Big changes are coming to Centrelink from Friday

The Australian social security system will fundamentally change when new job seekers’ obligations come into force.

Some payments are also getting a boost, while the price of some drugs will fall from Friday.

Big changes are coming to Centrelink from Friday

Individuals on unemployment benefits will no longer have to apply for 20 jobs per month when a points-based activation system from July 4 replaces the scheme.

Social assistance recipients must obtain 100 points for job-seeking activities to continue receiving payments.

There is a list of over 30 tasks and activities, each with its point value, such as attending job interviews and studying or training.

Camera icon The changes will take effect from July 1. NCA NewsWire / Andrew Henshaw Credit: News Corp Australia

Job seekers will still have to apply for a minimum of four monthly jobs, which are worth a minimum of 25 points.

That figure had been set at five by the previous government but was reduced to four by new Labor Secretary Tony Burke earlier this week.

He had previously vowed to change the system after fierce criticism from lawyers.

In a statement, Mr. Burke said people participating in the plan would have a “clean slate” from July 4.

“These changes will be a real boost for people making the extra effort to be ready for a job,” he said.

Camera icon The changes faced a fierce backlash from proponents. NCA NewsWire/Adam Yip Credit: News Corp Australia

“It is important to note that people who continue to do exactly what they did under the old system – applying for 20 jobs a month – will still meet their points requirement and thus fulfill their mutual obligation.”

As of Friday, 1.4 million Aussies who receive benefits under the family benefits (parts A and B) will receive an increase.

Families with a child under 13 will receive up to $204.40 more under the Part A Family Tax Benefit for 2022-23.

Payments are increased by up to $255.50 for families with a child aged 13 and older.

Families receiving Part B Family Tax Benefit and whose youngest child is under age five will receive an increase of as much as $164.25 per year.

Part B family benefits, with the youngest child aged 5-18 receiving up to $116.80 more per year.

One million retirees will also benefit from increases in means-tested areas, limits, and presumed thresholds.

The amount of income or assets that a recipient of a retirement pension, disability pension, or health care benefit may have before the payment is affected will also increase.

Camera Icon Payments to the family benefit are also increasing. Credit: Included

Payment percentages for families and relevant income test thresholds are indexed once a year on July 1.

Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said the increases came at an important time with skyrocketing living costs.

“The indexation process complements the levers we use in portfolios to address the rising cost of living,” she said.

Meanwhile, the reductions in the pharmaceutical benefits scheme (PBS) safety net thresholds will also take effect on Friday.

Concession card holders get free medications after spending $244.80, up from $326.40.

The threshold for non-concessional patients will be lowered from $1542.10 to $1,457.10.

Lori J. Kile
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