The Safety Net Bill has passed – so what now?

by | Aug 19, 2023 | 0 comments

Single mother families receiving Centrelink payments will know that as of 20 September 2023, the eligibility age to receive Parenting Payment Single has been raised to up until the youngest child turns 14. It’s a great win for single mums, but what does it mean and how will it work?

The commitment of the Federal Government to raise the eligibility age for PPS became a reality last week with the passing of the Strengthening the Safety Net Bill.

The bill legislates increases to JobSeeker and related payments, Commonwealth Rent Assistance, and changes to the eligibility requirements for the Parenting Payment Single.

The new rate of JobSeeker will still be what many community organisations describe as an ‘unliveable’ $56 a day, a minor increase from $50 per day.

It is also below the Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee’s finding that an adequate unemployment rate would mean raising JobSeeker to 90 per cent of the Age Pension.

One of the other key features of the Bill are the changes to eligibility criteria for the Parenting Payment Single.

Lifting the age of the youngest child to 14 will represent a significant increase in income for the 57,000 single parents who will benefit, most of whom are women currently receiving the inadequate JobSeeker Payment because their children had their 8th birthday.

“I was moved off PPS and onto Jobseeker when my youngest child turned eight – do I need to apply to start receiving PPS again?”

It’s a question we’re being asked a lot: if a single mum was moved onto Jobseeker when their youngest child turned eight, and that child is currently under 14, does she need to reapply for PPS?

According to Services Australia, the answer is no.

If you’re a single principal carer of a child under 14 and you currently receive JobSeeker Payment or Youth Allowance for jobseekers, you will automatically be transferred onto the PPS. You don’t need to do anything.

According to Centrelink, single mothers currently receiving Jobseeker, who will now be able to transfer to PPS, will receive a letter in mid-August outlining this process.

Having said that, we know that Centrelink systems can be flawed. If you believe you should have been transferred to PPS but have not been transferred, call Services Australia on 132850.

Keep in mind, if you were cut off Jobseeker because you earnt too much, you may still qualify for PPS, as the income test is more generous on PPS. You can test your eligibility here.

Find out more information here.

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