If you can’t work because you or someone in your household is impacted by COVID-19, support is available.
How to apply for support
You can apply for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment or the top-up income support payment through your MyGov account if you have created and linked a Centrelink account. Apply for the Pandemic Leave Payment by phoning Services Australia on 180 22 66.
COVID-19 Disaster Payments
The COVID-19 Disaster Payment is a weekly payment available to eligible workers who can’t attend work or who have lost income because of a lockdown and don’t have access to certain paid leave entitlements. If you are a couple, both people can separately claim the payment.
Sole traders may apply for COVID-19 Disaster Payment if you are unable to operate your business from home. However, you will not be eligible if you are also receiving a state business grant such as the NSW 2021 COVID-19 Business Grant or JobSaver.
Timing of the payment
The disaster payment is generally accessible if the hotspot triggering the lockdown lasts more than 7 days as declared by the Chief Medical Officer (you can find the listing here). From 2 August 2021, payments will apply from day one of the lockdown and will be paid in arrears once claims open (previously, the payment only applied from day 8 of a lockdown).
However, the disaster payment will also be available:
- In NSW from 18 July 2021, to anyone who meets the eligibility criteria. The requirement to be in a Commonwealth declared hotspot has been removed and the payment will apply to anyone in NSW impacted by the lockdowns who meets the other eligibility criteria.
- In Victoria from 15 to 27 July 2021, to anyone who met the eligibility criteria. The requirement to be in a Commonwealth declared hotspot was removed and the payment applies to anyone in Victoria impacted by the lockdowns who met the other eligibility criteria.
|Area||Date of declaration||Disaster payment accessible from|
|City of Sydney, Waverley, Woollahra, Bayside, Canada Bay, Inner West and Randwick||23 June 2021||1 July 2021|
|Greater Sydney including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Wollongong||26 June 2021||4 July 2021|
|All of New South Wales||18 July 2021|
|All of Victoria||15 July 2021||23 July 2021*|
*Payment accessible from 23 July 2021 paid in arrears from 15 July 2021 (day 1 of the lockdown).
How much is the payment?
The COVID-19 disaster payment amount available depends on:
- How many hours of work you have lost in the week, and
- If the payment is on or after the third period of the lockdown.
|Hours of work lost|
|Disaster payment amounts||Between 8 and 20 (or a full day of work)||20 or more|
|Weeks 2 and 3 of a lockdown*||$325||$500|
|From week 4 of a lockdown onwards||$375||$600|
|From 2 August 2021**||$450||$750|
* Eligible Victorians received the higher rate from week one of the lockdown
** These higher rates will apply from day one of any potential lockdown in the future
The payment applies to each week of lockdown you are eligible and is taxable (you will need to declare it in your income tax return).
The COVID-19 disaster payment is emergency relief. It is available if you:
- Live or work in an area that is subject to a state or territory public health order that imposes restriction on movement and is declared a Commonwealth COVID-19 hotspot, or
- Have visited an area that is a Commonwealth COVID-19 hotspot and you are subsequently subject to a restricted movement order when you return to other parts of New South Wales or interstate.
- Are an Australian citizen, permanent resident or temporary visa holder who has the right to work in Australia, and
- Are aged 17 years or over, and
- Have lost 8 hours or more of work or a full day of your usual work as a result of the restrictions – losing work includes being stood down by your employer, not being assigned any shifts for the week of restrictions and being unable to work from home. Losing a full day of what you were scheduled to work but could not work because of a restricted movement order includes not being able to attend a full-time, part-time or casual shift of less than 8 hours, and
- Don’t have paid pandemic-related leave available through your employer (annual leave is not taken into account for this), and
- Are not receiving income support payments, a state or territory pandemic payment, Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment or state small business payment for the same period. See ‘Top up’ payments for those on income support Income support payments include Age Pension, Austudy, Carer Payment, Disability Support Pension, Farm Household Allowance, JobSeeker Payment, Parenting Payment, Partner Allowance, Special Benefit, Widow Allowance, Youth Allowance and Income Support Supplement, Service Pension or Veteran Pension from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
A liquid assets test of $10,000 previously applied to the disaster payment but was removed from Thursday, 8 July 2021.
