The Australian Government has announced a new measure to support people who get a Centrelink payment who have lost work due to the COVID-19 state public health order.
From Tuesday 3 August 2021, people aged 17 and over who receive an income support payment, such as JobSeeker Payment, and who lost work, may be eligible for a weekly $200 COVID-19 Disaster Payment.
They can get this payment if they have lost work hours because of lockdown, hotspots, and movement restrictions.
What income support payments are eligible?
An income support payment includes one of the following Centrelink or Department of Veterans’ Affairs payments that help people with living costs:
- Age Pension
- Carer Payment
- Disability Support Pension
- Education Allowance
- Farm Household Allowance
- Income Support Supplement
- JobSeeker Payment
- Parenting Payment
- Service Pension
- Special Benefit
- Veteran Payment
- Youth Allowance (job seekers and students)
In addition, people receiving ABSTUDY Living Allowance are also eligible.
Who isn’t eligible?
The $200 COVID-19 Disaster Payment is to support people aged 17 and over who get an income support payment who have also lost work. It recognises that many people supplement their Centrelink payments with income.
People who get an eligible income support payment can’t claim the $200 COVID-19 Disaster Payment if they:
- don’t work hours in addition to their Centrelink payment, or
- didn’t lose work as a result of the COVID-19 state public health orders. For instance, if they’re able to work from home during lockdown.
How it’s paid
The $200 COVID-19 Disaster Payment is an additional payment and will be paid weekly, separate to regular income support payments. This means it won’t be paid on the same day as regular fortnightly payments.
The $200 COVID-19 Disaster Payment will be paid automatically for each week of a public health order, providing a person’s circumstances don’t change.
This means people don’t need to apply for the payment for future weeks of lockdown.
We’ll pay this recurring payment into people’s accounts within 7 days of the start of each new period. They don’t need to call us to check on their next payment, unless it’s been longer than 7 days.
How to claim
You will need to apply for the $200 COVID-19 Disaster Payment. Claims open on Tuesday 3 August 2021.
People are reminded they have until Monday 30 August 2021 to claim this payment for the relevant time periods. They won’t miss out on any payments they’re eligible for if they’re unable to lodge their claim as soon as claims open.
The easiest and quickest way to claim is online through Centrelink online accounts via myGov.
Most income support customers will be familiar with their Centrelink online account, from regularly reporting their employment income each fortnight.
People who may need to set up a myGov account, can use their Centrelink Reference Number (CRN) from letters or their concession card to link their Centrelink online account to their myGov account.
On the myGov homepage, they can click on the ‘Government support for coronavirus’ alert.
For people who are unable to claim online, they can call our Emergency Information line on 180 22 66. This phone line is open 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday, and temporarily open 9am to 4pm Saturday and Sunday.
We have staff who can provide support in different languages for those who need it.
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 the $200 COVID-19 Disaster Payment on myGov, where possible.
You will only need to claim this payment once. We will automatically pay the $200 COVID-19 Disaster Payment for each subsequent week of a public health order.
Once a claim has been finalised, people will be paid within 7 days. Most people are paid within 1 business day.
Changes of circumstances
People are reminded to let us know about any changes to their circumstances, so we can check they’re still eligible. This can include if their work hours or employer changes.
For people who claim through myGov, they need to do this through their Centrelink online account, using the Change of Circumstances icon. They can also use this to stop their automatic payments. For people who claimed over the phone, they will need to call us on the Emergency Information line – 180 22 66 – to advise of any changes to their circumstances.
- Read more about COVID-19 Disaster Payment for people receiving Centrelink payments on our website.