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COVID-19 Financial Support Resources

Information concerning financial support and recovery assistance is very dynamic and frequently being updated. Below is a snapshot of current resources available to assist with member enquiries. We will continue to monitor and update as new information comes to hand.

Health Information - including restrictions and operational guidance can be found via this article: https://vfbv.com.au/index.php/component/k2/item/784-covid-19 

Updated 9th April 2020 to include updated information on Job Keeper payment; small business; land tax and childcare. 

Loss of employment

If you’ve lost employment or income you can apply for JobSeeker Payment (Formerly Newstart) which is $565 per fortnight for people who are single and without children.  The rate varies if you have a partner or dependents.  Visit: https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/jobseeker-payment 

If you’re able to receive JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance, Austudy, Abstudy Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance or Special Benefit an additional $565 will be paid each fortnight from 27 April for at least six months.

The government has temporarily expanded eligibility for the JobSeeker and Youth Allowance payments, meaning you may be eligible if you are:

  • A permanent employee who has been stood down or lost your job
  • A sole trader, self-employed, a casual or contract worker whose income has reduced
  • Caring for someone who’s affected by COVID-19.
     

Sole traders and casual workers who are currently making less than $1,075 a fortnight will be eligible to receive the full supplement.

If you are already receiving one of the above welfare payments, you do not need to do anything. Services Australia will automatically pay the Coronavirus Supplement to eligible recipients from April 27.

Visit: https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/news/more-financial-support-coronavirus-affected-job-seekers for further information.


Job Keeper Payment

Businesses impacted by the Coronavirus will be able to access a wage subsidy from the Government to continue paying their employees. Affected employers will be able to claim a fortnightly payment of $1,500 per eligible employee from 30 March 2020, for a maximum of 6 months. Eligible employees will receive a minimum of $1,500 per fortnight, before tax. It will be up to the employer if they want to pay superannuation on any additional wage paid because of JobKeeper Payments.

If you ordinarily receive $1,500 or more in income per fortnight before tax, you will continue to receive your regular income according to the prevailing workplace arrangements. The JobKeeper Payments   will subsidise part or all of your income.

  • If you ordinarily receive less than $1,500 in income per fortnight before tax, your employer must pay you, at a minimum, $1,500 per fortnight, before tax.
  • If you have been stood down, your employer must pay you, at a minimum, $1,500 per fortnight, before tax.
  • If you were employed on 1 March 2020, subsequently ceased employment and then were re-engaged by the same eligible employer, you will receive, at a minimum, $1,500 per fortnight, before tax.
  • Are at least 16 years of age.
  • Are an Australian citizen, the holder of a permanent visa, a protected special category visa, a non-protected special category visa who has been residing continually in Australia for 10 years or more, or a New Zealander on a special category (subclass 444) visa
  • Your partner earns less than $79,762

Payment will begin in May and will be backdated to 30 March

Visit: https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/jobkeeper 

 

Household assistance

Two $750 payments will be made to anyone receiving government payments including family tax benefit or is a Commonwealth Senior Card holder.  The first payment,  will made from 31 March and the second payment, from 13 July.

 

Pensioners

The deeming rates, which are used for the pension income assessment, will be reduced by another 0.25 percentage points to reflect the latest rate reductions by the Reserve Bank of Australia.  Beginning in early May, the lower deeming rate will be 0.25 per cent and the upper deeming rate will be 2.25 per cent.


Small businesses and not-for-profits.

Small businesses and NFPs with employees and a turnover under $50 million will receive a tax-free cash payment of up to $100,000 to help them keep staff and continue operations. This will generally be based on the previous financial year’s income. 

Assistance is also available for businesses to make investments, write-off assets and to support apprentices & trainees.

For further information on how this will be paid and your eligibility visit: https://treasury.gov.au/coronavirus/businesses 

The Victorian State Government has announced a relief package for businesses that includes changes to payroll tax, hardship payments and grants to industries badly impacted or affected by the state’s shutdown rules.

For More information visit: https://www.sro.vic.gov.au/coronavirus 

 

Land tax deferral

Land owners due to pay 2020 land tax that have at least one non-residential property and total taxable landholdings below $1 million have the option of deferring their 2020 land tax payment until after 31 December 2020.

