Remember earlier this year when the Federal Government encouraged us to dip into our superannuation, knowing full well that it was a terrible idea? Well, now they’re punishing those who withdrew funds by limiting their access to JobSeeker, according to Labor claims.
Cool and normal. 🙂
There’s a lot to unpack here, but basically it all comes down to the liquid assets test that was temporarily axed amid the coronavirus pandemic, but resumed on September 24.
In theory, the assets test is meant to prevent people who have heaps of cash in the bank from rorting the system and getting the JobSeeker payment. But in reality, it basically just means that you have to be close to flat-broke before the government will give you money.
If your assets don’t meet the requirements of the test, you are forced to undergo a waiting period before you’re eligible for JobSeeker, Youth Allowance or Austudy.
Usually, this isn’t a huge deal, because if you’ve got savings, you don’t necessarily need JobSeeker. However, it’s a totally different story when that money is directly from your superannuation.
“The government is trying to pocket a budget saving from the superannuation of people who have lost their job,” Labor’s social services spokeswoman Linda Burney said, according to the AFR.
Ignoring the fact that pulling from your superannuation can have detrimental long-term impacts to your financial health, the early-access scheme already put the onus on individuals to support themselves during the pandemic, rather than having access to government support.
According to a parliamentary committee in July, the early-access scheme was about “getting emergency money to people.” And, forgive me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that precisely what welfare payments are supposed to do?
But now the government has doubled down on royally fucking over the most vulnerable Australians by essentially forcing them to blow their hard-earned superannuation funds before they’re able to access the welfare payments that we all fund with our tax dollars.
According to Labor, people who withdrew the $10,000 or $20,000 from their superannuation (you know, to be able to afford to live) but hadn’t spent it yet could now have to wait up to six months before they’re eligible for Centrelink support.
For reference, six months worth of JobSeeker payments for a single person with no kids is $10,604.10.
As it currently stands, the maximum waiting period for the liquid assets test is 13 weeks (3 months), but the government is currently trying to pass legislation that would see that timeframe doubled to a maximum of 26 weeks for a single, childless person with at least $18,000 in savings.
By this logic, anyone who took out the $20,000 – as encouraged by the government – could now be ineligible for JobSeeker for six months.
“Unemployed Australians who have accessed the maximum amount of superannuation as encouraged by the government would be subjected to the entire six-month waiting period,” Burney said.
Considering the government didn’t really offer any education as to why withdrawing your superannuation isn’t wise (in most circumstances), it’s pretty fucked to think that those people may now be shit out of luck for the next six months.
If you’ve got no fucking idea how superannuation works, or how to make it ~work~ for you, you can read our handy explainer here.
Another day, another reminder that the Federal Government hates the poor.