The Morrison Government has announced an emergency COVID-19 disaster payment for any Aussie who is unable to work due to a lockdown that lasts more than seven days.
This comes as Victorians enter the second week of their fourth lockdown since the pandemic hit Australian shores.
The $500 payments will be available for those who would normally work at least 20 hours a week. Those who normally work less than 20 hours a week will be eligible for $325 payments.
But, there are a few more restrictions to who can access the payment. So here is a step-by-step guide so you can find out if you’re eligible and how to access the money.
Do you work more than 20 hours per week?
If so you would be eligible for the $500 per week payment, whereas anyone who works under 20 hours a week will only receive $325.
Are you 17 years or older?
The payment is not available to any worker who is under the age of 17. So, if there is a teenager in your home working the Maccas drive thru they likely won’t be eligible at all.
Are you really not able to work?
The payment is only made available to those who are really not able to work. For example, if you have an office job that can be reasonably done from home, you are not eligible.
You will only get access to the payment if the lockdown prevents you from being able to do your job completely.
For example, if you work as a secretary and the office phones can be redirected to your home phone you are still able to work from home and are not eligible for the payment.
Do you live OR work in the lockdown zone?
Even if you don’t live in the lockdown zone, if your job is located there you can still access the payment.
For example, anyone who commutes to the Melbourne CBD area from a location outside the lockdown zone can still get access to the payment.
Are you a citizen, permanent resident OR relevant visa holder?
That’s right, unlike over Government stimulus measures those in Australia on a working visa can get access to the payment if they are unable to work due to the restrictions.
So long as they were receiving an income that has been halted due to lockdown restrictions, they can apply for the payment.
Are you on other support payments?
If you are receiving income support payments, business support payments or the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment you are not eligible for the new payment.
The Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment is for people who are infected or have been in close contact with a positive case of COVID-19 and must complete a mandatory 14 days in lockdown.
The Pandemic Leave Disaster payment awards $1,500 per fortnight if you are unable to work as a result of the mandatory quarantine.
If you are already receiving the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment, you cannot also claim the new COVID-19 Disaster Payment.
Does the Federal chief medical officer agree a lockdown is necessary?
In this current instance with Victoria, the chief medical officer (CMO) agrees a lockdown is the right course of action.
However, if another outbreak is to come up in the future and a state government decides to enter a lockdown for more than seven days, but the Federal CMO doesn’t think it was necessary, no one in that lockdown zone will be eligible for the payment.
Is the lockdown longer than seven days?
As mentioned above, state governments must take the brunt of a week-long lockdown but should the lockdown go longer than seven days that’s when the disaster payments will set in.
But again, only if the Federal CMO agrees a lockdown is required.
Meet all the requirements? Here’s how you apply
Access to the payment will be made available on Tuesday, 8 June 2021
Set up a MyGov or Centrelink online account
Follow the prompts to make the request
You won’t be able to access the site yet, it will open to the public on Tuesday, 8 June, but make sure you have all your details ready including your Tax File Number and proof of income to help streamline the process.
Also, if you meet all the eligibility criteria but don’t request the payment you will not automatically receive it. If you can access the payment, you also need to do the leg work. Only people who ask for the payment and go through the appropriate steps will get the money.