualified for Youth Allowance (other) under new subsection 540BA(1) of the Social Security Act after the end of the period covered by new subsection 557(2) (discussed below).

11.32 Item 14 makes a minor consequential amendment to section 547B of the Social Security Act resulting from the insertion of new subsection 547B(2) (discussed below).

11.33 Item 15 adds a new subsection 547B(2) to the Social Security Act. New subsection 547B(2) provides that a person who is not a full-time student or a new apprentice and qualifies for Youth Allowance (other) under the new section 540BA is excluded from the Youth Allowance (other) assets test for the period of qualification under section 540BA.

11.34 Item 16 adds new subsection 549A(8) to the Social Security Act which is an additional exception to the application of the liquid assets test waiting period. Current section 549A of the Social Security Act provides the general rule of when the liquid assets test waiting period applies and exceptions to the rule. Under new subsection 549A(8), this waiting period does not apply to a person who is not a full-time student or a new apprentice during the period that the person is qualified for Youth Allowance (other) under new section 540BA.

11.35 Item 17 makes a minor consequential amendment to subsection 549CA(2) of the Social Security Act to insert a reference to new subsection 549CA(6) (discussed below).

11.36 Item 18 adds new subsection 549CA(6) of the Social Security Act. Current section 549CA of the Social Security Act provides for the application of the ordinary waiting period of seven days to a person who is not a full-time student or a new apprentice, with some exceptions. Under new subsection 549CA(6), the seven-day ordinary waiting period does not apply during the period covered by new subsection 557(2) (discussed below).

11.37 Item 19 inserts a new subsection 549D(6A) of the Social Security Act. This new subsection provides that the newly arrived resident's waiting period under subsection 549D(1) does not apply to a person during the period covered by new subsection 557(2) (discussed below).

11.38 Item 20 inserts a new subsection 553C(7) to the Social Security Act. This new subsection provides that the seasonal worker preclusion period under section 553C of the Social Security Act does not apply to a person who is not a full-time student and a new apprentice, during the period covered by new subsection 557(2) (discussed below).

11.39 Item 21 inserts a new section 557 to the Social Security Act.

11.40 New subsection 557(1) increases the rate of Youth Allowance (other) for a person who is not undertaking full-time study and is not a new apprentice by the amount of the Coronavirus supplement.

11.41 New subsection 557(2) provides for a date that the Coronavirus supplement ceases. The supplement ceases at the end of an initial period of six months beginning on the day on which this new section 504 commences unless the period is extended.

11.42 New subsection 557(3) enables the Minister to extend the initial period one or more times with each individual extension not exceeding three months. The Minister must be satisfied that the extension is in response to circumstances relating to the Coronavirus.

11.43 New subsection 557(4) provides that the amount of the Coronavirus supplement is $550 per fortnight unless an amount is determined under new subsection new paragraph 646(5).

11.44 New subsection 557(5) provides that the Minister may, by legislative instrument, determine an amount for the purposes of new paragraph 557(4)(b). The instrument is disallowable.

11.45 New subsection 557(6) provides that for any extension period, the amount of the Coronavirus supplement is to be worked out in accordance with a determination made by the Minister under new subsection 557(7).

11.46 New subsection 557(7) provides that the Minister may make a determination for the purposes of new subsection 557(5) in a legislative instrument. The instrument is disallowable.

11.47 New subsection 557(8) provides that, without limiting new subsection 557(7), the determination made provide that the amount of the Coronavirus per fortnight is nil for specified persons.

11.48 Item 22 adds new subsection 593(5) of the Social Security Act which provides that a person is qualified for a jobseeker payment in respect of a period if the person satisfies the requirements determined in an instrument under new subsection 593(6) and throughout that period the person is at least 22 years of age and has not reached the pension age. The person must also be an Australian resident or exempt from the residence requirement within the meaning of current subsection 7(7) of the Social Security Act. The person must also not be in receipt of a Youth Allowance (other) during the period.

11.49 This item adds new subsection 593(6) of the Social Security Act which provides that the Minister may, by legislative instrument, determine requirements for qualifying for jobseeker under new subsection 593(5). The Minister must be satisfied that the requirements are determined in response to circumstances relating to the Coronavirus known as the Coronavirus. The instrument is disallowable.

11.50 This item also adds new subsection 593(7) of the Social Security Act which provides that, without limiting new subsection 593(6), the requirements to be determined by the Minister in the instrument may depend on the Secretary being satisfied of one or more specified matters.

11.51 This item also adds new subsection 593(8) of the Social Security Act which provides that a person is not qualified for a jobseeker payment under new subsection 593(5) after the end of the period covered by new subsection 646(2) of the Social Security Act (discussed below).

11.52 Item 23 makes a minor consequential change to subsection 598(1) of the Social Security Act resulting from the amendments made to section 598 (discussed below).

