More COVID Support – Updated 12 07 2021

If you can’t work because you or someone in your household is impacted by COVID-19, there is support available, but it comes with fairly strict eligibility criteria. There are two payments accessible to individuals, the COVID-19 Disaster Payment; and the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment. Both payments are accessible through Services Australia and applications can be made through your MyGov account if you have created and linked a Centrelink account.

Unable to Work Due to Lockdown:

The COVID-19 disaster payment is available to eligible workers who can’t attend work or who have lost income because of a lockdown and don’t have access to paid leave entitlements. And, it only applies from the eighth day of lockdown. That is, there is nothing you can claim for the first week of a lockdown.
The disaster payment is only accessible if the hotspot triggering the lockdown lasts more than 7 days as declared by the Chief Medical Officer (you can find the listing here). In Sydney’s case, the City of Sydney, Waverley, Woollahra, Bayside, Canada Bay, Inner West and Randwick were Commonwealth declared hotspots from 23 June 2021 with the hotspot extended until 2 July 2021 – meaning that the COVID-19 disaster payment is available to eligible workers in those areas from 1 July 2021. Greater Sydney was declared a hotspot from 26 June 2021. More information and regular updates of the affected areas can be found here:
https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/covid-19-disaster-payment/who-can-get-it

EventEvent DatesClaims OpenClaims Close
Sydney1 July to 7 July 20211 July 202128 July 2021
Sydney8 July to 14 July8 July 20214 August 2021
Sydney15 to 16 July 202115 July 202111 August 2021
Greater Sydney4 July to 10 July 20214 July 202131 July 2021
Greater Sydney11 July to 16 July 202111 July 20217 August 2021

You need to be living or working in a hotspot for it to apply to you.

Claim periods apply, for Melbourne’s lockdown for example, the disaster payment was accessible from 4 June until 10 June 2021, and those impacted have until 2 July 2021 to claim the disaster payment for the applicable lockdown period.
The COVID-19 disaster payment depends on how many hours of work you have lost in the lockdown period.

Hours lostDisaster payment amount
Less than 20 hours work$325
20 hours or more of work$500

The payment applies to each relevant period of lockdown. The payment is taxable and you will need to declare it in your income tax return.

The COVID-19 disaster payment is emergency relief. It is available if you:

  • Are an Australian citizen, permanent resident or temporary visa holder who has the right to work in Australia, and
  • Are aged 17 years or over, and
  • Can’t attend work and lost income on or after day 8 of a COVID-19 lockdown, and
  • Don’t have access to appropriate paid leave entitlements through your employer, and
  • Are not getting an income support payment, a state or territory pandemic payment, Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment or state small business payment for the same period.
  • You do not have liquid assets of more than $10,000. Note this restriction will not apply from Thursday 8th July, 2021.
  • It does not appear to be affected by your partner’s income

Legislation passed Parliament retrospectively enabling the disaster payments to people who lost work because of COVID-19 lockdowns in Melbourne and enabling future payments to 30 June 2022.

Self-isolated or Quarantined:

The Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment is for those who have been advised by their relevant health authority to self-isolate or quarantine because:

  • you have coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • you’ve been in close contact with a person who has COVID-19
  • you care for a child, 16 years or under, who has COVID-19
  • you care for a child, 16 years or under, who’s been in close contact with a person who has COVID-19
  • you are a carer for someone impacted.

The payment is $1,500 for each 14 day period you are advised to self-isolate or quarantine. Both members of a couple can claim this payment if they meet the eligibility criteria. To qualify you:

  • Are an Australian citizen, permanent resident or temporary visa holder who has the right to work in Australia, and
  • Are aged 17 years or over, and
  • Are unable to go to work and earn an income, and
  • Do not have appropriate leave entitlements, including pandemic sick leave, personal leave or carers leave, and
  • Are not getting any income support payment, ABSTUDY Living Allowance, Paid parental leave or Dad and Partner Pay.

The payment is taxable and you will need to declare it in your income tax return.

Support for Business

New South Wales

The NSW Government has announced new grants of up to $10,000 for businesses adversely impacted by the recent COVID-19 lockdowns. Eligibility for the grant is streamed into general business, and hospitality and tourism.

The value of the grant is determined by the impact of the lockdown on your turnover. Your business will need to prove a decline in turnover across a minimum 2 week period after the commencement of the major restrictions.

Turnover DeclineGrant
70%+$10,000
50% to <70%$7,000
30% to <50%$5,000

The grant is limited to businesses (including sole traders) with:

  • A NSW registered ABN or able to demonstrate they are physically located and primarily operating in NSW; and
  • Annual turnover of more than $75,000 for the year ending 30 June 2020; but
  • Below the NSW Government 2020-21 payroll tax threshold of $1.2m as at 1 July 2020; with
  • Fewer than 20 full time equivalent employees

The Hospitality & Tourism COVID-19 Support grant is limited to tourism or hospitality businesses with:

  • A NSW registered ABN or able to demonstrate they are physically located and primarily operating in NSW; and
  • Annual turnover of more than $75,000 for the year ending 30 June 2020; and
  • An annual Australian wages bill below $10m as at 1 July 2020.

Applications for the grant open in late July.

Northern Territory

The Territory Business Lockdown Payment Program provides a payment of $1,000 to eligible Territory enterprises with less than 20 full time equivalent staff. Applications close on 16 July 2021.

Queensland

A Small Business COVID-19 Adaption Grant of between $2,000 and $10,000 is available to eligible regional Queensland businesses. The grant requires your business to have suffered a decline in turnover of at least 30% because of COVID-19 for at least one month since 23 March 2020. The grant is accessible to businesses with less than 20 staff.

Victoria

Grants and other business support programs are available targeting specific industries such as live events, hospitality, and the employment of priority jobseekers. See Business Victoria.

Western Australia

A second round of Small Business Lockdown Assistance Grants of $3,000 are available to eligible businesses in Perth, Peel and regional WA impacted by recent lockdowns. Applications are not yet open but you can register for updates. Specific industry assistance is also available.

Direct grants and funding to South Australian and ACT businesses are applicable when extended lock-downs are imposed.

Disclaimer: The material and contents provided in this publication are informative in nature only. It is not intended to be advice and you should not act specifically on the basis of this information alone. If expert assistance is required, professional advice should be obtained.