Dear Abe,

The café I was working in is not going to re-open, so I have now lost my job. I thought that I would be able to earn some money when the isolation stuff was relaxed, but now I have a huge debt, and don’t know how I can easily earn some money. What options do you think I have?

Skint


Dear Skint,

I am very sorry to hear about your job loss. I hope you are able to find some safe, paid work soon. In the meantime, there are a few things you can do.

Centrelink has introduced some changes to payments due to COVID-19. If you are already receiving a payment, you will temporarily be getting an additional $550 per fortnight, from 27th April. If you are not on a payment, consider applying for a student payment if you are full time (18 credit points or more), or a jobseeker payment if you are part time.

The SRC has a leaflet (Living On Little Money) that will give you some other ideas on free or cheap food, entertainment, health care, and others (https://srcusyd.net.au/src-help/money/guide-to-living-on-little-money).

If you are having difficulty paying your rent it is a good idea to deal with this as soon as possible. You might be able to get a discount, or get an extension on the due date.

The University has a financial service for students, where you might be eligible to get a bursary up to a couple of thousand dollars, or at least an interest free loan of up to $1500. They have extended it to include international students as well, but it is unclear if this will be only for this semester.

The Government is now allowing people to withdraw up to $10,000 from their superannuation before July and a further $10,000 from their superannuation after July. BEFORE taking this action please consider the consequences very seriously. Superannuation is designed as a long-term benefit for your retirement. One superannuation company stated, “a 20-year-old who accesses the full $20,000 available under the scheme could lose more than $120,000 from their retirement balance (https://www.hesta.com.au/stories/in-this-together.html)”. It may turn out to be your best option right now, but just consider all of the other options as well. If you do withdraw this money from your account, it may be worthwhile talking to a financial advisor, or your superannuation company about whether it is advisable to try to make up that withdrawal in the future, when you are more financially stable. At the very least please have a look at https://moneysmart.gov.au/covid-19.

Abe