How to Know If You’re Eligible for COVID-19 Disaster Payments and How to Apply

How to Know If You’re Eligible for COVID-19 Disaster Payments and How to Apply
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On July 13, 2021, the government announced it would be increasing COVID-19 disaster payments for eligible Greater Sydney locals and offering additional support for businesses also.

If you’re at a loss when it comes to the new financial support updates, allow us to offer some guidance. Here’s everything we know about these government services, who they’re for and how you can apply for them.

What’s being offered?

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that emergency disaster payments available to people who have lost up to 20 hours of work would be increased from $325 to $375 per week as of week four of the Greater Sydney lockdown. Those who have lost more than 20 hours of work will see payments bumped up from $500 to $600 per week.

Additionally, as ABC reports, the Commonwealth and the NSW government will jointly fund a new support plan for small and medium-sized businesses that have sustained a 30 per cent loss in revenue. The support plan will offer between $1,500 and $10,000 a week to eligible businesses as of July 19

Who is eligible for these financial support plans?

The disaster payments are designed for, as mentioned above, folks who have lost up to and beyond 20 hours of work per week due to lockdown.

Presently, changes to work for folks affected by the Greater Sydney lockdown would need to fall within the date range listed on the Service Australia government website. That currently runs from July 1 to July 16 for Sydney and July 4 to July 16 for Greater Sydney.

It’s also been reported that Australians outside of listed hotspots who are impacted financially by the lockdown will be eligible as of July 18.

General eligibility rules are currently listed as:

  • you’re an Australian resident or hold an eligible working visa
  • you’re 17 years or older
  • you’re not getting an income support payment, ABSTUDY Living Allowance, Dad and Partner Pay or Parental Leave Pay
  • you’re not getting the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment, a state or territory pandemic payment or a state small business payment for the same period
  • you live in, work from or have visited a Commonwealth-declared COVID-19 hotspot
  • you live in, work from or have visited a location subject to a state or territory restricted movement order
  • you had paid employment and because you were in the COVID-19 hotspot or are subject to restricted movement, you can’t attend work on or after day 8
  • you’ve lost income on or after day 8 and don’t have any appropriate paid leave entitlements
  • if you are claiming for a period prior to the third week of lockdown, you have liquid assets of less than $10,000. (NSW specific rules apply around this.)

The COVID-19 disaster payment plan is not exclusive to NSW, and the new updates will become available to all other states and territories that experience an extended lockdown going forward.

It is specified that you must file a new claim each week you are in need of support. More details here.

As we covered earlier, the business support package will apply to those who have seen a loss of 30 per cent. The package will be offered to companies with an annual turnover between $75,000 and $50 million, the Australian Financial Review reports. The ABC shares that this payment comes with the caveat that these businesses maintain staffing levels in order to be eligible.

Sole traders will also be eligible for this support. More details here.

Morrison has shared this support will available across all states and territories impacted by an extended lockdown (beyond four weeks).

He shared:

“It is in the national interest that we now put in place a different set of arrangements with the states and territories. That will first be put in place here in New South Wales.”

How can you apply for government support during lockdown?

If you’re seeking to claim a COVID-19 Disaster Payment there’s information about claiming online here. You will need to use a myGov account that is linked to Centrelink.

Details on applications for business grants can be found here. Service NSW suggests ensuring your details are up to date on both the Australian Business Register (ABR), your MyServiceNSW Account and your business profile.

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