Many people in Australia have found themselves out of work as a result of COVID-19. If you have lost your job recently, there are steps you can take to restructure your finances. This will help you to manage your funds and smooth the transition while you look for another job.
What you can do
Investigate your work entitlements
Find out what you’re entitled to and the best way for you to deal with any money you receive. Some income support payments have been developed by the Federal Government to support those whose financial situation has been negatively impacted by COVID-19. You can also learn more about managing your entitlements by visiting the Fair Work Ombudsman and Fair Work Commission websites.
If you have lost your job because the company has closed, and your employer cannot meet your outstanding entitlements due to liquidation or bankruptcy, you may be entitled to payments through the Fair Entitlement Guarantee (FEG).
Contact your bank
If you have any loan repayments, get in touch with your bank as soon as possible to discuss the situation. Most financial organisations have policies covering assistance for customers who are experiencing financial hardship.
Seek financial advice
Free financial counselling is available via the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007.
Financial Information Service (FIS) Officers can provide information on termination payments, superannuation, Centrelink payments and services, and taxation implications. To speak with an Officer, call 132 300 and follow the prompts.
Consider accessing your superannuation
If you are off work for an extended period of time and are experiencing hardship, there are some circumstances under which you may be able to access your superannuation early. Individuals affected by the coronavirus can access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21.
Seeking appropriate professional advice about what to do with your super will make things clearer and help with your decision making.
Draw up a budget
A budget can help you work out how much money you’ll need to cover costs while you navigate the financial impact of being unemployed. If you need help getting started, check out Money Smart’s Budget planner.
Access support networks
The Department of Health and Human Services provide short-term counselling, support and information. Call 132 850, follow the prompts and ask to speak to a social worker.
Things to remember
Losing your job can be distressing, especially given the current angst caused by the coronavirus. However, try to remember that what you are feeling is a common reaction to your situation. Make sure to reach out to family and friends and if things are getting on top of you, it’s important to seek professional support.