With millions of people across Australia now subject to either snap or drawn-out lockdowns, we are being asked more frequently about the Covid-19 National Disaster Payments, who can apply for it, and how much they can get.  

 The Covid-19 disaster payment is a federal initiative that is only for workers who have had their income impacted due to a restricted movement order. It is claimable via myGov and is being administered by Centrelink.  

The naming of the ‘disaster payment’ is a classic pun; While it describes the national health disaster we currently face, it could also be used to describe the process of claiming these payments and the role out of support and information, which in itself, has been a national disaster.  

With different rules in different states, let alone confusion between the different levels of government, we thought it was necessary to decipher eligibility requirements based on what state you have the fortune [or misfortune] of residing in. 

The lack of information around the programs and the ‘choose your own adventure’ layout of the website, makes it hard for anyone to work out their requirements and what is available.  Below is the current [as of 3 August] situation for the disaster payments depending on where you live in Australia.  

NB: We will update this blog as further information comes available so bookmark a link for your future reference. 

Australia wide 

The Covid-19 disaster payments are tax-free and there will be no need for eligible recipients to include them in their tax returns.  

If you are eligible for a payment in any state, you will need a myGov account that is connected to a Centrelink account. If you don’t have this setup already, you can follow the instructions here. 

If you receive a Covid-19 disaster payment, ensure you update Centrelink if there are any changes to your circumstance within 14 days, as penalties may apply, and you may have to repay any money received.  

who is eligible? 

 In addition to state-based criteria, there are some national requirements for the disaster payment:  

  • You must be an Australian resident or have a Visa that gives you the right to work in Australia 
  • You must be 17 or older 
  • You cannot be receiving a Pandemic Leave Disaster payment, a state or territory pandemic payment of a state small business payment for the same period.  
  • You do not have any appropriate pandemic-related paid leave entitlements [this does not include annual, unpaid, sick, careers, long service or compassionate leave] 
  • You can get the payment even if you’re eligible for only one day.
  • Each member of a couple can claim the payment, but you must make separate claims.  

New South Wales 

 who is eligible? 

 To be eligible for a disaster payment in NSW you must have lost hours of work and income due to a restricted order movement [lockdown] from the following dates:  

1 July for parts of Sydney including:

  • Bayside 
  • City of Sydney 
  • Canada Bay 
  • Inner West 
  • Randwick 
  • Waverley 
  • Woollahra. 

4 July for Greater Sydney made up of 29 local government areas and 18 July for all areas of NSW. 

If you already receive a Centrelink payment you can receive a disaster payment if eligible, but the amount will be different to those not on current Centrelink payments.  

Sole traders may also be eligible, but before claiming you should check if you are eligible for an NSW business support payment first. If you receive a disaster payment it will impact your eligibility for either of the NSW Covid19 business grants and JobSaver. There is more information on the grants available on the blogs below: 

when will payments start? 

Applications are open now via myGov and payments should be made within a week of eligibility. You will need to submit separate claims for each period until you are placed on automated payments.  

You must also apply within 4 weeks of a claim opening and applications for periods before 8 July have closed.  Applications for periods from 8 July to 14 July close on 4 August, so you should not delay in claiming if eligible.  

how much? 

how much you will get depends on whether you already receive an eligible income support payment from Centrelink, as well as your location and what impact the lockdown has had on your working hours.  

If you do not receive Centrelink payments already 

Parts of Sydney payments

Date Range Lost less than 20 hours work Lost more than 20 hours work 
8 July to 14 July 2021 $325 $500 
Date Range Lost between 8 and 20 hours work or one full day of your usual hours Lost more than 20 hours of work 
15 July to 21 July 2021 $375 $600 
22 July to 28 July 2021 $375 $600 
29 July to 4 August 2021 $375 $600 
5 August to 11 August 2021 $450 $750 
12 August to 18 August 2021 $450 $750 
19 August to 25 August 2021 $450 $750 
26 August to 28 August 2021 $450 $750 

Greater Sydney payments 

Period date range Lost less than 20 hours work Lost more than 20 hours work 
11 July to 17 July 2021 $325 $500 

Greater Sydney and rest of New South Wales payments 

Date Range Lost between 8 and 20 hours work or one full day of your usual hours Lost more than 20 hours of work 
18 July to 24 July 2021 $375 $600 
25 July to 31 July 2021 $375 $600 
1 August to 7 August 2021 $375 $600 
8 August to 14 August 2021 $450 $750 
15 August to 21 August 2021 $450 $750 
22 August to 28 August 2021 $450 $750 

If you already receive Centrelink payments 

If you already receive a payment from Centrelink and are eligible for the disaster payment, you will receive $200 each week on top of your regular payment.  To be eligible you need to have had ongoing employment income or reported employment income to Centrelink at least once on or after 29 April 2021  

Queensland  

who is eligible? 

