Australians who test positive to COVID-19 on a rapid antigen test (RAT) will be able to access payment of up to $750 as of today, under changes to the national Pandemic Leave Payment.
The Pandemic Leave Payment is also open to people who are isolating - since they have been deemed close contacts - and those who are caring for someone with COVID-19.
In a statement, Emergency Management Minister Bridget McKenzie and Acting Government Services Minister Anne Ruston said people would need to have evidence they had registered their positive RAT with a state health authority.
The Government will continue to accept positive PCR tests as proof from those also looking to claim the payments.
However, the payments will change from 18 January to a tiered system.
People who have lost, or expect to lose, 20 or more hours of work can continue to access $750 for the seven-day isolation period, while those who expect to lose between one day and 19 hours of work can access $450.
Additionally, the payments will be unavailable to people who have more than $10,000 in liquid assets or cash.
Ruston said the Government “remains committed” to supporting people who couldn’t work and to protecting community health.
People can claim the payments online through myGov and Centrelink Online, or by calling 180 22 66.
In order to access the payments, people need to commence the claim within 14 days of the beginning of their isolation period.
The changes come as Australia battles a worsening COVID-19 crisis, with 72,239 new cases recorded on Sunday.
Attempts to monitor case numbers have also been hamstrung by hours-long PCR-testing queues, and difficulties accessing RATs.
The Government on Wednesday announced it would provide up to 10 free RATs to concession card holders, however concerns remained around access.