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How to claim Covid test payment in each state

Lucy Dean
·6-min read
Australian cash payment, person being tested for Covid-19 in white room by nurse in PPE
You may be eligible for a payment if you've had to self-isolate due to Covid-19. Images: Getty

Australians who need to isolate due to testing positive to coronavirus, waiting for results, or needing to care for someone who is sick with the virus may be able to access government payments provided they meet certain criteria.

Here’s what you can get in each state, and how to claim the payment.

Victoria

Victoria was the first state to offer such a payment, after Premier Daniel Andrews announced its availability in June.

The $1,500 payment is available to those who are at least 17 years old, live in Victoria and have no sick leave. They also must have been directed to self-isolate or quarantine, or be caring for someone 16 or under who needs to self-isolate or quarantine.

They can claim this payment by calling Services Australia on 180 22 66, 8 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday. This payment is available for each 14 day period someone is required to self-isolate or quarantine.

Victoria also offers a $450 Coronavirus Test Isolation Payment which is provided to those who need to isolate while they wait for test results. This payment was initially set at $300, but was increased to $450 in August.

This payment is only open to those who can prove they were likely to have worked during their isolation period, and who had a requirement to self-isolate or care for someone isolating. As with the $1,500 payment, they must have no sick leave and be receiving no salary or income.

Victorians can apply for this payment through the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions website.

NSW

NSW workers will be able to access a one-off $1,500 Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment if they need to self-isolate for 14 weeks. This is considered taxable income, but can be claimed every time you’re told you need to self-isolate.

Workers who either don’t have sick leave or who have exhausted their sick leave are eligible, provided they have been directed to self-isolate by health authorities. People who need to care for others who are unwell and as such can’t earn an income are also eligible.

This includes temporary visa holders and is part of the Government’s national pandemic payment scheme.

To claim, either:

ACT

Workers in the Australian Capital Territory can also access support through the state government’s $1.25 million hardship fund.

As in NSW, workers must have either used up or been ineligible for sick leave and be directed to self-isolate by health authorities. They also must not be receiving any Government income support.

However, in order to access the payment, these workers also need to prove that they have less than $5,000 in savings and are not a dependant.

If eligible, the Payment will include $270 for those waiting for test results, and $90 per day with a cap of $1,500 for people returning from a Covid-19 hotspot, those who have been a close contact or those who are directed to self-isolate.

Applicants can only receive $1,500 in a 30-day period.

You can apply for the ACT Hardship Isolation Payment through Access Canberra.

South Australia

The South Australian government announced it would provide the payments in late August, describing them as “isolation payments”.

Under this scheme, there is a $300 testing payment available for eligible workers who have been identified in a known Covid-19 cluster and required to self-isolate, or who have been directed to isolate.

This payment is also available to those who are required to care for someone who is awaiting results.

Additionally, payments of $1,500 are available to those who have been instructed to self-isolate or quarantine. To be eligible, workers need to prove they had been scheduled to work during that period. They also must not have access to any paid leave or Government income support.

You can apply for the South Australia Paid Pandemic Leave Scheme here. Or, you can call (08) 8226 2500.

Tasmania

Tasmanians can also access the Federal Government’s $1,500 Covid-19 payment.

That means workers who are directed to self-isolate or quarantine may be eligible for a $1,500 payment provided they don’t have any paid leave, or are required to care for someone who is unwell or awaiting results.

As with all the other schemes, workers can’t be receiving any other form of income assistance from the Government.

To make a claim for this payment, call Services Australia on 180 22 66.

Tasmanians can also access Pandemic Isolation Assistance Grants of $250 per adult, $125 per child capped at $1,000 per household.

This one-off payment is open to households that meet low-income criteria and that are required to self-isolate due to a Covid-19 risk. This does not include returned travellers.

Casuals can also access this payment while they await a test result, provided their employer verifies their employment status.

Here’s the full criteria for these Covid-19 payments.

To apply, contact the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.

Queensland

The sunshine state has since June offered a $1,500 payment to eligible Queenslanders who face financial hardship as a result of enforced quarantine.

This is open to workers who are ineligible for, or have used up, all of their sick leave entitlements. It’s not open to those who are required to isolate after travel, or those who contracted the disease in their workplace.

You can access the Queensland hardship payment by following the steps on the Queensland government health page.

Western Australia

The Western Australian government announced it had signed up to the Government’s $1,500 Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment scheme in September.

These payments can be claimed by those who don’t have access to sick leave and who are required to self-isolate, quarantine or care for someone with Covid-19.

This payment can be claimed more than once, or if a caring responsibility extends beyond 14 days.

The easiest way to make a claim is over the phone by calling Services Australia on 180 22 66. Alternatively, print and complete the Claim for Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment – Western Australia form and fax it to 1300 727 760.

Northern Territory

The Northern Territory doesn’t offer quarantine or self-isolation payments.

However, those travelling to the state and who need to carry out the mandatory quarantine may be eligible for a reduced quarantine fee of $1,250 per person.

Generally, the quarantine fee travellers need to pay in the Northern Territory is $2,500.


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