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Temporary COVID-19 Disaster Payment (up to $500) for workers impacted by lockdown restrictions

The Federal Government has announced a new Temporary COVID-19 Disaster Payment for people who have had their hours of work and income significantly affected due to lockdown restrictions in declared COVID-19 hotspots.

The payment will be part of a new "national framework" and will be made available to other states if they are declared a Commonwealth hotspot and a lockdown is needed for more than a week.

Eligibility requirements

Eligible recipients can receive up to $500 per week for losing 20 hours or more of work, and $325 per week for losing under 20 hours.  The payment will be made in respect of the second and any subsequent weeks of restrictions – in other words, after 7 full days of lockdown.

Further eligibility requirements, include:

  • Applicants must be at least 17 years old;
  • Available for Australian citizens and permanent residents and eligible working visa holders;
  • Employed prior to the commencement of the lockdown restrictions;
  • Not receiving any other income support (ie. JobSeeker, business support payments, or the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment);
  • People will need to have exhausted any leave entitlements (other than annual leave) or other special pandemic leave; and
  • Must only have access to less than $10,000 in "liquid assets".

This now raises the question; what is a "liquid asset"?  According to the Government's definition, it is how much money you have to draw on, either in savings or other liquid assets (ie. shares or loans owed to you by other people).  However, it should not include your superannuation fund balance and credit card limits.

How to apply?

People can make an application online from next Tuesday (8 June 2021) by visiting Services Australia Disaster Assistance at www.servicesaustralia.gov.au or over the phone on 180 22 66.

The Government has stated the Temporary COVID-19 Disaster Payment would be done on a "week-by-week basis", which means that if a lockdown goes beyond two weeks, eligible people will have to reapply to have another weekly payment for as long as the lockdown lasts.

The Temporary COVID-19 Disaster Payment will end when the Commonwealth no longer defines an area as a hotspot.

Please do not hesitate to contact your Lowe Lippmann Relationship Partner if you wish to discuss any of these matters further.