NSW COVID PAYMENTS 2021: Eligibility, how to claim, when it starts, and more for the Greater Sydney lockdown
NSW residents and business owners are waiting for details of a multi-billion-dollar financial support package with no end in sight for Sydney’s lockdown.
Federal disaster relief payments currently worth up to $500 a week are available for people put out of work, while NSW has committed $1.4 billion for businesses.
Scroll down to see what payments you could be eligible for
The federal and state governments are set to unveil details of the aid to include JobKeeper-style payments to business owners to help cover costs and wages, as long as no worker is sacked.
Disaster payments are also expected to rise from the current cap of $500 a week for people in nationally-recognised hotspot areas and who cannot work.
It comes after social services and union groups demanded more support for residents locked down across Greater Sydney, the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour areas.
Small businesses have already warned their reduced revenues aren’t enough to survive and they need much more support.
Cafes, bars and pubs are limited to offering takeaway and delivery.
Aziz Bheyyui from the Red Rose Function Centre in Rockdale said he was “scared to pick up the phone” as he struggles to pay staff and refund clients.
“We’re trying our best, we just praying to God,” he said.
COVID payment NSW 2021
Currently, people can claim up to $500 a week if they are in a nationally-recognised hotspot for more than seven days and cannot work.
For people who would usually work fewer than 20 hours a week, the disaster payment drops to $325.
“This is a lump sum payment to help workers unable to earn income due to a COVID-19 lockdown, hotspot or period of restricted movement,” said Services Australia.
“You can’t get this payment for the first seven days of an event. You must submit a new claim for each additional week of lockdown or restricted movement.”
Those already receiving income support are excluded.
“We need to urgently deliver an income floor to ensure everyone affected by the pandemic has an income above the poverty line,” Australian Council of Social Service chief executive Cassandra Goldie said.
When will COVID payments start?
- the area has a public health lockdown or period of restricted movement for more than seven days
- the area is a declared COVID-19 hotspot
Residents were thrust into the current Greater Sydney lockdown on Saturday, June 26. This included residents of Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Wollongong.
COVID payment eligibility
You may be eligible if all of the following apply:
- you can’t attend work and lost income on or after day eight of a COVID-19 restriction of movement event
- you don’t have access to appropriate paid leave entitlements through your employer
- you’re not getting an income support payment, ABSTUDY Living Allowance, Dad and Partner Pay or Parental Leave Pay
- you’re not getting a state or territory pandemic payment, Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment or state small business payment for the same period.
How to claim the COVID payment
If you’re an Australian resident, you need to make the claim online via your myGov account.
Your myGov account must be linked to your Centrelink online account.
One you’re logged in, you will need to answer a few questions about your situation and then submit your responses to Services Australia.
If you are eligible, a payment will be made to your bank account and you will be sent a letter by Services Australia with more information.
Watch the video below to see how to claim the COVID-19 disaster payment
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If you’re an eligible working visa holder, you’ll need to call Services Australia on 180 22 66 between 8am-5pm on Monday to Friday.
You can call their Multilingual Phone Service on 131 202 for a range of different languages.
Currently, those eligible need to repeatedly apply for the $500 disaster payment each week when a lockdown lasts for more than seven days.
COVID payment helpline
The COVID-19 Disaster Payment is available to eligible people in a Commonwealth-declared COVID-19 hotspot in Sydney.
Call Services Australia on 180 22 66
Call the multilingual phone service on 131 202
Phone lines are open Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm.
What other financial support is available?
You may be eligible for the Pandemic leave disaster payment if you can’t earn an income because NSW Health has directed you to self-isolate or quarantine for 14 days or you are caring for someone who has COVID-19.
If you’re eligible, you’ll be paid $1500 for each 14 day period you’ve been told to self-isolate or quarantine, or are caring for someone with COVID-19.
You may be eligible if NSW Health has told you to self-isolate or quarantine. They need to give you these directions for any of the following reasons:
- 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 may also be eligible if you’re caring for someone who has COVID-19. You must also meet all of the following:
- you’re at least 17 years old and live in New South Wales
- you’re an Australian resident or hold a visa that gives you the right to work in Australia
- you’re unable to go to work and earn an income
- you have no appropriate leave entitlements, including pandemic sick leave, personal leave or leave to care for another person
- your period of quarantine is after 17 September 2020
If you’re a member of a couple, you can both claim this payment. You and your partner will need to complete separate claims.
You won’t be eligible if, during your 14-day isolation period, you get or got:
- any income, earnings or salary from paid work
- any income support payments, ABSTUDY Living Allowance, Paid Parental Leave or Dad and Partner Pay
- JobKeeper Payment
If you need longer-term help, you may be eligible for other payments.