What is COVID-19 Disaster Payment?
COVID-19 Disaster Payment is available to people affected by a COVID-19 state public health order who have lost hours of work. The payment supports people who are impacted by extended weekly periods of lockdown, hotspots, and movement restrictions.
It is paid weekly at the following rates:
- $450 a week for people who have lost between 8 and less than 20 hours of work or one full day of work.
- $750 a week for people who have lost 20 or more hours of work.
$200 a week for people who have lost at least a full day’s work and get an eligible Centrelink or Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) payment. Read more about this here.
Depending on where people live, work or visited, locations are subject to different eligibility periods, and payment dates. For detailed information on eligibility, visit the Services Australia website here.
Who is eligible for COVID-19 Disaster Payment?
To be eligible for COVID-19 Disaster Payment, people must:
- you’ve lost hours of work and income due to a lockdown in your state and don’t have any pandemic-related paid leave entitlements
- be 17 years or older and
- an Australian resident or
- an eligible visa holder with the right to work in Australia.
People can’t claim COVID-19 Disaster Payment if they’re getting:
- Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment
- paid leave entitlements for the period, such as annual leave
- a state or territory pandemic payment, or
- a state or territory small business payment for the same period.
Automatic recurring payments
The COVID-19 Disaster Payment has been paid recurringly since 15 July. Anyone who has claimed the payment since this date will get a recurring payment automatically for each subsequent week of lockdown.
This means they don’t have to apply again for each week of lockdown.
This recurring payment will be in people’s bank accounts within 7 days of the start of each new period.
People don’t need to call us to check on their next payment, unless it’s been longer than 7 days.
People don’t need to use annual leave first
People are not required to use other leave entitlements before claiming COVID-19 Disaster Payment.
- annual leave
- unpaid leave
- sick/personal leave
- carer’s leave
- long service leave
- compassionate leave.
People who choose to take paid leave for the duration of a lockdown period will be considered as receiving income. This means they won’t be eligible for the payment.
People may still be eligible if they have taken leave for part of a lockdown period, but have also lost the required work hours and meet the eligibility criteria.
For example, if a person took sick leave on day 1 and 2 of a lockdown period, then lost work for the following 2 days, they may be eligible for the payment. The rate would be determined by the hours lost.
People with any pandemic-related paid leave entitlements must use these before they can get the COVID-19 Disaster Payment.
What to consider before claiming
People need to check their eligibility for COVID-19 Disaster Payment by reading through the information on our website.
Business owners, including sole traders should also consider all the types of support available, to determine what will better fit their needs. This includes the COVID-19 Disaster Payment, or a state or territory business payment. People won’t be able to receive both payments for the same period of time.
People need to have all the required documentation ready to support a claim.
What do people need to support their claim?
For people new to Centrelink, they’ll need to prove their identity online in myGov. They can do this by providing the details of 2 acceptable identity documents and some other personal details. This can include:
- Australian birth certificate
- Driver’s licence
- Medicare card.
For people who already have a Centrelink Reference Number (CRN), they’ll need:
- their employer’s ABN
- details about hours of work lost.
For people who have lost or forgotten their CRN, they can find it by following the prompts in myGov to prove their identity online.
How to claim COVID-19 Disaster Payment
Australian residents must claim COVID-19 Disaster Payment online using myGov, by linking Centrelink to their myGov account.
People who have received a Centrelink payment before can use their Centrelink Reference Number (CRN) from previous letters or concession cards to link Centrelink to myGov.
Eligible visa holders need to call the Emergency Information line on 180 22 66 to the claim COVID-19 Disaster Payment. This phone line is open 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
We have staff who can provide support in different languages for those who need it. Once a claim has been finalised, people will be paid within 7 days. Most people are paid within 1 business day.
As with any emergency response of this scale, we are experiencing a high volume of calls to our Emergency Information line. We remind people to claim COVID-19 Disaster Payment through myGov, where possible.
Changes of circumstances
People are reminded to let us know about any changes to their circumstances so we can check if they’re still eligible. This can include changes to their work hours, employer, or if they start getting another payment type, such as Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment.
For people who claimed through myGov, they need to do this in their Centrelink online account, using the Change of Circumstances icon. They can also use this to stop their automatic payments.
People who claimed over the phone, including visa holders, need to call us on the Emergency Information line on 180 22 66 to notify us of any changes to their circumstances.
If people tell us their circumstances have changed and they’re no longer eligible for the payment, they’ll need to claim again if they become eligible at a later date.
- Read more about COVID-19 Disaster Payment on our website.