Centrelink Newstart Program
If you’re unemployed and looking for work, you could be eligible for Centrelink’s Newstart Allowance payments. This could be of great help if you’re undergoing a study or training course that could improve your employability.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, there were almost 200,000 short-term recipients of Newstart Allowance payments and more than 300,000 long-term recipients. These people receive more than $6 billion in Newstart Allowance payments annually.
You could be eligible for Newstart Allowance if you’re an Australian resident between 22 years of age and pension age (between 64 ½ and 65, depending on your gender and year of birth). You must be looking for paid work. You have to be willing to join the Employment Pathway Plan and meet activity test requirementss. You must not be in the midst of an industrial action.
You also have to meet the income and assets test to receive Newstart Allowance payments. The more income or asset you have, the less payments you can qualify for.
Once you’re approved for Newstart Allowance, you usually have to wait for one week before you start receiving payments.
The amount of each payment receive depends on various factors. If you’re single, you could get up to $492.60 every two weeks if you have no children or up to $533 if you have at least one dependent child. If you’re at least 60 years of age and have been receiving Newstart Allowance payments for at least nine continuous months, you could get up to $533 every two weeks. If you have a partner, you could receive up to $444.70 every two weeks.
The payment amounts usually go up over time. Centrelink adjusts the payment amounts twice a year in March and September to keep up with inflation.
As a Newstart Allowance recipient, you also get access to employment services, which are designed to help you get a job, especially if you’ve been laid off or you’re a young adult.
Applying for Newstart Allowance
If you believe you qualify for Newstart Allowance, you can register an intent to claim through the Department of Human Services website, over the phone at 132 850 or face-to-face at one of the Department of Human Services Service Centre.
A Customer Service Officer will contact you soon after your registration to collect your personal information and make sure that you meet all the eligibility requirements.