COVID-19 Australia: Disaster Payment Expanded

6 min read
The national COVID-19 Australia Disaster Payment has been expanded to support workers who lose hours due to a state government lockdown or public health order.

Eligible workers will receive $750 per week if they lose 20 hours or more of work.

Those who lose between 8 and less than 20 hours, or a full day of work, will receive a payment of $450 per week.

The Government will provide financial support to those in a declared Commonwealth Hotspot. The provision of financial support outside of these areas will be provided where requested, at the cost of state or territory governments.

The new national payment rate will commence for payments processed in the week commencing 2 August. It will be automatically updated for those already in the Services Australia system. It will be available from day one of any lockdown, with claims made from day 8 in arrears for the previous 7 days. A weekly payment will then be made for the duration of the hotspot declaration.

There will be no liquid assets test applied to eligibility for these payments. Further, an individual does not need to use their personal annual leave.

Individuals who currently receive an income support payment through the social security safety net will receive a weekly payment of $200, in addition to their existing payment, if they can demonstrate they have lost more than 8 hours of work and meet the other eligibility requirements for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment.
Claiming this payment must be done through Services Australia. It will be a separate stand-alone payment, paid weekly for however long the lockdown and Commonwealth Hotspot remains in place.

COVID-19: NSW JobSaver boosted

The Commonwealth and NSW government will expand the COVID-19 Business Support Payment.

Under the expanded JobSaver payment, eligible entities will now receive payments of between $1,500 and $100,000 per week based on the level of their payroll, with the maximum turnover threshold increased from $50 million to $250 million. The payment will continue to be calculated based on 40% of payroll for businesses that have suffered a 30% or more decline in turnover. For non-employing businesses, the payment will remain set at $1,000 per week.

The expanded support will continue to be conditional on businesses maintaining their employee headcount as at 13 July (covering permanent and long-term casual employees) by not taking active steps to terminate their employment.

The expanded payment will take effect from 18 July 2021, the start of the program. Businesses that have already submitted an application will not need to do anything, their payment will be automatically adjusted consistent with the expanded program.

Businesses can expect to receive funds in their accounts within 5 to 10 business days from their approval date.

COVID-19: Victorian business support package

The Commonwealth and Victorian Governments will jointly fund a package to assist small and medium businesses impacted by the recent lockdown.

The Victorian Business Support Package includes assistance relating to business continuity and small business, as well as continuing support for commercial tenants and landlords.

Business Continuity Fund

The Business Continuity Fund will deliver $5,000 grants to businesses that remain impacted by capacity limits placed on businesses by necessary public health restrictions. Twenty-four eligible sectors are covered, including gyms, cafes, restaurants, catering services and hairdressers. In addition, businesses located in the CBD will be eligible to receive an additional $2,000.

All recipients must have received or been eligible for the previous Business Cost Assistance Program.

Small Business COVID Hardship Fund

A new Small Business COVID Hardship Fund will support small businesses who have not been eligible to receive existing business support funds. Small businesses with a payroll of up to $10 million who have experienced a 70% or greater reduction in revenue will be eligible for grants of up to $14,000.

Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021

The Licenced Hospitality Venue Fund will be boosted to pay grants of up to $20,000 to licensed venues. Further, an additional $2,000 will be made available to the businesses located within the CBD.

To receive this funding, venues will need to have received or been eligible for the Licensed Hospitality Venue Fund 2021.

Alpine Business Support Program

The Alpine Business Support will receive further funding to deliver grants of between $5,000 and $20,000 to 430 alpine-based businesses in recognition of restricted travel. There will also be additional funding support to alpine resort operators and management boards.

Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme and Landlord Hardship Fund

The Commercial Tenancies Relief Scheme will be reinstated to provide rent relief to small and medium commercial tenants and their landlords. Further details on the roll out will be announced soon.

COVID-19 update for New South Wales

The COVID-19 Disaster Payment is a one-off cash payment for each period of lockdown:
  • If you've lost less than 20 hours of work, you can receive $325.
  • If you lost 20 hours or more of work, you can receive $500.
The payment is only accessible if you are locked down for more than seven days.
Eligible workers affected by the lockdown in NSW for more than 14 days can claim a second COVID-19 Disaster Payment from 8 July 2021.
From that date, workers can claim a second COVID-19 Disaster Payment if they’ve been in lockdown for more than 14 days in the seven Local Government Areas (LGA) of Bayside, City of Sydney, Canada Bay, Inner West, Randwick, Waverley, and Woollahra.
Eligible people in these areas will also be able to claim a third COVID-19 Disaster Payment from 15 July, as they enter their fourth week of lockdown.
From Sunday 11 July, those affected by lockdowns in the rest of Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast and Wollongong will be able to claim a second payment.
The applicants will no longer be required to declare less than $10,000 in liquid assets to be eligible for the payment where the lockdown extends into a third week.  Liquid assets includes bank savings, trust fund money or shares but does not include your house or car.
People who were in a Commonwealth declared hotspot and have not worked because of a restricted movement order when they returned to other parts of NSW or other states may also be eligible for the payment.
Eligible people can lodge a claim for the additional COVID-19 Disaster Payments online through myGov, once their area becomes eligible.

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