Older Aussies on Newstart need to be aware of these changes from today

The changes come into effect today. Source: Getty.

If you’re currently in receipt of Newstart payments, then there are some changes coming into effect today that you need to be aware of.

From September 20, the requirements surrounding the jobseekers allowance are changing for older Australians meaning that anyone between the ages of 30 to 64, who claims the benefit will be expected to meet a new set of standards.

The Department of Human Services announced the reforms for “mature age jobseekers” earlier this year and the main changes relate to the number of hours you are required to spend either in paid work or volunteering in order to receive the fortnightly payments.

If you’re aged between 55 and 59 then your mutual obligation requirement hours will remain at 30 hours per fortnight, however you will not be able to rely on volunteering alone to meet this quota, as at least 15 hours must be spent doing paid work.

The Annual Activity Requirement hours are also increasing to 50 hours per fortnight for those between the ages of 30 and 49.

Read more: Older Aussies ‘stuck on Newstart’ for longer than ‘Millennials’.

While jobseekers who are over the age of 60, but below Age Pension age, will now have an Annual Activity Requirement of 10 hours per fortnight, which can be met through voluntary work.

A spokesperson for the Department of Human Services confirmed that anyone who is affected by the changes will receive a letter or a notification in their myGov Centrelink account, asking them to attend a mandatory phone appointment. Failure to attend the appointment could see payments being stopped.

Recently, Starts at 60 revealed that older Aussies are spending longer on the jobseeker’s benefit than unemployed Millennials. Shocking new statistics, collated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics and analysed by The Benevolent Society, debunked the “myth” that Newstart is a young person’s payment.

The findings revealed that there were 174,532 Aussies aged 55 to 64 signed on, compared to 156,664 between the ages of 25 and 34.

While there are more older Aussies simply in receipt of the benefit, the data also showed that unemployed Australians, aged 60-64, remain on the unemployment benefit for an average of 187 weeks before signing off, compared to 104 weeks for those aged 25-29.

And, whereas ‘signing off’ for younger generations means the recipient has landed a job, in many cases with older Aussies the ceasing of payments can often be explained by a transition to the Age Pension, after reaching the age of 65.

Are you currently on Newstart? Will these changes affect you?

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