JobSeeker: Current Centrelink Payment Rates and How to Apply

JobSeeker: Current Centrelink Payment Rates and How to Apply

New Centrelink rates were announced in March, meaning folks receiving support payments, like JobSeeker, saw a bit of a boost to their income to help battle the cost of living crisis (kind of). If this has you thinking it’s time to apply for JobSeeker support yourself, here is a quick and simple guide to getting that sorted and what you can expect from the payments.

As with any Centrelink support payment structure, you’ll need to visit Services Australia to start the application process for JobSeeker. Hop onto the website here to begin.

There are three eligibility rules you need to meet in order to be able to claim JobSeeker in Australia.

Those are:

  • you’re between 22 and Age Pension age
  • you meet residence rules
  • you meet the income and assets tests

You also need to be one of the following:

  • you’re unemployed and looking for work
  • you’re sick or injured and can’t do your usual work or study for a short time

It’s worth noting that as of September 20, 2023, single principal carers of children under the age of 14 have been transferred from JobSeeker across to the Parenting Payment Single (PPS) system instead.

Full eligibility details can be found here.

When you begin the claim process, you’ll be asked a number of questions like, ‘Are you claiming JobSeeker Payment for yourself?’ and ‘Do you want to claim online?’ Eventually, you’ll be asked if you have a myGov account connected to Centrelink and from here, you’ll be directed to the myGov system.

Once here, you’ll need to:

  • Sign in to myGov.
  • Select Make a claim or view claim status, then Make a claim.
  • Under Job Seekers select Get started.
  • Select Apply for JobSeeker Payment and follow the prompts to complete your claim.

What else do I need to know?

While you register for JobSeeker, keep in mind you’ll be asked for certain documentation to support your claim.

This might include details like your Tax File Number, Financial statement and an employment separation certificate or payslips. Read on about this here.

It’s also worth noting that, if you need to, you can begin your JobSeeker application process as much as 13 weeks before your working situation is altered, and you can officially submit the claim 14 days before your circumstances change.

After you process your claim online, you’ll be provided a receipt with an ID number and the estimated date your claim will be completed.

How much is the JobSeeker payment in 2024?

First things first. The rate you are eligible to receive will change depending on the following:

  • if you have a partner
  • if you have children
  • your age
  • how much income you and your partner have been paid in the past 14 days

Rates for JobSeeker Payments are updated twice annually on March 20 and September 20.

At present, the breakdown of payment rates is as follows:

Your situationYour maximum fortnightly payment from 20 March 2024
Single, no children$762.70
Single, with a dependent child or children$816.90
Single, 55 or older, after 9 continuous months on an income support payment$816.90
Single principal carer granted an exemption from mutual obligation requirements for any of the following: foster caring non-parent relative caring under a court order home schooling distance education large family.$987.70
Via Services Australia

The most recent indexation was applied to these rates on March 20 with payments going up between $12.30 to $17.50 per fortnight.

You can find more on this via the Department of Social Services here.

Is the JobSeeker payment enough?

There have been calls for the government to increase JobSeeker rates further after Anglicare’s most recent cost-of-living index found a significant shortfall between what welfare recipients are receiving and what the current economic climate is demanding.

The report draws on household data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics to determine the weekly average costs of rent, transport and groceries and then compares this with the rate of income support payments. The results revealed that a single jobseeker recipient under the age of 35, living in a sharehouse, had only $127 of income left over each week, which doesn’t factor in other payments like phone or internet bills. This would make it next to impossible to move out of shared accommodation.

Meanwhile, the report found that a family of four on payments would fall short by $17 a week, while a single parent on the Parenting payment would have only $3 of leftover income per day.

Anglicare has called for the government to factor in wider cost of living pressures (like the rental and housing market) rather than just the consumer price index, when increasing payments.

There are some other payments set to rise as a result of the federal budget on July 1 which you can read up on here.

Lead Image Credit: iStock

This article has been updated with additional information.

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