10 News First reporting (17 August 2021) incorrectly claimed that Services Australia paid COVID-19 Disaster Payments to people in South East Queensland who were not eligible. This is inaccurate and Services Australia provided a statement confirming this ahead of the story airing.
The COVID-19 Disaster Payment is paid in arrears. This means the final payment may be made to a customer after a lockdown has finished. For South East Queensland, the lockdown period finished on Sunday 8 August 2021.
These payments are consistent with policy instruction and are not made in error.
Once a person is assessed as eligible for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment, they will be paid automatically for each period of lockdown (7 days or part thereof) until restrictions lift in their area. Payments will change if a customer notifies us of a change in their circumstances, such as returning to work.
We’re seeking to contact the business profiled directly to correct this misinformation for their staff.
We acknowledge that a service officer may have provided incorrect information about the recovery of overpayments in this instance and we apologise for any confusion this may have caused.
We want to assure customers in South East Queensland that if they didn’t return to work on Sunday, 8 August, that they are eligible to receive the same rate they were paid for the first week of lockdown. They won’t need to pay us back.
There is information about what people need to do if they do have a change in circumstances on our website: www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/covid-19-disaster-payment-queensland-if-you-dont-get-centrelink-payment/what-you-need-do-if-you-get-payment