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$500 or $1,500: Which COVID-19 cash can you get?

·4-min read
(Source: Getty)
(Source: Getty)

As Sydney enters yet another week of lockdown, many more are now eligible for the $500 lockdown payments now that the asset test has been removed from week three onwards.

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.

Read more:

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.

“You need to have used up other pandemic state based entitlements and all paid leave entitlements except annual leave,” Services Australia states.

Also read: PM ditches major hurdle to accessing $500 payments

  • For more information on eligibility, visit their website.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 09: Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference at Kirribilli House on July 09, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has met with state and territory leaders for a National Cabinet Meeting to discuss Australia's ongoing COVID-19 response. Parts of NSW are currently in lockdown health authorities work to contain a COVID-19 cluster outbreak of the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus. All residents of Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast and Wollongong are subject to stay-at-home orders and are only permitted to leave their homes for essential reasons, including purchasing essential goods, accessing or providing care or healthcare, work, education and exercise. (Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images)
Prime Minister Scott Morrison at a press conference at Kirribilli House on July 09, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images)

$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.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 07: Premier Gladys Berejiklian takes questions during a COVID-19 update and press conference on July 07, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. Lockdown restrictions have been extended by another week across Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast and Wollongong as NSW health authorities work to contain a growing COVID-19 cluster. Restrictions will remain in place until midnight on Friday 16 July. All residents in areas subject to stay-at-home orders are only permitted to leave their homes for essential reasons, including purchasing essential goods, accessing or providing care/healthcare, work, education and exercise. Students in greater Sydney will not return to face-to-face classes when holidays end next Tuesday and will begin the new term with online classes. Regional schools will reopen for face-to-face learning as planned on 13 July for term three. (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)
Premier Gladys Berejiklian extends Sydney's lockdown by another week until midnight on Friday 16 July. (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

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?

  • $500

If you’re Australian, the best way to claim is online, through your myGov account linked to your Centrelink account.

And if you’re an eligible visa holder, you’ll have to jump on the phone and call 180 22 66. More details here.

  • $1,500

The best way to claim this payment is over the phone, according to Services Australia.

“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 Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment page on Services Australia, choose your state or territory and follow the instructions on ‘How to claim’.

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