3.7.7 2020 & 2021 economic support payments (ESPs)

Background

The Government provided 2 payments of $750 to eligible payment recipients and concession card holders, from 31 March 2020 and 13 July 2020.

The Government also provided 2 additional ESPs of $250 each, from 30 November 2020 and 1 March 2021.

These payments were intended to address the economic impacts of the global coronavirus.

Qualification

A person is qualified for the first 2020 ESP (ESP1) if, on a day in the period 12 March to 13 April 2020, they were residing in Australia and were receiving a qualifying payment or held a qualifying concession card.

The following are qualifying payments:

The following are qualifying concession cards:

  • Commonwealth seniors health card
  • pensioner concession card
  • veteran gold card - see CLIK.

A person is qualified for the second 2020 ESP (ESP2) if, on 10 July 2020, they are residing in Australia and received a qualifying payment or held a qualifying concession card, and were not receiving a COVID-19 supplement in respect of 10 July 2020.

The following are qualifying payments:

  • Age, DSP, CP, CA, DOP, BVA
  • FTB - see FA Guide 1.2.20
  • payments administered by DVA - see CLIK.

The following are qualifying concession cards:

  • Commonwealth seniors health card
  • pensioner concession card
  • veteran gold card - see CLIK.

A person is qualified for the additional $250 ESPs if, on the relevant test date, they were residing in Australia and receiving a qualifying payment or concession card.

The test date for the first $250 ESP is 27 November 2020, with payments made from 30 November 2020. The test date for the second $250 ESP is 26 February 2021, with payments made from 1 March 2021.

The additional payments were provided to:

  • recipients of Age, DSP and CP
  • recipients of CA and FTB including DOP (not in receipt of a primary income support payment)
  • eligible DVA payments and Gold Card holders, and
  • holders of a CSHC and certain PCC holders (not in receipt of a primary income support payment).

COVID-19 supplement

A person cannot receive an ESP2 if the person was receiving the COVID-19 supplement in respect of 10 July 2020.

Example: Skyla is receiving PPS and FTB in respect of a period that includes 10 July 2020. As her PPS rate includes the COVID-19 Supplement, Skyla is ineligible to receive an ESP2 as an FTB recipient.

Entitled to only one payment

A person can receive only one payment of ESP1, one payment of ESP2 and one payment of each of the additional $250 ESPs. Where a person qualifies for an ESP1, ESP2 and the additional $250 ESPs in multiple ways they would only receive one ESP1, one ESP2 and one of each of the additional $250 ESPs. A person who is paid an ESP1, ESP2 or an additional $250 ESP and is subsequently granted another qualifying payment or concession card that is backdated to or before the test period/date is not entitled to an additional ESP1, ESP2 or $250 ESP.

Payability

The amount of the ESP1 and ESP2 is $750. The amount of each of the additional ESPs is $250.

The amount is the same for single people and each eligible member of a couple.

A claim is not required for an ESP, it is paid automatically as a lump sum by Services Australia or DVA.

The ESP is non-taxable and does not count as income.

For income management and Cashless Debit Card participants, 100% of the ESP is restricted and placed in either their income management account or on their Cashless Debit Card.

Nil rate, suspended & backdating provisions

Those who have personal and/or partner employment income that reduces their rate to nil for a period that includes the test period/date are taken to be receiving a qualifying payment and qualify for an ESP.

A person who is not receiving a qualifying payment or concession card on a day in the test period/date does not qualify for an ESP, for example, the person's qualifying payment or concession card is suspended. However, if the person subsequently commences to receive a qualifying payment/concession card in respect of a day in the test period/date, for example, the payment/concession card is restored, the person qualifies for an ESP.

A person whose claim for a qualifying payment or concession card is subsequently granted and backdated to a day before or in the test period/date, with the result that the person is receiving a qualifying payment or concession card for a day in the test period/date, qualifies for an ESP.

Limiting date

The ESP1 cannot be paid on, or beyond, 1 July 2022.

Exception: FTB claimants who can submit a claim for the 2019-20 financial year up to and including 30 June 2022 and have that claim processed and paid after 30 June 2022 will receive an ESP1.

The ESP2 cannot be paid on, or beyond, 1 July 2023.

Exception: FTB claimants who can submit a claim for the 2020-21 financial year up to and including 30 June 2023 and have that claim processed and paid after 30 June 2023 will receive an ESP2.

The 2 additional $250 ESPs cannot be paid on, or beyond, 1 July 2023.

Exception: FTB claimants who can submit a claim for the 2020-21 financial year up to and including 30 June 2023 and have that claim processed and paid after 30 June 2023 will receive the additional $250 ESPs.

Recovery of ESP debts

The ESP is not a recoverable debt unless the person knowingly made a false or misleading statement or knowingly provided false or misleading information.

Act reference: SSAct Part 2.6B 2020 economic support payments, Part 2.6C Additional economic support payments

Last reviewed: 1 April 2021