Prime Minister Scott Morrison is set to extend extra coronavirus payments for JobSeeker recipients at a reduced rate for another three months.

The federal cabinet's expenditure review ­committee reportedly last week signed off on extending the coronavirus supplement payment beyond December 31 until the end of March, The Australian reports.

Extending the pandemic lifeline at a reduced rate will continue to benefit more than 1.5 million unemployed Australians.

The Prime Minister's office declined to comment on the report on Tuesday morning but NCA NewsWire understands an announcement on the JobSeeker payment will be made later in the day.

Extending the welfare payment until the end of March would bring it into line with the JobKeeper wage subsidy program that ends on March 28, but The Australian reports it will be at a lower rate than the current $250 fortnightly supplement.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is set to extend the JobSeeker coronavirus supplement. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Flavio Brancaleone
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is set to extend the JobSeeker coronavirus supplement. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Flavio Brancaleone


The newspaper reported one rate being considered was $150 a fortnight but a final decision would need to be ticked off by cabinet.

The government has repeatedly said a decision about the COVID supplement for people on welfare would be announced before its December 31 cut off.

"People can expect the COVID supplement will be going forward beyond the end of this year," Mr Morrison said in parliament late last month.

Businesses in Melbourne have been heavily impacted by two COVID-19 lockdowns. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ David Crosling
Businesses in Melbourne have been heavily impacted by two COVID-19 lockdowns. Picture: NCA NewsWire/ David Crosling


"The precise level in the arrangements around that are matters the government is considering now and will be doing so over the next couple of weeks."

The coronavirus supplement was initially a $550 fortnightly payment at the start of the pandemic before it was reduced to $250 between September 25 and December 31.

The bonus is automatically paid to people receiving eligible payments including: JobSeeker, partner allowance, widow allowance, youth allowance, Austudy, ABSTUDY living allowance, parenting payment, farm household allowance and special benefit.

Under the current JobSeeker and coronavirus supplement arrangements, singles without any children can receive up to $815.70 a fortnight, singles with children and singles aged 60 and older up to $862 and people with partners up to $760.80.


jack.paynter@news.com.au

Originally published as COVID welfare payment to be extended


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