JobSeeker Payment vs JobKeeper Payment – What you need to know


  • The Jobseeker payment is only available to Australian citizens, permanent residents and New Zealand citizens that have been residing in Australia for over 10 years.
  • You apply for it yourself through Centrelink online at MyGov
  • The Government has revamped Newstart which was an income support payment and renamed it JobSeeker payment. They have expanded it to include permanent employees who’ve been stood down, sole traders, self-employed, casual workers, and contractors.
  • You must have had a significant impact to your income to be eligible.This just isn’t for everyone. You need to have either been stood down or if you’re a sole trader, you need to have a 30% reduction in revenue or income that’s coming into your business, or jobs that you’re getting. Or be able to show that coronavirus has had quite a major impact on your current ability to earn an income.
  • Your income and your partner income will be taken into account. Your partner must earn less than $79,600 per annum to be eligible.
  • Other payments that they’re going to take into account as well is if you’re receiving sick pay, if you have annual leave pay that’s currently being paid, or if you’re on any form of like an insurance payment. If you’re claiming an income protection payment at the moment, and you’re currently being paid, then they’re going to take this income into account.
  • Other biggest thing to remember with this as well, which isn’t something people are going to think about at the moment, is that you’re going to have to pay tax on this come the end of financial year. It’s a payment that’s made to you before tax, and if this continues for quite some time, you’re going to be paid before tax and at the end of the financial year, if you do your tax yourself or you sit down with your accountant, this is going to be income that’s added onto your income tax and you’re going to be taxed on it.

If you are eligible what do you get?

  • You will receive approximately $1,100 per fortnight and if you’re renting, you can also apply for rent assistance as well. The JobSeeker payment is $550 a fortnight, and then there’s a coronavirus supplement of $550 that’ll be paid as well.


To make the application process easier they’ve already reduced a lot of the previous assessments for people that were claiming this, such as the asset test, there’s no longer a waiting period. Like we said, it’s still income assessed, and so

But please do note that none of these payments are going to start until possibly around about the 27th of April, especially for the coronavirus supplement payment. While they’re trying to get as many applications through at the moment, and they will most likely backdate it to the day that you were first off, nothing’s going to be paid very quickly.

If you find you are not eligible for the JobSeeker payment. The Government has also created the JobKeeper payment you can read more about it here


  • Eligibility: you have to be an Australian citizen and you have to be residing in Australia at this moment in time. You can be a holder of a permanent visa, you can have a protected special category visa holder, or a non-protected special category visa holder, who has been residing continually in Australia for 10 years or more, or a special category subclass 444 visa holder. This is really aimed at New Zealanders.
  • Different from the JobSeeker payment, the JobKeeper payment is for employers so they are able to continue paying their employees. You need to be currently working for your employer or were employed by your work at 1st March 2020. This includes anyone that was stood down or rehired since then.
  • You need to be a full time or part time employee OR
  • If you are a casual worker you need to of been employed by the same employer for over 12 months.
  • It is important to understand that you cannot receive both payments. 
  • You can only get paid JobKeeper payment from one employer.
  • If you’ve applied for JobSeeker, and you’re going to start claiming JobSeeker, you need to get in touch with your employer and ask your employer if they’re going to apply for JobKeeper and if you’re eligible for it. When Centrelink phones you to confirm your JobSeeker application they can help you determine which payment would be better for you.
  • The JobKeeper payment is something that your employer will apply for, and they’ll let you know about this. If you’ve been stood down from work, what can happen is your employer can apply to the government for an eligible payment of $1500 per night, per employee. This wage subsidy package has been budgeted for 6 months.

What you are entitled to:

Your employer gets paid the $1,500 per eligible employee per fortnight. Make sure they are holding your tax.

If you currently earn less than $1,500 with that employer they have to pay you the $1,500 minimum. An important reminder this is before tax. So they will be withholding the tax for you if that is how they previously have done it.  However, if you earn $2,000 a fortnight, they can choose to continue to pay you the $2,000 and just use the $1,500 to supplement that and give them a bit of relief, or they can reduce your hours down to $1,500 and just pay you what the $1,500 is. You will not receive Super on top of the $1,500 payment however if your employer pays you on top of the $1,500 you will get Superannuation on that.

Special Note for New Zealander’s:

New Zealanders, when you’re over here, you’re on special visas where you’re not a citizen, you can’t get things like Newstart and JobKeepers, and the family tax and everything like that, so this is aimed at you. I would say if you’re a kiwi and you haven’t been here for 10 years, I’d be getting on the phone to my employer and asking them to apply for this for you, if you’re eligible.

Important Note:

There’s a few other things that you have to have been working with them for more than 12 months, if you’re a casual and things like that, so get your employer to look at this and really dig into it, and find out what it actually allows you to have and whether or not you’re eligible. Once you know you’re eligible for this, that’s absolutely great, fantastic, you’re going to get this, brilliant. But if you’re not, then there might be a few other things that we can do.

Important Reminder: This payment from the Government will not be starting until May 2020. If you’re in a company that isn’t extremely large and has a lot of cash flow, there might still be a month’s worth of payment you’re going to have to go through, but you need to start getting on the front foot now, and finding out whether or not your employer’s going to be able to actually apply for this and if you are eligible.