How you could get a free $500 payment from the government TOMORROW – so are you eligible?
- Federal government assistance of up to $500 each week will start on July 1
- People are eligible if they’re in a Covid hotspot and can’t work
- But they can’t claim the payment if they’re on the dole or other income support
Social services groups want the federal government to plug gaps in its COVID disaster payment system as fresh outbreaks again wreak havoc on state and territory borders.
People are eligible for up to $500 a week if they’re in a nationally-recognised hotspot for more than seven days and cannot work.
But they aren’t eligible if they’re also on the dole or other income support, or if they’re receiving a separate federal disaster leave payment that also excludes people on JobSeeker.
The $500 weekly payments for locked-down Sydneysiders from the eastern suburbs unable to work will begin on Thursday, while the rest of Greater Sydney, Central Coast and Wollongong can claim the cash from July 4.
If Queensland or Darwin’s lockdowns last longer than seven days, residents will be entitled to the same benefits.
Australians living in a Covid hotspot (such as those in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, pictured on the first day of lockdown on Saturday) can claim $500 from the government from Thursday
The Australian Council of Social Service on Monday urged the Morrison government to plug gaps in its $500-a-week payment as states and territories again slammed their borders shut.
ACOSS chief executive Cassandra Goldie said people shouldn’t have to wait a week to get the money or be excluded because they’re getting JobSeeker.
‘Getting by on the paltry rate of JobSeeker is impossible at the best of times, let alone in a lockdown,’ Dr Goldie said.
For people who would usually work fewer than 20 hours a week, the disaster payment drops to $325.
It’s separate to the government’s $1500 payment for people forced to quarantine for two weeks, which comes with its own caveats.
The $500 weekly payments for locked-down Sydneysiders from the eastern suburbs (above, Bondi Beach on Sunday) unable to work will begin on Thursday
States and territories have all but closed themselves off to each other as NSW, Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia record new cases.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said lockdowns and restrictions were the fault of the Morrison government and it should look after people who couldn’t work as a result.
Newly appointed Emergency Management Minister Bridget McKenzie was contacted for comment.
Who is eligible under the scheme?
* People who work more than 20 hours a week will be eligible for $500
* Those working less than 20 hours will be able to access $325
* Calculated based on the week before the lockdown
* Available in areas which are designated as coronavirus hotspots locked down for more than seven days
* State health restrictions must be the reason for people not attending work
* Annual leave will not have to be used but the person must not have special pandemic leave or sick leave available
* Must have less than $10,000 in liquid assets
* Must be an Australian resident or have a working visa
* Available to workers aged 17 and above
* People receiving government payments including JobSeeker will be ineligible
* Retrospective checks may be enforced to ensure people comply
Source: Prime Minister Scott Morrison