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Little known $310 Centrelink payment for people waiting on COVID-19 test results

Centrelink, Medicare logo, wallet with Australian cash.
Have you heard of the COVID-19 Crisis Payment? Here's how to claim. (Images: Getty).

Australians forced to isolate while waiting for their COVID-19 test results may be eligible for additional support if they are receiving Centrelink payments.

Services Australia offers one-off Crisis Payments to people receiving income support payments who have experienced a domestic violence incident, natural disaster or who have been released from psychiatric confinement or prison.

It’s now also available to those who are required to quarantine or self-isolate due to COVID-19.

This is a payment available across Australia, and is separate to the COVID-19 testing payments offered by Victoria, South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania.

Here’s how to claim this payment.

Who is eligible for the Crisis Payment for National Health Emergency (COVID-19)?

To be eligible for this payment, you must already be eligible for an income support payment or ABSTUDY Living Allowance.

You also need to be in Australia and in severe financial hardship.

You’re considered to be in severe financial hardship if you’re a single person with less than two weeks of the maximum rate of your income support payments in savings, shares, cash or cash gifts. If you’re in a couple, you’re eligible if you have less than the equivalent of four weeks of your maximum income support payment.

You also need to be in quarantine, self-isolation, or caring for someone who is.

This could be due to a positive COVID-19 result, close contact with a COVID-19 case, COVID-19 symptoms or if you are waiting for COVID-19 test results, and as such can’t leave your home.

The key eligibility criteria is that you have been personally instructed by a health authority that you are unable to leave your home.

If you’re experiencing a lockdown but haven’t been told by a health authority that you are required to quarantine or self-isolate, you won’t be eligible, as you can still leave the house to shop, work or exercise.

The same goes for people who are staying at home to avoid exposure to COVID-19. Unless you have received a clear order from a health authority to self-isolate or quarantine, you won’t be eligible.

How much can you claim?

If you meet these eligibility criteria, you are eligible for a week’s pay at the maximum basic rate of your income support.

For a single person receiving JobSeeker, that would be $310.40, and is paid on top of the regular payment.

How often can you claim it?

You can claim this Crisis Payment only twice for every six month period.

How do you claim it?

In order to claim it, people need to contact Services Australia within 14 days of entering quarantine, self-isolation, or being required to care for someone who has COVID-19 or is a close contact.

To do this, you need to either begin a claim using your Centrelink Online account or call Services Australia on your regular payment line.

To claim, you may need to show evidence that you are in severe financial hardship and have been directed to self-isolate or quarantine by a health professional.

People who want to claim online can go through their myGov account, provided it’s linked to Centrelink.

Then, recipients need to:

  1. Sign in to myGov and go to Centrelink.

  2. Select Payments and Claims, then Claims, then hit Make a claim

  3. Choose Crisis Payments

  4. Choose Apply for Crisis Payment for National Health Emergency

  5. Answer the questions

  6. Submit your claim.

If you can’t claim online, the easiest way to claim is by calling your regular payment line.

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Image: Yahoo Finance
Image: Yahoo Finance