In Queensland you are only eligible if you live in, worked from, or visited a Commonwealth-declared Covid-19 hotspot that is subject to a state restricted movement order. Eligibility began on Saturday 31 July 2021 for the following areas only:  

  • City of Brisbane 
  • City of Gold Coast 
  • City of Ipswich 
  • Lockyer Valley Regional Council 
  • Logan City 
  • Moreton Bay Region 
  • Noosa Shire Council 
  • Redland City 
  • Scenic Rim Regional Council 
  • Somerset Regional Council 
  • Sunshine Coast Regional Council

To be eligible you must be unable to work and earn your usual income of 8 hours or more or a full day’s work because you were in the hotspot and are subject to restricted movement  

 If you already receive a centrelink payment you can receive a disaster payment if eligible, but the amount will be different to those not on current centrelink payments.  

when will payments start? 

 Applications are open now via myGov and payments should be made within a week of eligibility. The claiming period is short and you should not delay in making applications if you are eligible 

Claims close:  

  • on 12 August for the period ending 22 July  
  • on 19 August for the period ending 27 July 

how much? 

how much you will get from the disaster payment in Queensland  depends on whether you already receive an eligible income support payment from Centrelink, and how many hours of work you have lost. 

If you do not receive Centrelink payments already 

Date Range Lost less than 20 hours work Lost more than 20 hours work 
1 August to 7 August 2021 $450 $750 
8 August $450 $750 

If you already receive Centrelink payments 

If you already receive a payment from Centrelink and are eligible for the disaster payment, you will receive $200 each week on top of your regular payment. You can submit your claim from 7 August 2021 for this top-up.  

Victoria 

who is eligible? 

The only payment currently available in Victoria is for the period from 16 to 27 July 2021, and to be eligible in this period you must have:  

  • lived in, worked from, or visited a Commonwealth-declared Covid-19 hotspot that is subject to a state restricted movement order, or you lived in or worked from other areas of Victoria, and 
  • been unable to work and earn your usual income of 8 hours or more or a full day’s work because you were in the hotspot and are subject to restricted movement, or you lived in or worked from ither areas of Victoria 

Victorians that receive current income support payments, ABSTUDY living allowance, Dad and Partner Pay or Parental Leave Pay will not be eligible for the disaster payment.

when will payments start? 

Applications are open now via myGov and payments should be made within a week of eligibility. The claiming period is short and you should not delay in making applications if you are eligible

Claims close:  

  • on 12 August for the period ending 22 July  
  • on 19 August for the period ending 27 July 

how much? 

In Victoria the amount you receive will be determined by the number of hours work you have lost: 

Date Range Lost less than 20 hours work Lost more than 20 hours work 
16 July to 22 July 2021 $375 $600 
23 July to 27 July 2021 $375 $600 

South Australia 

who is eligible? 

South Australia has a short period of eligibility based on their recent snap lockdown from 21 to 27 July 2021. To be eligible for the SA disaster payment during this period you must have:  

  • lived in, worked from, or visited a Commonwealth-declared Covid-19 hotspot that is subject to a state restricted movement order, or you lived in or worked from other areas of South Australia, and 
  • been unable to earn your usual income of 8 hours or more or a full day’s work because you were in the hotspot and are subject to restricted movement, or you lived in or worked from ither areas of South Australia 

South Australians that receive current income support payments, ABSTUDY living allowance, Dad and Partner Pay or Parental Leave Pay will not be eligible for the disaster payment  

when will payments start? 

Applications are open now via myGov and payments should be made within a week of eligibility.  

how much? 

In South Australia the amount you receive will be determined by the number of hours work you have lost: 

Date Range Lost less than 20 hours work Lost more than 20 hours work 
21 July to 27 July 2021 $375 $600 

To find out more about what this means for you and your business give us a call on 1300BDEPOT or email us at oneplace@businessdepot.com.au.