Centrelink JobSeeker Payment: new changes

We outline how changes to the mutual obligation requirements impact JobSeeker recipients.

Centrelink news

From 1 July 2022, Centrelink debt repayments are starting again
In 2021, Centrelink paused a range of debt activities for people in areas impacted by COVID-19 lock downs and disaster events.

From 1 July 2022, the debt pause is ending. This will happen gradually depending on whether a person has a new or existing debt.

Read here for more information


Annual payments for carers start 5 July 2022
From 5 July, eligible carers will be paid Carer Supplement.

If a person receives a Centrelink/DVA Carer Payment or Carer Allowance for a period that includes 1 July 2022, they receive:

  • Carer Supplement of up to $600 for each eligible person in their care
  • Child Disability Assistance Payment of up to $1,000 for each eligible child younger than 16 in their care.

Payments will automatically be made between 5 July and 2 August 2022.

Centrelink JobSeeker Payment: new changes

A major overhaul of Centrelink’s JobSeeker Payment will take place on 1 July 2022, impacting approximately 800,0001 Australians currently receiving payment. If you are currently receiving JobSeeker Payment or applying in the future, having this knowledge will help you understand your ability to meet eligibility criteria and/or retain the payment on an ongoing basis. In this article, we detail the upcoming changes highlighting how you may be impacted and we breakdown how the JobSeeker Payment works.


Upcoming changes
On 1 July 2022, people who are required to complete mutual obligations will transition to a new Points Based Activation System (PBAS).

From 4 July 2022, jobactive (the Government’s main employment services program) will be replaced by a new service called Workforce Australia. You will be able to sign into using their existing jobactive account details from this date.


What are the mutual obligation requirements?
Mutual obligation requirements are tasks and activities a person agrees to do while getting certain payments including JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance (other), Parenting Payment (when their youngest child turns 6) and special benefit.

Depending on your circumstances, you may be required to:

  • Enter into a Job Plan,
  • Do all the tasks and activities listed in their Job Plan,
  • Go to appointments with their employment services provider,
  • Complete and report job searches,
  • Go to all job interviews,
  • Accept any offer of suitable paid work,
  • Not leave a job, training course or program without a valid reason.

If you do not meet the mutual obligation requirements, suspension, demerits or financial penalties may apply.


Not all recipients need to search for work
There are several reasons why a Centrelink client may not be required to search for work. In some cases where people are expected to work but not full-time, JobSeeker Payment functions as an income supplement for part time workers. In some circumstances such as serious illness, recipients are not expected to work at all. Circumstances where you may not be required to look for work include:

  • Disability – have been assessed as having a partial capacity to work, meaning you are only required to work or study for a limited number of hours per week.
  • Sickness – if your are temporarily incapacitated due to illness or injury. These exemptions can be long-term where a recipient has cancer, severe stroke or serious burns.
  • Principal carer of a child under 16 – mutual obligation requirements can be met by participating in 30 hours per fortnight of any combination of paid work, study or in some circumstances, voluntary work.
  • Mature age – in the first 12 months on payment, recipients aged 55 to 59 can generally meet their mutual obligation requirements by engaging in 30 hours per fortnight of activities including paid work, self-employment, or approved voluntary work. Some recipients must engage in at least 15 hours of paid work to meet this requirement. After 12 months on payment, you can satisfy your mutual obligation requirements if you undertake at least 30 hours per fortnight of approved voluntary work, paid work or any combination of these activities. People who are aged 60 and over can satisfy the obligations by undertaking at least 30 hours of approved voluntary work, paid work or a combination of the two.

1 Australian Government, Department of Social Services, JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance recipients – monthly profile (May 2022).

A new points-based system
The changes to mutual obligations requirements incorporate a number of recommendations from a February 2019 report, Jobactive: failing those it is intended to serve. The introduction of PBAS system was noted in the Government’s response based on detailed consultation with approx. 1400 stakeholders including employment service providers, industry representatives and peak bodies.The points-based activation system (PBAS) being implemented on 1 July 2022 aims to provide:

  • Greater flexibility as a job seeker can choose how do to meet their requirements, rather than a set number of monthly job searches,
  • Independence and empowerment as job seekers are encouraged to do activities that earn points for their participation,
  • A focus on rewarding participation rather than on compliance,
  • A simpler process to meet requirements overall.

Each month (the points reporting period) job seekers will need to earn a set number of points (generally 100) to meet their mutual obligation requirements in return for JobSeeker Payment. Those impacted will have to do a minimum of five job searches per month plus a range of additional recognised activities to reach required points.

If there are special circumstances, your points target, or minimum job search may be reduced based on your circumstances.

There is a list of more than 30 tasks and activities that each carry their own individual points value including:

    • 5 points per job search task,
    • 5 points per 5 hours of paid work,
    • 20 points for starting a job, and
    • 15 points per week (part-time) or 20 points per week (full-time) of education and training.


Accruing a points bank
If you reach your points target and complete additional tasks/activities during the month, extra points will go into your points bank (capped at half of the points target) for use the following month. For example, if your points target is 100 you can bank up to 50 points which can be used next month. For more information on the PBAS, visit the JobSearch website.

Important Information

The information provided on this website is general in nature. We have not considered your financial circumstances, needs or objectives and you should seek the assistance of your Australian Unity Personal Financial Services (AUPFS) authorised representative before you make any decision regarding any strategy or financial products mentioned on this website. Whilst all care has been taken in the preparation of this material, no warranty is given in respect of the information provided and accordingly neither AUPFS nor its related entities, employees or agents shall be liable on any ground whatsoever with respect to decisions or actions taken as a result of you acting upon such information.

The trustee for Plus 7 Financial Management trust trading as Plus 7 Financial Management ABN 11 211 901 965 is a corporate authorised representative (no. 1007915) of Australian Unity Personal Financial Services LTD (AUPFS) ABN 26 098 725 145, an Australian Financial Service Licence Holder (AFSL No. 234459).

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