Deadline nearing to claim NSW East Coast disaster assistance

People affected by the New South Wales East Coast storms and flooding in April 2015 only have a limited time left to lodge a claim for the Disaster Recovery Payment (DRP) and the Disaster Recovery Allowance (DRA).

Department of Human Services General Manager Hank Jongen urged affected residents in the Hunter Valley, Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Central Coast, and Mid North Coast regions to finalise any outstanding claims for DRP and DRA before the closing date for claims on 23 October.

“While many people affected have already been granted payments, there may be eligible residents who are yet to lodge a claim,” Mr Jongen said.

“The one-off Disaster Recovery payment of $1,000 for eligible adults and $400 for each eligible child under the age of 16 is available to people who were significantly affected by the storms and flooding and meet the criteria.

“The Disaster Recovery Allowance is available for a maximum of 13 weeks to assist eligible individuals including employees, primary producers and sole traders who experienced a loss of income as a direct result of the storms and flooding.

“More than 83,000 claims have been granted for the DRP worth over $100,000,000; and more than 590 DRA claims have been granted to residents affected by this event.”

Program Support Manager, Michelle Lawrence assisted during the emergency recovery effort in managing the Maitland Service Centre, and said she is proud of the efforts of staff in rallying together to assist the local community, left reeling by storm damage.

“Staff were working around the clock to help residents get back on their feet and assist them to claim disaster assistance or to access advance payments,” Michelle said.

“We were also busy linking affected residents to other community organisations to ensure they received the essential support throughout the recovery process, whether it was seeking donated goods, emergency accommodation, or even counselling.

“The damage caused by these storms and flooding was devastating. Gillieston Heights was accessible only by boat and the local SES ran a ferry service to help residents access their homes.

“A loss of power also made it difficult for people to access money in the bank for essentials, such as food or petrol. One man told me he hadn’t eaten in four days.

“People have been so supportive throughout the recovery process, and it was overwhelming to see the community pitch in to help each other in times of need.”

To lodge a claim, or for more information, phone the Australian Government Emergency Information line on 180 22 66 or visit