The reality of coronavirus is hitting home. It’s affecting all aspects of the Australian life we know and love. It’s leading to disruptions for our family, friends, and all individuals and businesses. During a time like this, we thought it would be useful to put together some personal finance tips to help you and your loved ones navigate what is likely to be a challenging period.
Working from home? Claim your home office tax deductions
If you’re one of the office employees working from home as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, remember to deduct your expenses from income earned in your tax return for the financial year ending on June 30.
There are two ways to calculate your running expenses:
Learn more about it here!
Access your superannuation
The federal government announced that those suffering hardship due to the Coronavirus pandemic, could access their super and withdraw up to $10,000. Unlike previous financial hardship withdrawals from super, this will not be taxed. The payments are expected to be available from mid-April 2020. You can find a factsheet on the $10,000 Coronavirus Superannuation Payment here.
Have you lost your income? There’s help
People affected by the COVID-19 are now eligible for Centrelink income support. It means that the Jobseeker Payment and Youth Allowance Jobseeker are now open to:
- permanent employees who have been stood down or lost their job
- sole traders, self-employed, casual or contract workers whose income has reduced.
If approved for Jobseeker or Youth Allowance Job Seeker, you will be eligible to receive a ‘Coronavirus Supplement’ of $550 a fortnight on top of your payments. The supplement will be paid to eligible welfare recipients for six months from April 27. You will also automatically receive a single $750 “support payment”, which will be made from March 31.
If you’re in severe financial hardship, an additional one-off Crisis Payment is available to those eligible for income support (it’s equal to a week’s pay of your existing income support payment). You can find all the information here.
Be aware of potential scam attempts
Scammers are taking advantage of the vulnerable, so be cautious of phishing emails, texts, social media posts selling fake products or investment scams claiming coronavirus has created opportunities etc.
Make an emergency budget
In a time of great uncertainty, an emergency fund is critical. Have a look at what you’re spending and what income you have coming in. You may need to cut back on as much as possible to get you through the next couple weeks. It may not be as fun as a holiday to Indonesia, but you’re going to thank yourself once it’s all over.
Call your credit card issuer
If you can’t make your credit card payment, call your credit card issuer and see if they can give you more time, or waive interest because of the situation right now. Some companies are proactively making these offers to consumers and all you need to do is to call and ask.
Travels planned? Know your rights
Flights: If your flight is cancelled because of the Coronavirus situation, airlines are expected to issue a refund or a credit voucher for the value of your flight.
If your flight hasn’t been cancelled yet, you can ask about your options for a refund or credit voucher with the airline directly, or if you booked through a travel agency, contact them.
Accommodation: Hotels, resorts and other accommodation are offering options for travellers including refunds, postponements and credit vouchers. Contact your accommodation directly or contact the provider you booked with to find out if you’re eligible for a refund, credit voucher, or a rescheduling to a later date.
Don’t become a victim of coronavirus shopping frenzy
Be considerate. Contrary to how it may look, the world won’t be out of toilet paper forever.
You are not alone
If you’re struggling with the emotional impact of the COVID-19 and need someone to talk to, please remember that support is available.
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636
If you need help with your bills – we’re here!
If you’re sorting out your finances to make sure all your bills get paid on time, we’re here to help. We pay your bills and allow you to pay us back in four equal instalments, with no interest or late fees.
Do you have any other tips for making it through the coronavirus pandemic? Let us know in the comments.