11.53 Item 24 inserts new subsection 598(8C) of the Social Security Act. This new subsection provides that subsection 598(1) of the Social Security Act does not apply to a person during the period covered by new subsection 646(2) of the Social Security Act (discussed below). The effect of this amendment is to exempt recipients of jobseeker payment from the liquid assets waiting period in section 598 of the Social Security Act for period detailed in new subsection 646(2) of the Social Security Act (discussed below). Current subsection 598(1) of the Social Security Act provides that a person is not qualified for jobseeker payment if on the day they claim jobseeker payment or the day after they ceased work (or ceased to be enrolled in a full-time course of education or training) the person must serve a liquid assets waiting period.

11.54 Item 25 adds new subsection 611(3) into the Social Security Act to ensure that subsection 611(1) that applies an assets test for recipients of job seeker payment does not apply to a person during the period covered by new subsection 646(2) (discussed below). Current section 611 of the Social Security Act provides for an assets test for recipients of jobseeker payment. A person cannot be paid jobseeker payment if the value of the person's assets exceeds the person's assets value limit (set out in subsection 611(2) of the Social Security Act).

11.55 Item 26 makes a minor consequential amendment to subsection 620(1) of the Social Security Act resulting from the insertion of new subsection 620(5) (discussed below).

11.56 Item 27 adds new subsection 620(5) of the Social Security Act. This new subsection provides that current subsection 620(1) of the Social Security Act does not apply to a person during the period covered by new subsection 646(2) (discussed below). In summary, current subsection 620(1) of the Social Security Act provides that a person is (with some exceptions) subject to an ordinary waiting period. This ordinary waiting period lasts for seven days and a person cannot be paid jobseeker payment during this seven-day period.

11.57 Item 28 adds new subsection 623A(10) of the Social Security Act. This new subsection provides that the newly arrived resident's waiting period does not apply to a person during the period covered by new subsection 646(2) (discussed below).

11.58 Item 29 adds new subsection 633(7) to the Social Security Act. This new subsection provides that subsection 633(2) of the Social Security Act does not apply to a person during the period covered by new subsection 646(2) (discussed below). Current subsection 633(2) of the Social Security Act provides that if, at any time during the six months immediately before the day on which a person lodges a claim for jobseeker payment, the person (or their partner), has been engaged in seasonal work the person is (with some exceptions) subject to a seasonal work preclusion period.

11.59 Item 30 inserts new section 646 to the Social Security Act.

11.60 New subsection 646(1) increases a person's rate of jobseeker payment by the amount of the Coronavirus supplement.

11.61 New subsection 646(2) provides for a date that the Coronavirus ceases. This period ceases at the end of an initial period of six months beginning on the day on which this new section 646 commences unless the period is extended.

11.62 New subsection 646(3) enables the Minister to extend the initial period or an extended period multiple times by a period not exceeding three months. The Minister must be satisfied that the extension is in response to circumstances relating to the Coronavirus.

11.63 New subsection 646(4) provides that the amount of the Coronavirus supplement is $550 per fortnight unless an amount is determined under new subsection 646(5).

11.64 New subsection 646(5) provides that the Minister may, by legislative instrument, determine an amount for the purposes of new paragraph 646(4)(b). The instrument is disallowable.

11.65 New subsection 646(6) provides that for any extension period, the amount of the Coronavirus supplement is to be worked out in accordance with a determination made by the Minister under new subsection 646(7).

11.66 New subsection 646(7) provides that the Minister may make a determination for the purposes of new subsection 646(5) in a legislative instrument. The instrument is disallowable.

11.67 New subsection 646(8) provides that, without limiting new subsection 646(7), the determination may provide that the amount of the Coronavirus per fortnight is nil for specified persons.

11.68 Item 31 makes a minor consequential amendment to subsection 654(3) of the Social Security Act to insert a reference to new subsection 646 (discussed above).

11.69 Item 32 makes minor consequential amendments to paragraphs 654(5)(d) and (6)(b) of the Social Security Act resulting from the insertion of new subsection 646 (discussed below).

11.70 Item 33 adds a new subsection 680(4) of the Social Security Act. This new subsection provides that the assets test under section 680 does not apply to a person during the period covered by new subsection 646(2) (discussed above).

11.71 Item 34 adds a new section 710 of the Social Security Act.

11.72 New subsection 710(1) increases a person's rate of sickness allowance by the amount of the Coronavirus supplement.

11.73 New subsection 710(2) provides that the amount of the Coronavirus supplement is $550 per fortnight unless an amount is determined under new subsection new paragraph 710(3).

11.74 New subsection 710(3) provides that the Minister may, by legislative instrument, determine an amount for the purposes of new paragraph 710(2)(b). The instrument is disallowable.

11.75 Item 35 adds new subsection 739A(10) of the Social Security Act. This new subsection provides that the newly arrived resident's waiting period under subsections 739A(1) and (2) does not apply to a person during the period covered by new subsection 646(2) (discussed above).

11.76 Item 36 introduces new subsection 745M(4) of the Social Security Act. This new subsection provides that the seasonal worker preclusion period under section 745M of the Social Security Act does not apply to a person during the period covered by new subsection 646(2) (discussed above).

