Centrelink JobSeeker Payment: new changes
We outline how changes to the mutual obligation requirements impact JobSeeker recipients.Posted: July 12, 2022
From 1 July 2022, Centrelink debt repayments are starting again
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
If a person receives a Centrelink/DVA Carer Payment or Carer Allowance for a period that includes 1 July 2022, they receive:
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.
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 workforceaustralia.gov.au 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:
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:
Accruing a points bank
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