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If you are unemployed and receiving a payment from Centrelink, there are things you need to do to keep getting your payments and to improve your chances of finding work. Many Australians now receiving unemployment benefits have never had to meet mutual obligations before, so may not be aware of the process.

Due to COVID-19 and in some areas of Australia, the bushfire crisis, mutual obligations for jobseekers and recipients of Youth Allowance, Parenting Payment Single and Special Benefits paid under certain conditions, have been suspended for 3 to 6 months.  

From 9 June, these obligations started again in a limited capacity. This blog shares what it all means.
If it is easier to talk to someone about this please call us: 1800 029 904. Our Information Officers are happy to help.

What do I need to do?

For now, if you receive any of the payments listed above, you will need to attend at least one appointment with your employment services provider. Payment suspensions and penalties do not currently apply though if you do fail to meet your mutual obligations. To limit the spread of COVID-19, many of these appointments can be made online or over the phone.

Your employment services or disability employment services (DES) provider will contact you to make an appointment.

You still need to tell Services Australia about changes to your circumstances and report your income.

You should attend job interviews or accept suitable work if offered to you. Many businesses are opening back up after the lockdown period and may be looking to hire new employees.

The Australian Government has promised to repay 470.000 people it unlawfully collected debts from between 2016 and 2019. Service Australia will refund $ 721 million from July. Read more about the Robodebt Rollback.

What can my provider do?

Your employment or disability employment service provider can help you with training, upskilling and employment. Your provider will help you create a Job Plan which includes searching for jobs and other approved activities such as training, upskilling, resume building, interview, and self-presentation skills.

For more information, contact your employment services provider or search our online directory for services in your area.

When will penalties apply?

We are not sure when the Government will reintroduce penalties and payment suspensions for failing to meet mutual obligation requirements. Due to the drastic increase in people receiving unemployment benefits, they have opted to reintroduce the obligations slowly for now.

What we do know is that the JobKeeper Payment and Coronavirus Supplement, which has nearly doubled unemployment benefits during the COVID crisis, are both due to end in September.

For more information, go to Services Australia - Mutual obligation requirements.

Read our resource on What you need to know about Centrelink and COVID-19.





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