And if that’s you, you’ve probably also heard about the $1,500 ‘pandemic leave’ payments and wondering if you’re eligible for that, too.
But what exactly is the difference between the two payments? Yahoo Finance breaks it down.
$500 ‘COVID-19 Disaster Payment’
This payment is for people who have lost work due to lockdown restrictions in their local government area.
You’re eligible for this if:
You live or work in an officially declared hotspot
You’re unable to work and earn income as a result of a lockdown in your area
You’ve been in lockdown for more than seven days
You have liquid assets of $10,000 or less (note this doesn’t apply from week three of lockdown onwards).
You’ll get $500 if you’ve lost 20 hours of work or more, or $325 if you’ve lost less than 20 hours of work.
As it’s a federal payment, it’s available all across Australia.
But to get this payment, you can’t be receiving any income support from the government.
$1,500 ‘Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment’
This payment is for those who have been specifically directed by a health official to self-isolate at home, and can’t work as a result.
It’s for those who can’t go to their jobs because they’ve contracted COVID-19 and need to quarantine, or because they’re a close contact, or because they’re taking care of someone who has COVID-19 (e.g. a parent caring for a child under 16 who has COVID-19).
You’re eligible if:
You’re at least 17 years old
You’re an Australian resident, or have a visa that gives you the right to work here
You aren’t able to go to work and earn income
You don’t have any other leave entitlements, like pandemic sick leave, personal leave, or carer’s leave.
Essentially, you can claim this as your last resort.
But, for instance, if you’re able to work from home and therefore earn an income while isolating at home, you aren’t eligible for this payment.
You can’t claim this payment if you get any other income support payments, or JobKeeper.
Can I claim both?
Services Australia is crystal clear on this: no.
“You can’t get the [$500] COVID-19 Disaster Payment if you’re getting any of these: income support payments, [$1,500] Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment, [or] state small business payment.”
So it’s either one or the other.
How do I claim my payments?
“Call us on 180 22 66 where we can take your claim.”
Alternatively, you can print and fill out a form relevant to your state or territory and fax it over to them. To get that form, visit the page on Services Australia, choose your state or territory and follow the instructions on ‘How to claim’.