Below is information and services to help you if you’re affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) or looking for more details.

For more information, visit: 

https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/subjects/affected-coronavirus-covid-19

RESOURCES & SUPPORT FOR ON-HIRES

You may get help from Centrelink if you or your family are affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

To get a payment, you’ll need to meet all the eligibility rules including residence rules and income tests.

You may get a payment in any of the following circumstances. These include if you’re:

  • not able to work or don’t have work
  • in isolation or hospitalised
  • caring for children.

You may get 1 of the following payments:

If you’re claiming Youth Allowance as a job seeker or JobSeeker Payment Centrelink may need information about your employment situation. This includes if you’re still working but there’s a reduction in your hours or earnings.

You can submit your claim using either your:

Centrelink has changed rules for people affected by coronavirus.

You may be exempt from mutual obligation or participation requirements.

Centrelink has also waived all of the following:

  • ordinary waiting period
  • liquid asset test waiting period
  • newly arrived residents waiting period
  • seasonal work preclusion period.

The Department of Health coronavirus (COVID-19) health alert has more information about the coronavirus situation.

Centrelink is experiencing a high demand for services. You don’t need to go to a service centre.

You can start by registering your intention to claim through myGov. Centrelink will contact you for more information.

You can access Centrelink the following ways:

Online

If you haven’t already, create a myGov account so you can manage your Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support business online.

If you haven’t got an online account, you’ll have to phone Centrelink to link your account.

You can claim most of our payments online.

Phone

Centrelink have phone lines to help you.

The JobSeeker Payment line has extended opening hours from 8 am to 8 pm Monday to Friday and 9 am to 5 pm Saturday to Sunday.

Visit

Currently all service centres are open during usual business hours. Social distancing measures have been introduced and important health information about COVID-19 and reminders about good hygiene are on display.

Where to find information

Health Direct

If you’re concerned about your health, Health Direct has information about the virus. They also have a symptom checker and a helpline if you want to speak with a registered nurse.

Department of Health

The Department of Health provides information about coronavirus including who is at risk, how the virus spreads and what the symptoms are.

Where to find support

Home isolation, quarantine periods and the spread of the virus can be stressful and may leave you feeling concerned. It may also be concerning for children and young people.

Lifeline is a national charity open to all Australians in personal crisis. They have 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.

Headspace is the national youth mental health foundation. They can help young people who are going through a tough time.

Frequently asked questions

The Government is providing two separate $750 payments to social security, veteran and other income support recipients and eligible concession card holders. Around half of those that benefit are pensioners. These payments will support households to manage the economic impact of the Coronavirus.

  • The first payment (announced on 12 March 2020) will be available to people who are eligible payment recipients and concession card holders at any time from 12 March 2020 to 13 April 2020 inclusive.
  • The second payment will be available to people who are eligible payment recipients and concession card holders on 10 July 2020.

A person can be eligible to receive both a first and second support payment. However, they can only receive one $750 payment in each round of payments, even if they qualify in each round of the payments in multiple ways.

The payment will be exempt from taxation and will not count as income for the purposes of Social Security, Farm Household Allowance and Veteran payments.

Eligibility for the first payment

To be eligible for the first payment, you must be residing in Australia and be receiving certain support payments or concession cards, at any time from 12 March 2020 to 13 April 2020.

Eligibility for the second payment

To be eligible for the second payment, you must be residing in Australia and be receiving one of the payments or holding one of the concession cards that were eligible for the first payment, except for those who are receiving an income support payment that is eligible to receive the Coronavirus supplement.

For further information, download the “Payments to support households” fact sheet and/or “Income support for individuals”.

The Australian Government has announced more payments and streamlined claims for people affected by coronavirus.

Coronavirus Supplement

The temporary Coronavirus Supplement will be an extra $550 a fortnight payment from 27 April 2020 on top of your income support payment.

