The Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment Coronavirus and Other Measures Bill 2020 received Royal Assent on 13 November 2020 as Act no 97 of 2020.

The Act implements the 2020–2021 Budget measure to pay two $250 Economic Support Payments for eligible income support recipients and concession card holders. These will be made from December 2020 and March 2021. The Act amends the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 (ITAA 1997) to ensure the payments are tax-exempt. They also do not count as income for social security purposes.

These additional cash payments follow the two $750 stimulus payments made in April and July 2020 for social security and veteran income support recipients and concession card holders.

Services Australia advises that the additional Economic Support Payments of $250 will be made to persons who get one of the following:

  • Age Pension;
  • Carer Allowance;
  • Carer Payment;
  • Commonwealth Seniors Health Card;
  • Disability Support Pension;
  • Double Orphan Pension;
  • Family Tax Benefit Part; or
  • Pensioner Concession Card.

However, the additional $250 Economic Support Payments will not be paid to any person who gets $1 or more of the Coronavirus Supplement.

To be eligible for the additional Economic Support Payments, a person must get an eligible payment (or have an eligible card) on:

  • 27 November 2020 to get the December 2020 payment; and
  • 26 February 2021 to get the March 2021 payment.

If a person claims Family Tax Benefit for 2020–2021 as a lump sum, they will get the payment with their lump sum. This will be after they've claimed and confirmed their income for the 2020–2021 financial year. Veteran income support recipients will receive the $250 payments from the Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA).

Other social security amendments

In addition, the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment Coronavirus and Other Measures Act 2020 makes temporary changes to the social security legislation regarding when a person may be regarded as independent for Youth Allowance purposes, and creates a temporary pathway for young people who are seeking to qualify as independent for Youth Allowance (Student) purposes. This is intended to encourage seasonal agricultural work.

The Act also introduces a revised Paid Parental Leave work test to acknowledge the impact of COVID-19. Assistance has also been improved for families affected by stillbirth and infant death in respect of payments for newborn children.

Source: https://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3pquery=Id%3A%22legislation%2Fbillhome%2Fr6611%22;  www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/economic-support-payment/who-can-get-it.