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JobKeeper Payment and the DSP

The JobKeeper Payment helps cover the costs of wages for businesses significantly affected by coronavirus. If you are an employee, you may be able to receive the JobKeeper Payment, even if you already receive the Disability Support Pension (DSP). This includes if you work at an Australian Disability Enterprise (ADE).

If your employer can claim the JobKeeper Payment for you, they will then pay you a minimum of $1,500 a fortnight. (This amount is before tax.)

The JobKeeper Payment is paid by the ATO to your employer. Your employer then pays you through your normal pay system.

Your employer will tell you if they can claim and pay you the JobKeeper Payment.

How will the JobKeeper Payment affect your DSP?

You might be able to stay on the DSP and also receive the JobKeeper Payment, if you’re eligible.

You will need to report the JobKeeper Payment as income to Centrelink. The extra income from the JobKeeper Payment may make your income high enough to reduce or suspend your DSP. If it's suspended, this means that it is stopped for a period of time, but it will start again. If this is the case, your DSP will be reduced or suspended until your income drops again.

It's important to note that if you are on the DSP and start earning too much income, you will still be eligible for the DSP for up to two years. This means that if you have your DSP reduced or suspended because you earn too much, you will go back to getting your regular payments from the DSP if your income drops. You won’t have to reapply for at least two years.

You can keep using your Pensioner Concession Card the whole time you get the JobKeeper Payment.

Will the JobKeeper Payment affect your rent payments?

Commonwealth Rent Assistance

If you get Commonwealth Rent Assistance and your DSP is suspended because your income is too high, your rent assistance will be suspended too. However, it will start again when your DSP starts again.

Specialist Disability Accommodation

If you live in Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) and get the JobKeeper Payment, your rent won’t change unless your DSP is suspended. If you get Supported Independent Living (SIL) services, these supports won’t change even if you get the JobKeeper Payment and your DSP is suspended.

Who can get the JobKeeper Payment?

To be eligible for the JobKeeper Payment you need to:

  • be a current employee of an eligible business, including ADEs – you can be full-time, part-time or casual
  • have worked for your employer for at least 12 months on 1 March 2020
  • be 16 years or older
  • be an Australian citizen, have a permanent visa, or a Special Category (Subclass 444) visa
  • be an Australian resident for tax purposes on 1 March 2020.

If you were stood down after 1 March 2020, your employer can still claim the JobKeeper Payment for you.

How can you get the JobKeeper Payment?

To get the JobKeeper Payment you need to:

  • let your employer know if you want them to claim the JobKeeper Payment for you
  • choose one employer to claim the JobKeeper Payment for you, if you have more than one job
  • fill out the JobKeeper employee nomination notice that your chosen employer gives you.

Original resources

The information on how the DSP may be affected by the JobKeeper Payment comes from an Economic Justice Australia fact sheet.

There are a number of government departments that have released information about the JobKeeper Payment. This resource is based on information from the Australian Tax Office, Services Australia and Department of Social Services websites.

The Department of Social Services has also released an Easy Read resource – Disability Support Pension and JobKeeper: Answers to questions you might have.

You can also find JobKeeper: Easier to read information for employees (PDF) by the Australian Tax Office.

Advocacy tips

  • There are many different DSP rates depending on the age and circumstances of the person with disability. Each person will need to work out how JobKeeper Payment may affect their DSP. People under 21 years old may be impacted more because their DSP is lower.

  • Important difference to note – The JobKeeper Payment is managed by the ATO. The JobSeeker Payment is managed by Services Australia.

23 April 2020
Applies to all states