‘Top up’ payments for those on income support
A special separate $200 ‘top-up’ payment will be made to those who currently receive an income support payment through social security, in addition to their existing payment, if they can demonstrate they have lost more than 8 hours of work and meet the other eligibility requirements for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment.
Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment
The Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment is for those who have been advised by their relevant health authority to self-isolate or quarantine because they:
- Test positive to COVID-19;
- Have been identified as a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case;
- Care for a child, 16 years or under, who has COVID-19; or
- Care for a child, 16 years or under, who has been identified as a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case; or
- Care for a person who has tested positive to COVID-19.
How much is the payment?
The payment is $1,500 for each 14 day period you are advised to self-isolate or quarantine. If you are a couple, you both can claim this payment if you meet the eligibility criteria.
The Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment is available if you:
- Are an Australian citizen, permanent resident or temporary visa holder who has the right to work in Australia; and
- Are aged 17 years or over; and
- Are unable to go to work and earn an income; and
- Do not have appropriate leave entitlements, including pandemic sick leave, personal leave or carers leave; and
- Are not getting any income support payment, ABSTUDY Living Allowance, Paid parental leave or Dad and Partner Pay. Income support payments include Age Pension, Austudy, Carer Payment, Disability Support Pension, Farm Household Allowance, JobSeeker Payment, Parenting Payment, Partner Allowance, Special Benefit, Widow Allowance, Youth Allowance and Income Support Supplement, Service Pension or Veteran Pension from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
The payment is taxable and you will need to declare it in your income tax return.
If you are uncertain of your eligibility, talk to Services Australia.
If you are concerned about the impact of disaster relief payments on you, talk to us.
NSW Child-care gap fee
From 19 July 2021, the Government is enabling childcare services in NSW Local Government Areas subject to stay at home orders to waive gap-fees for parents keeping their children at home due to current COVID-19 restrictions. The gap fee is the difference between the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) the Government pays to a service and the remaining fee paid by the family.
The child-care gap fee waiver is only applicable where the childcare service opts in.
The Local Government Areas were expanded and now cover: City of Sydney, Municipality of Woollahra, City of Randwick, Municipality of Waverley, Bayside Council, Blacktown City Council, Blue Mountains City Council, Municipality of Burwood, Camden Council, Central Coast Council, City of Campbelltown, City of Canada Bay, City of Canterbury-Bankstown, Cumberland City Council, City of Fairfield, George’s River Council, City of Hawkesbury, Hornsby Shire, Municipality of Hunter’s Hill, Inner West Council, Ku-ring-gai Council, Lane Cove Council, City of Liverpool, Mosman Council, North Sydney Council, Northern Beaches Council, City of Parramatta, City of Penrith, City of Ryde, Shellharbour City Council, Municipality of Strathfield, Sutherland Shire, The Hills Shire, Wollondilly Shire, City of Willoughby, and Wollongong City Council.
NSW Eviction moratorium
The NSW Government has introduced a targeted eviction moratorium to protect residential tenants. The moratorium applies where:
- You have lost work/income because they or a member of their household contracted COVID; or
- The household’s take home weekly income has reduced by 25% or more (including any government assistance received) compared to the weekly income received in the 4 weeks prior to 26 June 2021; and
- You continue to pay at least 25% of the rent payable.
60 day freeze on evictions
Tenants who can’t pay their rent in full because they are impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak can’t be evicted between now and 11 September 2021.
Financial support for landlords
Residential landlords who decrease rent for impacted tenants can apply for a grant of up to $1,500 or land tax reductions depending on their circumstances. The land tax relief will be equal to the value of rent reductions provided to financially distressed tenants for up to 100% of the 2021 land tax year liability.