JobSeeker & JobKeeper: What are they? | Nifty Loans Explains

JobSeeker & JobKeeper: What are they?

As a part of a $1 Billion relief and recovery fund, the Australian Government has introduced two new payments aimed at assisting individuals and businesses during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. These payments, being JobSeeker and JobKeeper, serve two completely different purposes when it comes to assisting the Australian public. 

Some of our customers have expressed some confusion between the two payments. As such, we thought we could dispel some of the false information surrounding these two payments to clear this confusion. If you are an existing Nifty Personal Loans customer and require assistance with an existing loan, please get in touch. 


JobSeeker was introduced on the 20th of March to serve as the main Centrelink benefit for working-age Australians (22 to 66 years). This is primarily through a fortnightly payment $565.70 that is paid directly into the recipient’s account. Though this amount can change depending on the individual’s circumstances.

The initial aim of JobSeeker is to support those who have lost their employment due to COVID-19. Though, it also has a long term goal of consolidating a number of existing benefits, simplifying the payments for working-age Australians. The benefits that are set to be consolidated are as follows:

  • Newstart Allowance
  • Wife Pension
  • Sickness Allowance
  • Partner Allowance

Each of the listed benefits will eventually be phased out by Jan 1st 2022. Residents currently receiving one these benefits won’t be required to do anything to facilitate the transfer, this will be done automatically.

How does JobSeeker work?

Australian’s who have recently lost their job or have been left unable to work due to sickness or injury should consider JobSeeker payments. With that being said, though, there are some eligibility requirements that need to be taken into account. In order to be eligible, applicants must be an Australian resident between the ages of 22 and 66 and cannot be earning over the earnings limit. For exact figures on income limits, Services Australia provides a quick breakdown here

Residents younger than 22 that are in need of assistance can look at applying for Youth Allowance. Eligibility requirements for this benefit are much the same as JobSeeker, though, there are specific rules that separate students and individuals looking for work. For further clarification, please visit Services Australia here.

In addition to relaxing the commitments required to keep JobSeeker, the Australian Government has also added a temporary COVID supplement on top of the JobSeeker payment. This is an extra amount of $550 that is aimed to further assist those who have been directly affected by COVID-19. This extra supplement will continue for up to 6-months, depending on individual eligibility. 



Employees of a company that has been significantly affected by COVID-19 could be eligible for JobKeeper payments. There is a fundamental difference between JobSeeker and JobKeeper payments that we would like to address. Instead of Centrelink paying individuals directly, employers need to apply for the JobKeeper subsidy through the ATO, which they will then use to help pay their employees. If you’re an employee who is going to receive JobKeeper payments, there are a few takeaways to keep in mind:

  • If you are working more than one job, you can only receive the benefit from one job.
  • Tax is withheld from payments at your marginal tax rate, so you may receive less than $1,500 in your bank account.
  • You will need to talk to your employer if you are interested in the JobKeeper payment.
  • If you run a business as well as work full-time at another business, you will not be able to claim the JobKeeper payment for both.


If you’re an employer looking to claim the JobKeeper subsidy, applications were announced to only be accepted up until the 31st of May 2020. There is also a list of eligibility requirements that the business and employees need to meet. To be an eligible business, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Your business or not-for-profit organisation operated in Australia as of 1st March 2020
  • You employed at least one employee as of 1st March 2020
  • Your eligible employees were employed for the fortnights that have been claimed (employees who have since been stood down could still be eligible)
  • Your business experienced a 15%, 30% or 50% fall in turnover, depending on your business type and size

To be considered an eligible employee, they must meet the following requirements:

  • Were employed at 1st March 2020
  • Are a full-time, part-time or fixed-term employee. Casual employees are only eligible if they have been employed on a regular basis for at least 12 months
  • Are 18 years or older as of 1st March 2020. If employees are younger than this, they need to be a proven independent
  • Are an Australian Citizen or resident who is not studying full-time
  • Has agreed to be nominated and is not claiming the subsidy from another employer

For further information and a step-by-step application guide for the JobKeeper Subsidy, we would recommend that you visit the ATO here.

Nifty’s stance

With the introduction and rapid adoption of these two benefits, we would like to offer a little disclosure as to what we can and can’t accept as income. If you have experienced a loss in hours or have been stood-down from your employment and are now receiving JobKeeper payments through your employer, we will still be able to process your loan application.

Though, if you are now receiving JobSeeker payments, we will not be able to assist you with a loan, unfortunately. This comes down to a number of factors, including both the nature and volatility of the payments. As such, we have come to the realisation that we are not currently in the position to assist clients who are receiving JobSeeker payments as their sole form of income. We’re truly sorry for any inconvenience.

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Personal Loan Details

Loan Amounts $5,000 – $15,000
Loan Terms 9 – 24 months
Starting Interest Rate (APR) 11.42% (Excellent Credit)
Starting Comparison Rate 14.49% (Excellent Credit)
Ceiling Interest Rate (APR) 21.24% (Average Credit)
Ceiling Comparison Rate 45.56% (Average Credit)
Type of rate Fixed Rate
Repayment options Weekly, Fortnightly, Monthly
Monthly Fee $0
Early repayment fee $0
Average turnaround 60 minutes*
Loan Options Unsecured & secured options

Credit criteria and terms and conditions apply. Representative example: based on a loan of $10,000 over 36 months a borrower with an excellent credit history can expect to pay a total of $12,389.76. WARNING: This comparison rate is valid only for the examples given and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate with the lender that finances your loan. Interest rates vary subject to a full credit assessment. This represents a comparison rate of 14.49% p.a. and includes all interest and fees included in your loan repayments over the life of your loan. For our personal loan product the APR starts from a minimum of 11.42% (14.49% comparison rate) with a maximum of 21.24% (45.56% comparison rate). The minimum loan term is 9 months and the maximum loan term is 24 months. For more details and examples visit our rates and fees page.