JobKeeper, we knew you so briefly. NOW WHAT?

If you are unsure of how best to proceed now that the stimulus is over, read on for more info.  

JobKeeper has ended, putting as many as 150,000 Australians at risk of unemployment. 

Though a drop from the peak of 3.8 million people relying on the payment last year, around 1.1 million Australians were still receiving the essential stimulus payments at the end of January this year. 

Much speculation has been made about what looms following JobKeeper’s end, but prominent economists are not currently concerned that a so-called “fiscal cliff” will occur. Westpac economist Besa Deda stated recently that December economic growth of 3.1%, a significant decline in the unemployment ratelow interest rates, infrastructure spending, soaring house prices and of course the vaccine roll” were factors in our economy coming out healthier as originally thought. Ms Deda said “Inevitably, there will be job losses in coming months and a temporary slowing in the recovery in the labour market. Of course, it is difficult to know precisely how many people will lose their jobs.”

But not everyone is convinced.

Dr Simone Casey, Senior Policy Advisor for Employment at ACOSS Australian Council of Social Service, wrote in The Conversation that as many as 2.6 million Australians relying on income support payments will be living below the poverty line next month.

According to Dr Casey’s research, the average renter on income support would only have $17.57 per day to meet basic costs after housing.

If you’re feeling cut-off from JobKeeper life support, here are some ways to manage your finances on a reduced income.

What government benefits am I still eligible for in the meantime?

If you are currently unemployed, you could apply for JobSeeker (not to be confused with its rhyming cousin) if you haven’t already.

As we’ve explored previously, your eligibility for JobSeeker depends on a few factors like your income and assets, your age and residency. You’ll need to prove that you’re actively looking for work by applying for 15 jobs a month be eligible. From July, that figure will increase to 20 jobs a month.

JobSeeker
If you’re single with a dependent child or children, you’ll be eligible to receive $667.50 a fortnight.
If you’re partnered, you’re eligible to receive $565.40 per fortnight.
If you’re single, 60 or older, after nine continuous months of payment you’re eligible to receive $667.50 per fortnight.
Single principal carers granted an exemption from mutual obligation requirements for foster caring, non-parent relative caring under a court order, home schooling, distance education, large family are eligible to receive $850.20 per fortnight.

You may also be eligible for rent assistance. You should also check out the Payment and Service Finder on the Australian Government services page, which shows you any government payment schemes you may be eligible for.

Chat to a professional for support

There are a number of services available to help you out if you’re concerned about JobKeeper ending.

You can talk to a financial adviser: there are government funded financial counselors and the National Debt Hotline on 1800 007 007 which are both free. Don’t forget you can chat to Walker Hill’s finance team if you are needing assistance, or even just need to be pointed in the right direction. 

If you have general questions or don’t know where to start, always be sure to reach out to Walker Hill

Review your mortgage and ask your bank for help

“Aussies shouldn’t carry the stress of high mortgage repayments during this transition period,” Ms Hogan said.

You can ask your bank (or ask your mortgage broker or finance specialist to ask your bank) whether they can adjust or extend your monthly repayments, or switch you to an interest-only repayment for the time being.

“The important thing is to ask for help as early as possible and not waiting until your payments are switched off or you’re about to miss your mortgage payment.”

You should also check the interest rate you are currently being charged on your mortgage, especially if you haven’t refinanced in a while. Interest rates on mortgages are now as low as 2-3% so if your rate is higher than this, you could be paying too much. Bear in mind that if you are recently unemployed, you may not be in the best position to bargain, but it could still be worth asking the question. Contact Walker Hill Finance for more info!