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Accessing Centrelink during COVID-19

A simple step-by-step guide to see if you are eligible for assistance, and if so, how to access it.

updated Thursday, 2nd of April, 2020

Start here...

Are you already receiving a Centrelink payment?

YesNo

Do you have a myGov account?

YesNo

Is your myGov account linked* to Medicare or the Australian Taxation Office (ATO)? * Check by logging into your myGov account and clicking on "Services" in the dashbar to see which services have been linked.

YesNo

Great, now you're all set up. If you have received Centrelink payments before you will already have a Centrelink Reference Number (CRN). You can find your CRN on Centrelink letters and concession cards. It is a 9 digit number that ends with a capital letter. Keep this handy for later. However, you no longer need a CRN to register your intention to apply for a payment - Centrelink will contact you to set this up later if you don't already have one

Next

As a result of COVID-19 or the economic downturn have any of the following happened to you:

• Been stood down
• Lost your job
• Had shifts cut
• Lost or reduced work to care for young children
• Lost work due to self-isolation

YesNo

Have your circumstances changed as a result of COVID-19 or the economic downturn? (E.g. have you been stood down, lost your job or had shifts cut?)

YesNo

Note: If you have lost your job or been stood down on or after 1 March 2020 your employer may be eligible for the "JobKeeper" payment. This is a government payment to allow employers to keep on employees and pay them at least $1500 per fortnight. Speak to your employer about this option.

If you are self-employed you may also be eligible. Find out more here. In the meantime, you may still be eligible for a Centrelink payment.

Are you already receiving a JobSeeker (formerly Newstart) or a Youth Allowance job seeker payment?

YesNo

Sounds like you may be eligible for a job seeker payment.

Register your intention to claim

  1. Youth Allowance (for job seekers) if you are between 16 - 21 years
  2. JobSeeker Payment if you are between 22 or the age Pension Age (66 or older)
  3. Parenting Payment if you are a young child's main carer

Note: anyone receiving these payments will receive the temporary Coronavirus Supplement which is an extra $550 a fortnight payment on top of your income support payment.

You must lodge your intention to claim before April 13 to receive the first of two $750 one-off economic support payments.

Go to myGov to log in and get started.

If you have lost your job or been stood down on or after 1 March 2020 your employer may be eligible for the "JobKeeper" payment. This is a government payment to allow employers to keep on employees and pay them at least $1500 per fortnight. Speak to your employer about this option.

If you are self-employed you may also be eligible. Find out more here. In the meantime, you may still be eligible for a Centrelink payment and should register your intention to claim.

You do not need to give Centrelink a bank statement, employment separation certificate or letter from your employer. Just lodge your intention to claim online and Centrelink will be in touch with you if they need more information.

You may be eligible for another type of Centrelink payment. Go to the Centrelink website to see what support you may be eligible for.

You can also check out the fact sheets here or call your local community legal centre for more advice.

You will need to log in to myGov to link your account. You can follow the tutorial to link your account to Medicare here or to the ATO here.

Once you have done this, click 'Yes' in the question above to continue.

Go to myGov to register for an account. You will need an email address to register.

Once you've set up the account click 'Yes' in the question above to continue.

Update Centrelink to your change in circumstances

(e.g. if your or your partner's income has changed or you have had shifts cut)

Centrelink is experiencing long delays. Please do not go to your local Centrelink office, instead:

  1. Online: you can update your change in circumstances through your myGov account
  2. Phone: if you cannot access your myGov account then you can phone Centrelink but be prepared to wait on hold

You will automatically receive:

  1. The Coronavirus supplement*
  2. $750 one-off economic support payment(s)**

* an additional, temporary payment of $550 per fortnight to people receiving certain payments. Check if you are eligible here.

** You will receive the first $750 payment if you are receiving an eligible payment between 12 March and 13 April 2020. Click here to check if you are eligible. You will receive a second payment if you are receiving an eligible payment but are not in receipt of the Coronavirus Supplement

Find out more here.

Sounds like you may be eligible for a job seeker payment.

Register your intention to Claim

  1. Youth Allowance (for job seekers) if you are between 16 - 21 years
  2. JobSeeker Payment if you are between 22 or the age Pension Age (66 or older)
  3. Parenting Payment if you are a young child's main carer

Note: anyone receiving these payments will receive the temporary Coronavirus Supplement which is an extra $550 a fortnight payment on top of your income support payment.

You must lodge your intention to claim before April 13 to receive the first of two $750 one-off economic support payments.

Go to myGov to log in and get started.

Note: You do not need to give Centrelink a bank statement, employment separation certificate or letter from your employer. Just lodge your intention to claim online and Centrelink will be in touch with you if they need more information.

Do Nothing.

You will automatically receive:

  1. The Coronavirus supplement*
  2. $750 one-off economic support payment(s)**

* an additional, temporary payment of $550 per fortnight to people receiving certain payments. Check if you are eligible here.

** You will receive the first $750 payment if you are receiving an eligible payment between 12 March and 13 April 2020. Click here to check if you are eligible. You will receive a second payment if you are receiving an eligible payment but are not in receipt of the Coronavirus Supplement

Find out more here.

Note: Mutual obligation requirements for the JobSeeker payment, Youth Allowance as a job seeker or Parenting Payment have been suspended until 27 April 2020.