Experts are warning 'hardly anyone' will be eligible for JobKeeper 2.0 when the coronavirus wage subsidy is slashed next week as part of a six-month extension.
From September 28, payments for full-time staff are being cut from $1,500 to $1,200 a fortnight, as those working less than 20 hours a week receive just $750.
More than two million workers are coming off JobKeeper from next week - despite Australia being in recession for the first time in almost three decades.
To be eligible for the first extension of JobKeeper, business owners must demonstrate their actual GST turnover had plunged by 30 per cent in the September quarter.
That will see plenty of struggling businesses miss out, as JobKeeper goes from subsidising the wages of 3.5million workers to just 1.4million Australians from next week.
From January, that will be reduced to one million as part of a plan to phase it out completely by March - as JobKeeper covers just 7.9 per cent of Australia's 12.6million workers during its final three months.
Accountant Ben Johnston Johnston Advisory warned 'hardly anyone will be eligible' for JobKeeper under the new rules.
From September 28, payments for full-time staff are being cut from $1,500 to $1,200 a fortnight, while people who usually worked less than 20 hours a week before the pandemic will receive just $750
Accountant Ben Johnston Johnston Advisory warned 'hardly anyone will be eligible' to claim the subsidy due to sweeping new criteria
'The numbers speak for themselves – I reckon only about a third of current JobKeeper recipients will be eligible come October,' Mr Johnston told news.com.au.
'So many more businesses will be left to fend for themselves. There has been an artificial influx (of money) into the economy, and once that is taken away, it will be really telling to see if businesses can survive on their own two feet.'
Mr Johnston said the changes were a 'ticking time bomb' and claimed the government is tightening JobKeeper eligibility too soon.
'It should have remained at least through the Christmas trading period, when having more money flowing through the economy would have boosted retail sales as well,' he said.
Almost 3.6 million people have received the fortnightly payments throughout the pandemic.
That number is expected to drop to 2.24 million in the December quarter as businesses whose turnovers have improved 'graduate' from the scheme.
It is tipped to tumble to 1.75 million in the first three months of next year.
The Morrison government is also preparing to slash JobSeeker booster payments from the end of this week.
People on the unemployment benefit have since March received an extra $550 per fortnight through a coronavirus supplement.
That is being reduced to $250 a fortnight from this Friday and is scheduled to be scrapped altogether at the end of December.
Senator Ruston said the increased dole payment would be