The State Revenue Office will contact all taxpayers who are eligible for this deferral.

 


Superannuation

individuals financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to access $10,000 of their super this financial year, and another $10,000 next financial year.

This withdrawal will be tax-free, and will have no baring on your current Centrelink payments.

From mid-April 2020, eligible individuals will be able to apply online through www.my.gov.au to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation before July 1, 2020. They will also be able to access up to a further $10,000 from July 1, 2020, for approximately three months.

To be eligible, you must satisfy one or more of the following requirements:

  • You are unemployed
  • You are eligible to receive a job seeker payment, youth allowance for jobseekers, parenting payment, special benefit or farm household allowance
  • On or after January 1, 2020, either:
    You were made redundant
    Your working hours were reduced by 20 per cent or more
    If you are a sole trader, your business was suspended or there was a reduction in your turnover of 20 per cent or more.

 

Childcare

On 2 April 2020, the Australian Government announced the new Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package. From Monday 6 April 2020 weekly payments will be made directly to early childhood education and care services in lieu of the Child Care Subsidy and the Additional Child Care Subsidy, to help them keep their doors open and employees in their jobs.


Payments will be made until 28 June 2020 and families will not be charged fees during this time. These payments will complement the JobKeeper Payment announced by the Prime Minister on 30 March 2020. Early childhood education and child care services do not need to apply for the payments, they will be paid automatically. 

https://www.dese.gov.au/news/covid-19-early-childhood-education-and-care-relief-package-monday-6-april-additional-support 

 

Financial Counselling

Financial counsellors are professionals, regulated by federal legislation and employed by not for profit community organisations. They provide information, advice and advocacy support free of charge, assisting people in dealing with life situations involving debt and hardship, dealing with creditors, and stabilising finances. The National Debt Helpline is staffed by financial counsellors and can be contacted on 1800 007 007

Free financial counselling services can be found at:

https://ndh.org.au/ - National Debt Helpline – 1800 007 007

https://www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/drought/assistance/rural-financial-counselling-service - Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS) - 1800 900 090

https://www.financialcounsellingaustralia.org.au/ - Financial Counselling Australia – (03) 8554 6979

 

VFBV Welfare Fund

Operating since 1913, the Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria welfare Fund provides fast small grants to CFA volunteers, long serving former volunteers and their families, who are experiencing significant financial hardship.  Typical cases involve prolonged illness, bereavement, loss of earnings, or the accommodation and travel costs associated with supporting a relative in hospital.

The Welfare Fund is run under Australian Tax Office rules, independently audited, and grant decisions are made by a committee of long serving CFA volunteers. The Fund has helped close to 1,200 volunteers, with more than $1.8 million in grants made over the years.

Under Australian Taxation rules, the fund is required to assess an applicant is in 'necessitous circumstances', and therefor the fund is required to conduct a financial assessment of each applicants situation which is contained within the application form. One on one support is available to assist members and brigades with this process, and all applications are strictly confidential to protect the dignity and privacy of the individual.   

In addition to the normal grant process, and during the current pandemic, the Welfare Fund is also providing personal support and assistance with the linking of members with available financial support and assistance. Providing current and up-to-date information on available grants and personal support with applying and arranging for grant payments. The fund is also supporting members with any expenses not covered by existing Government support to best assist members getting back on their feet.

The VFBV Welfare Fund is:

  • Available to all members and long serving ex-members and their families of subscribing Brigades
  • Contact the VFBV Welfare Fund Secretary on (03) 9886 1141 or your VFBV Support Officer or State Councillor to discuss eligibility and application process.

 

Member Welfare and Support

Support services are available to provide you additional support:

CFA WELLBEING SUPPORT LINE

1800 959 232

Providing CFA members and their immediate family access to 24 hour support 7 days a week.

Psychologists – Counsellors – Peer Support - Chaplains

 

Lifeline:  13 11 14 - provides crisis support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

 

Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636 - to talk with a trained mental health professional.

 

 

Read 5599 times Last modified on Tuesday, 18 August 2020 11:38
CFA Volunteers are the unpaid professionals of our Emergency Services. VFBV is their united voice, and speaks on behalf of Victoria's 60,000 CFA Volunteers.

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