CASH LIFELINES: Six payments you could claim today
BETWEEN the prolonged drought and the coronavirus pandemic, it's no surprise many Southern Downs residents are under financial strain.
Fortunately, the Federal Government and other service providers have implemented a number of grants and stimulus to get those hardest-hit back on their feet.
Find the details of six payment schemes you can apply for today in the list below.
Last week, the Federal Government announced JobKeeper payments will be extended until March 2021, though the scheme will undergo significant changes within this period.
Eligible employers can access up to $1500 a fortnight for full-time, part-time, and casual workers until September 27.
From September 28, this will reduce to $1200 fortnightly payments for all employees who average 20 hours or more per week, and $750 for all others.
In January 2021, the rates will be again reduced to $1,000 and $650 per fortnight respectively.
Child care providers and their employees are no longer eligible for JobKeeper payments.
Those on JobSeeker (previously Newstart) can access up to $565 a fortnight, along with the coronavirus supplement of $550 until September 24.
From September 25, this $565 rate will stay but the coronavirus supplement will drop to $250 a fortnight until December 31.
These rates are based on an individual with no children, so may be subject to change for families.
Means and partner income testing will be reintroduced, and from August 4 those on JobSeeker must do four job searches a month.
APPRENTICE WAGE SUBSIDY
Under the government-based Australian Apprenticeship Support Network, employers can apply for a subsidy of up to 50 per cent of the wage of an apprentice or trainee.
The claim can be for up to nine months from January 1, 2020 to September 30, 2020, though the apprentice must have been with the business as of March 1.
Only small businesses with fewer than 20 full-time employees can apply for the subsidy, which offers up to $21,000 per eligible apprentice,
Claims for this subsidy must be lodged by December 31, 2020.
The coronavirus super scheme enables people with an income decrease of at least 20 per cent year, or those who were made redundant, to withdraw $10,000 tax-free up until June 30 for the 2019-20 financial year.
Claims for a further $10,000 within the 2020-21 financial year have been extended for an additional three months until December 31.
DROUGHT RELIEF ASSISTANCE SCHEME
Under the scheme, Southern Downs producers living on drought-declared properties can apply for freight subsidies for transporting fodder, water, and livestock.
Farmers are eligible for up to $20,000 per property, per financial year, though they can apply with to extend this amount to $50,000, depending on how long a resident's property has been in drought.
Originally scheduled for this year, the implementation of the government's Drought Program Reform has been pushed back to July 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Click here for more information and DRAS application forms.
DROUGHT RELIEF FROM ELECTRICITY CHARGES
The Federal Government's other major drought-targeted scheme aims to relieve supply charges on electricity accounts that are used to pump water for farm or irrigation purposes.
Applicants should be able to prove they have no or severely restricted access to farm or irrigation water in a drought-declared area.
For Southern Downs producers serviced by Ergon Energy, the application process is slightly different.
Applicants should submit their Drought Relief application form through Ergon Energy's website, and if successful, will be eligible for waived fixed charges on their account, or otherwise deferred payments.
Both programs will remain in place until the region's drought declaration is revoked.