11.77 Item 37 adds new section 1061JIA of the Social Security Act. This new section contains a new category of crisis payment. A person qualifies for a crisis payment under new subsection 1061JIA(1) if:

on the day the claim for crisis payment is made, the person has made a claim (whether on the same day or an earlier day) for a social security pension or benefit and qualified for the underlying pension or benefit (see new subsection 1061JIA(1)(a)); and
the person satisfies the requirements determined in a legislative instrument made under new subsection 1061JIA(2) (see new subsection 1061JIA(1)(b)).

11.78 New subsection 1061JIA(2) provides that the Minister may determine by legislative instrument the requirements for the purposes of new paragraph 1061JIA(1)(b). The Minister must be satisfied that the requirements in the instrument relate to a national health emergency. The instrument is disallowable.

11.79 New subsection 1061JIA(3) provides that, without limiting new subsection 1061JIA(2), the requirements may depend on the Secretary being satisfied of one or more specified matters.

11.80 Item 38 makes a consequential amendment to section 1061JL resulting from the inserting of new section 1061JIA. The intention is that a person does not qualify under new section 1061JIA if the person has qualified and is payable for crisis payment under the ABSTUDY scheme in respect of the same circumstance.

11.81 Item 39 introduces a new section 1210B, which allows the Minister for Families and Social Services by legislative instrument to extend the supplement to other social security payments that are not covered by specific provisions applying the supplement. The instrument is disallowable and may only be made by the Minister in response to circumstances relating to COVID-19. The Minister may determine the amount of the supplement in the instrument. Section 1210B will cease to apply at the end of the period covered by new subsection 646(2).

11.82 Item 40 is an application provision for the amendments made to the Social Security Act by this Part.

11.83 Sub-item 40(1) provides that new section 504 of the Social Security Act, as added by this Part, applies in relation to working out the rate of parenting payment for days occurring on or after the commencement of this item.

11.84 Sub-item 40(2) provides that new subsection 540BA(1) of the Social Security Act, as inserted by this Part, applies in relation to working out qualification for a Youth Allowance (other) in respect of a period beginning on or after the commencement of this item.

11.85 Sub-item 40(3) provides that new section 557 of the Social Security Act, as inserted by this Part, applies in relation to working out the rate of Youth Allowance (other) for days occurring on or after the commencement of this item.

11.86 Sub-item 40(4) provides that new subsection 593(5) of the Social Security Act, as inserted by this Part, applies in relation to working out qualifications for a jobseeker payment in respect of a period beginning on or after the commencement of this item.

11.87 Sub-item 40(5) provides that new section 646 of the Social Security Act, as inserted by this Part, applies in relation to working out the rate of jobseeker payment for days occurring on or after the commencement of this item.

11.88 Sub-item 40(6) provides that the amendments made to section 654 of the Social Security Act made by this Part, apply when working out the rate of jobseeker payment for days occurring on or after the commencement of this item.

11.89 Sub-item 40(7) provides that new section 710, as inserted by this Part, applies in relation to working out the rate of sickness allowance for days occurring on or after the commencement of this item.

Amendments to the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Simplifying Income Reporting and Other Measures) Act 2020

11.90 Item 41 amends the commencement section of the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Simplifying Income Reporting and Other Measures) Act 2020 (section 2) to provide that this Act commences on a single day to be fixed by Proclamation. The new commencement section further provides that if a Proclamation is not made by 1 July 2021, the Act commences on 1 July 2021.

11.91 The effect of this amendment is to allow for a delay of the commencement of the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Simplifying Income Reporting and Other Measures) Act 2020 which would, in the absence of this amendment, commence on 1 July 2020. The flexibility created by the Proclamation power will allow for the commencement date to be set taking into account the effect of the Coronavirus on Services Australia resources and recipients of income support.

Application and transitional provisions

11.92 Item 40 is an application provision for the amendments made to the Social Security Act by this Part.

11.93 Sub-item 21(1) provides that new section 504 of the Social Security Act, as added by this Part, applies in relation to working out the rate of parenting payment for days occurring on or after the commencement of this item.

11.94 Sub-item 21(2) provides that new subsection 540BA(1) of the Social Security Act, as inserted by this Part, applies in relation to working out qualification for a Youth Allowance (other) in respect of a period beginning on or after the commencement of this item.

11.95 Sub-item 21(3) provides that new section 557 of the Social Security Act, as inserted by this Part, applies in relation to working out the rate of Youth Allowance (other) for days occurring on or after the commencement of this item.

11.96 Sub-item 21(4) provides that new subsection 593(5) of the Social Security Act, as inserted by this Part, applies in relation to working out qualification for a jobseeker payment in respect of a period beginning on or after the commencement of this item.

11.97 Sub-item 21(5) provides that new section 646 of the Social Security Act, as inserted by this Part, applies in relation to working out the rate of jobseeker payment for days occurring on or after the commencement of this item.


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