You’ll automatically get the supplement if you’re getting one of these payments:

  • JobSeeker Payment, Partner Allowance, Widow Allowance, Sickness Allowance and Wife Pension
  • Youth Allowance for job seekers
  • Youth Allowance for students and apprentices
  • Austudy for students and apprentices
  • ABSTUDY for students getting Living Allowance
  • Parenting Payment partnered and single
  • Farm Household Allowance
  • Special Benefit.

Crisis Payment

Centrelink will make a one off Crisis Payment available if you’re in severe financial hardship and:

  • need to self-isolate; or
  • are caring for someone self isolating.

A crisis payment is one week of your base income support payment rate.

All payments will be backdated to the time you register your intent to claim.

Centrelink is temporarily expanding eligibility for the JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance for job seekers.

You will have access if you’re:

  • a permanent employee who has been stood down or lost your job
  • a sole trader, self-employed, a casual or contract worker whose income has reduced
  • caring for someone who’s affected by coronavirus.

Centrelink has waived asset testing for 6 months from 25 March 2020, except for Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit. They have also waived the liquid asset test waiting period, newly arrived residents waiting period, and seasonal work preclusion period.

Income testing will still apply.

On 12 March 2020 the Government started a 3 month waiving of the Ordinary Waiting Period. This will continue while these temporary arrangements are in place.

Income maintenance and compensation preclusion periods will continue to apply.

If you get JobSeeker Payment or Youth Allowance for job seekers you can’t access employer entitlements at the same time. This includes annual leave or sick leave, or income protection insurance.

As it currently stands, if you lose your job and your partner earns more than $1,850 a fortnight ($48,100 a year) you will not be eligible for the Jobseeker Payment.

However, things are changing rapidly and there are calls for this to be increased.

If you’re affected by coronavirus (COVID-19), you can register your intention to claim a Centrelink payment.

You don’t need to complete a full claim right now. You can register your intention to claim at a time and place that works for you. Services Australia will backdate your payment.

You don’t need to go into a service centre to register your intention to claim. You can do it through myGov.

Once you’ve registered your intention to make a claim, Centrelink will contact you to let you know what the next steps are.

Follow the relevant link below to register your intent to claim:

Centrelink is experiencing a high demand for services. You don’t need to go to a service centre.

You can start by registering your intention to claim through myGov. Centrelink will contact you for more information.

You can access Centrelink the following ways:

Online

If you haven’t already, create a myGov account so you can manage your Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support business online.

If you haven’t got an online account, you’ll have to phone Centrelink to link your account.

You can claim most of our payments online.

Phone

Centrelink have phone lines to help you.

The JobSeeker Payment line has extended opening hours from 8 am to 8 pm Monday to Friday and 9 am to 5 pm Saturday to Sunday.

Visit

Currently all service centres are open during usual business hours. Social distancing measures have been introduced and important health information about COVID-19 and reminders about good hygiene are on display.

The Government is allowing individuals affected by the Coronavirus to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21.

To apply for early release you must satisfy certain requirements.

For more information, download the “Early Access to Super” fact sheet.

The big four banks are letting borrowers hit pause on their payments if they have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Some banks explicitly state only customers affected by coronavirus will be eligible to pause their repayments.

If you’re with Commonwealth

  • You will be able to defer home loan repayments for up to six months
  • Interest will be capitalised
  • Interest and charges will be added to your loan balance
  • Your loan balance will be recalculated at the end of the support period
  • Your loan term will be extended so repayments stay the same as they were before you started the deferral

If you’re with Westpac

  • You will be able to defer repayments for three months
  • A three-month extension is available after review
  • This option is for people who have lost their job or income as a result of coronavirus
  • Deferred interest will be capitalised, so your repayments will increase for the remainder of your loan term

If you’re with NAB

  • You will be able to defer your repayments for up to six months
  • There will be a three-month checkpoint with the bank
  • You are eligible if you are a home loan customer affected by coronavirus
  • This applies for owner-occupiers, investors or those on a principal and interest or interest only repayment schedule
  • You will still be able to redraw during the repayment pause

If you’re with ANZ

  • You may be able to put your repayments on hold for six months
  • Interest will be capitalised
  • The bank will check in with you after three months

Contact your bank for further details and to pause repayments on your mortgage.