The new COVID-19 relief schemes explained

Posted on 01. Sep, 2021 by in COVID-19

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As we navigate more COVID-19 lockdowns across Australia, here’s a guide to the main benefits you may be entitled to from the government, state by state.

With new COVID-19 lockdowns, and an increasing number of cases it’s understandable if Aussies are feeling overwhelmed. On top of that, concern about their finances can just add to that stress. The COVID-19 early release of super program ended in December 2020 and the JobKeeper Payment ended in March 2021 but there is still government financial support available to people impacted by the current restrictions.

Each state has a unique set of smaller discounts and deferred payments. As COVID-19 cases are likely to fluctuate, it’s always a good idea to check your state government or territory’s website for more information or to see if their lockdown laws have changed.

All Australian states and territories

Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment (PLDP) is a program available to Australians across every state and territory, providing a lump sum payment of $1,500 per fortnight if you’ve been told to self-isolate or quarantine (or are caring for those who are) for 14 days. Not everyone is eligible – you need to meet certain criteria to qualify, and these requirements vary between states and territories.

A COVID-19 Disaster Payment (CDP) is also available for states and territories going into lockdowns, including New South Wales and Victoria. The amount and eligibility criteria vary between states and between lockdown periods.

In addition, Centrelink offers existing income support to eligible recipients for up to two supplementary payments under the Crisis Payment for National Health Emergency (COVID-19) program if you’re entering quarantine or self-isolation or caring for someone who is.

New South Wales

Due to the Sydney lockdown, as of July 2021, residents of NSW may be eligible for a COVID-19 Disaster Payment. Eligibility dates vary by locations across the state, as does eligibility criteria – for example, you’re ineligible if you are receiving the PLDP. But if you have lost more than eight hours (or a full day) of work due to COVID-19 restrictions, you may be eligible for financial support from the government because of the restricted-movement orders.

If you’ve lost between eight and 20 hours of your work week, you may be eligible for $375 a week; if you’ve lost 20 hours or more, you may be eligible for $600 a week. You only have to apply for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment once during lockdown to receive this government financial assistance for each recognised period of restricted movement.

On top of this, you may be eligible for the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment (PLDP) of $1,500 per fortnight, if you’ve been told to self-isolate or quarantine.

Additionally, the NSW state government called a 60-day moratorium from 14 July on evictions for residential tenants who have lost 25% or more of their income due to the stay-at-home orders. Any landlords who provide rental relief for tenants can gain access to rebates and a reduction in land tax.

For businesses, companies that suffer a 30% revenue reduction due to restrictions can now apply for up to $100,000 in JobSaver grants a week. This was increased from a previous cap of $10,000, with the maximum turnover threshold increased to $250 million.

Victoria

While the previous COVID-19 Disaster Program for Victorians in lockdown ended on July 2, a new CDP has been announced for eligible individuals covering the July 16 to 20 period. Similar to NSW, you need to meet certain eligibility criteria – for example, you are ineligible if you are receiving the PLDP. But if you have lost more than eight hours (or a full day) of work due to COVID-19 restrictions, you may be eligible for financial support from the government because of the restricted-movement orders.

If you’ve lost between eight and 20 hours of your work week, you may be eligible for $375 a week; if you’ve lost 20 hours or more, you may be eligible for $600 a week. You only have to apply for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment once during lockdown to receive this government financial assistance for each recognised period of restricted movement.

In addition, a $450 relief payment is available while you are waiting for the results of your COVID-19 test. There are also support payments available to help with energy bills through thVictorian Energy Saver scheme. Similar to other states, the $1,500 Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment is available.

Australian Capital Territory

While the ACT has a number of smaller support packages in place to help the community, the primary COVID-19 relief scheme available is the $1,500 Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment.

Northern Territory

Similar to other states, if you can’t earn an income because you need to self-isolate or quarantine for 14 days, or need to care for someone with COVID-19, you may be eligible for the $1,500 Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment offered to Territorians.

Western Australia

On top of the state’s one-off 2020 $600 electricity bill credit, WA now offers the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment.

Queensland

In addition to the PLDP, workers in Queensland may be eligible for support and relocation incentives.

South Australia

In addition to PLDP, one-off grants of $300 are available to eligible workers required to self-isolate.

Tasmania

In addition to PLDP, grants are available to eligible low-income casual workers or self-employed Tasmanians required to self-isolate.

©AWM Services Pty Ltd. First published July 2021

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