“The tourism operator I have been employed by for over a decade is now out of business because job keeper has ended, and I am now unemployed. I am 45 and single. I can access jobseeker while I look for work, but the amount does not cover even my rent. Can I access my super to make rental payments until I find work? Is there any other support I can access?”
-Bill in Cairns, QLD
Top answer provided by:
Thanks for raising this question Bill, as I know that there will be many thousands of Australians confronting a similar ‘newly unemployed’ situation as you now find yourself in with JobKeeper having recently come to an end.
As is the case in each person’s case, there are many factors that need to be considered in your situation. To be able to provide personal advice, we would need to establish what is your personal and financial situation. Accordingly, what follows is general information.
If you feel that you are not in a position to pay for personal advice from a professional adviser, you should consider making an appointment with your nearest Centrelink office to meet with one of the Financial Information Service officers, who should be able to assist with some of the information you are seeking. Their services are referenced on the Services Australia website on this linked page that also deals with aspects of your question.
You mention that you were employed by the one business for over a decade. When your employment was terminated you possibly had some employment entitlements paid out to you – or had entitlement to receive them. They could have included unused annual leave, unused long service leave and potentially, redundancy payment. As you have possibly discovered, there is an income maintenance period to be offset before you will start to receive the JobSeeker payment that will be assessed as due to you.
To help you through this period – and then beyond as the JobSeeker is inadequate for your current living costs – you ask about access to your superannuation. Because of the established conditions under which early access to your superannuation can be obtained, this would appear to not be possible in the circumstances as outlined by you.
It is, however, open to you to make a case to your superannuation provider for early release of funds if you can demonstrate to them that you are experiencing extreme financial hardship. You can read more about this provision on the Australian Taxation Office website page – Early access to your super – linked here; but please note that there will be quite a delay before eligibility can be established. (Whilst it is of no comfort to you, had we been answering this question prior to 31 December 2020, there was a temporary relief provided by the government related to COVID-19 relief – but that ended on the date mentioned.)
Centrelink does provide additional financial assistance for people entitled to JobSeeker payment, in eligible circumstances – and the relevant item in response to your question is the Rent allowance. You can read more about this allowance on this linked page on the Service Australia website.
The question as to whether there is any other support you can access (beyond those mentioned above through Centrelink), you could consider making enquiries in your local area as to community help organisations to meet needs such as –
- Food bank facilities
- Mental health counselling
- Financial counselling (and in certain circumstances, assistance); and
Some of these services are available through organisations such as The Salvation Army, and the St Vincent de Paul Society: they caringly and sensitively deliver them to needy members of the community, are not judgemental – and do not require any prior involvement with their organisations (or the institutions under which they operate).
I wish you well for a speedy return to employment.
While the Adviser Ratings Website facilitates the question and answer functionality, all such communications are between users and authorised financial advisers, of which Adviser Ratings has no affiliation. Adviser Ratings is not the advice provider and does not provide financial product advice and only provides information that is general in nature.