Locked down workers can access COVID Disaster Payment

Bartender in a mask

Hospitality workers in New South Wales will soon be eligible for the Government’s COVID Disaster Payment, which is designed to help Australians who have had their hours of work and income significantly affected due to state lockdowns.

Starting after a Commonwealth declared hotspot has been locked down for seven days, the support will be paid weekly to those unable to attend work and earn an income as a result of state imposed health restrictions.

Eligible recipients will receive up to $500 per week for losing 20 hours or more of work, and $325 per week for losing under 20 hours. They must not have liquid assets of more than $10,000.

The payment will be made in respect of the second and any subsequent weeks of restrictions.

The Prime Minister said: “What is important, is that we ensure that the decisions that are made are commensurate with the risks that are faced to avoid any unnecessary hardship on Australians and that there is a balance of those risks assessed so that the harm we seek to prevent is not exceeded by the harm that is imposed by the various measures that could be put in place.

“We are talking about somebody getting through the next week, who would ordinarily be in an economic situation where every dollar counts. Where those have independent means of supporting themselves for a week then I think they would agree that reaching out for Commonwealth taxpayer funded assistance is not something they would consider reasonable for such a short period of time.”

This support will be available for Australian citizens and permanent residents and eligible working visa holders. Individuals who are already receiving income support payments, business support payments, or the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment will not be eligible for this new payment. To qualify, people will need to have exhausted any leave entitlements (other than annual leave) or other special pandemic leave.

The payment will complement existing payments including the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment.

Access to Services Australia Disaster Assistance is via www.servicesaustralia.gov.au or over the phone on 180 22 66.

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