What do you do if you’ve lost your job? Just a few months ago very few people had ever heard of Coronavirus but now that virus has literally and completely changed the way we live. With so many businesses shut down or reducing hours, thousands of people now face unemployment, or are struggling to make ends meet. Others, forced into self-isolation and cannot work.
Luckily there is some help out there and there are a few things you can do to stay afloat if you’ve lost your job.
Jobseeker payments: eligibility expansion
The eligibility for Jobseeker payments (the payments made to working-age Australians out of work) was expanded on March 22 this year for both jobseeker and youth allowance.
The expansion now incorporates, sole traders and self-employed people, as well as those in isolation due to possible contact with Covid-19 and those caring for someone in isolation who is infected with the virus.
An additional supplement of $550 per fortnight was also included as part of the Governments stimulus package.
The JobKeeper payment is a new payment that allows businesses who are affected by COVID-19 to still pay their employees while they’re closed.
This payment is different from the JobSeeker payment as it is paid to your employer who then pays it to you like normal salary and wages
Therefore, if you’ve lost your job, get in touch with your ex-employer and find out whether they are eligible to apply for the payment. They might be able to re-hire you and help you receive $1,500 a fortnight.
Find out more about the Jobkeeper Payments here.
Access your super: financial hardship due to the virus may make this possible
If you find yourself in financial hardship due to Covid-19 you may be eligible to access up to $10,000 from your superannuation fund, prior to July 1 2020. After July 1, eligible Australians may be able to access an additional sum of up to $10,000 for a further 3 months.
Released payments from your super account are tax free and do not affect Centrelink payments.
What is the criteria for early super access?
You must be:
- eligible for certain Centrelink payments: Job seeker, youth allowance, parenting payment, special benefit or farm allowance
- Made redundant or
- You had your work hours reduced by a minimum of 20% since January 1 2020
- As a sole trader, business was suspended OR your turnover reduced by 20% or more.
Did you contract the Covid-19 at work?
Did you contract Coronavirus at work? If so, and you can prove a direct link to when and where you caught the virus, you may be eligible for workers compensation. For instance, if you were in contact with a colleague who was infected with the virus or you did a work trip to somewhere where there was an outbreak. Talk with your HR department and see whether you might be eligible to make a claim.
Income protection insurance – will Covid-19 make me eligible?
Be sure to check your income protection insurance policy. Income Protection Insurance is primarily for injuries or permanently disablement. Or for people who get a long-term illness. Coronavirus is generally not a long-term illness but if you have complications and are advised by a doctor that you will be out of work for longer than your chosen waiting period, you may be able to make a claim.
This is fully dependent on your specific insurance policy and therefore it’s best to talk directly with your insurer to see if you’re eligible to make a claim. Remember, income protection pays up to 75% of the pre-tax salary you last declared to your insurer. You also need to have the policy in place already.
10 cash making ideas
There are many ways you can earn some extra cash that still meet isolation or social distancing measures. Let’s toss around a few ideas:
- Do you have a spare car parking space? Try renting it out, either privately or through a share app like Parkhound.
- Not using your car for work anymore? How about earning some very easy cash by renting out your actual car through apps like Car Next Door.
- Do you have a self-contained granny flat or studio? Consider using Airbnb to turn it into an income. Right now, there are plenty of displaced people looking for somewhere to self-isolate or sit it out until they can fly home.
- Dogs always need walking, and exercise keeps you positive and motivated, so why not go and take a few beloved pooches out for a walk each day. You won’t earn a fortune but every little helps.
- Love writing? Have some know-how in a particular field? Or happy to research? Consider becoming a copywriter. Writing content is time consuming and unless a business has a designated writer in the team, it’s hard to produce fresh content regularly. Get in touch with some local businesses to see whether they need your help.
- Get creative. If you’ve always wanted to put your talents to good use, now is the time to give it a good go. It’s very rare we get time in our working life to do what we love. If digital art, crafts or painting is your passion, roll up your sleeves and get your artistic juices flowing.
- Join the gig economy. There are hundreds of jobs (gigs) that you can do from home through apps like Airtasker. Proofreading, app or website testing, researching, website building, graphic design and writing, to name just a few.
- Online tutoring. If you have teaching experience or are simply good at something. Share it. There are plenty of children and adults who could use your help.
- Are you a whizz with a sewing machine? Try your hand at alterations, repairs or whipping up a few cushion covers. Who knows where that could lead.
- Get into PD. Personal development and up-skilling won’t earn you any cash immediately but it will get you ready for your next step. It also puts you in a better head-space. It probably sounds ridiculous at the moment but sometimes, losing your job really is the best thing that can happen to you in the long run.
A final note if you’ve lost your job
When something like Covid-19 explodes into out lives, the important thing to remember is that the state of play is temporary. So try to stay positive. Use this time to try out new ideas or different skills. You may realise that your new perspective takes you on a whole different career path.