What lockdown support is available for individuals? – PART 1

What lockdown support is available for individuals?

PART1 - COVID-19 Disaster Payments

The COVID-19 Disaster Payment is a weekly payment available to eligible workers who can’t attend work or who have lost income because of a lockdown and don’t have access to certain paid leave entitlements. If you are a couple, both people can separately claim the payment.

Sole traders may apply for COVID-19 Disaster Payment if you are unable to operate your business from home. However, you will not be eligible if you are also receiving a state business grant such as the NSW 2021 COVID-19 Business Grant or JobSaver.

Timing of the payment

The disaster payment is generally accessible if the hotspot triggering the lockdown lasts more than 7 days as declared by the Chief Medical Officer (you can find the listing here). From 2 August 2021, payments will apply from day one of the lockdown and will be paid in arrears once claims open (previously, the payment only applied from day 8 of a lockdown).

However, the disaster payment will also be available:

·         In NSW from 18 July 2021, to anyone who meets the eligibility criteria. The requirement to be in a Commonwealth declared hotspot has been removed and the payment will apply to anyone in NSW impacted by the lockdowns who meets the other eligibility criteria.

·         In Victoria from 15 to 27 July 2021, to anyone who met the eligibility criteria. The requirement to be in a Commonwealth declared hotspot was removed and the payment applies to anyone in Victoria impacted by the lockdowns who met the other eligibility criteria.

Area Date of declaration Disaster payment accessible from
City of Sydney, Waverley, Woollahra, Bayside, Canada Bay, Inner West and Randwick 23 June 2021 1 July 2021
Greater Sydney including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Wollongong 26 June 2021 4 July 2021
All of New South Wales   18 July 2021
All of Victoria 15 July 2021 23 July 2021*

*Payment accessible from 23 July 2021 paid in arrears from 15 July 2021 (day 1 of the

How much is the payment?

The COVID-19 disaster payment amount available depends on:

·         How many hours of work you have lost in the week, and

·         If the payment is on or after the third period of the lockdown. 


Hours of work lost

Disaster payment amounts

Between 8 and 20 (or a full day of work)

20 or more

Weeks 2 and 3 of a lockdown* $325 $500

From week 4 of a lockdown onwards

$375 $600

From 2 August 2021**

$450 $750

* Eligible Victorians received the higher rate from week one of the lockdown

** These higher rates will apply from day one of any potential lockdown in the future

The payment applies to each week of lockdown you are eligible and is taxable (you will need to declare it in your income tax return).


The COVID-19 disaster payment is emergency relief. It is available if you:

·         Live or work in an area that is subject to a state or territory public health order that imposes restriction on movement and is declared a Commonwealth COVID-19 hotspot, or

·         Have visited an area that is a Commonwealth COVID-19 hotspot and you are subsequently subject to a restricted movement order when you return to other parts of New South Wales or interstate.

And you:

·       Are an Australian citizen, permanent resident or temporary visa holder who has the right to work in Australia, and

·       Are aged 17 years or over, and

·       Have lost 8 hours or more of work or a full day of your usual work as a result of the restrictions – losing work includes being stood down by your employer, not being assigned any shifts for the week of restrictions and being unable to work from home. Losing a full day of what you were scheduled to work but could not work because of a restricted movement order includes not being able to attend a full-time, part-time or casual shift of less than 8 hours, and

·       Don’t have paid pandemic-related leave available through your employer (annual leave is not taken into account for this), and

·       Are not receiving income support payments, a state or territory pandemic payment, Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment or state small business payment for the same period. See ‘Top up’ payments for those on income support below. Income support payments include Age Pension, Austudy, Carer Payment, Disability Support Pension, Farm Household Allowance, JobSeeker Payment, Parenting Payment, Partner Allowance, Special Benefit, Widow Allowance, Youth Allowance and Income Support Supplement, Service Pension or Veteran Pension from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

A liquid assets test of $10,000 previously applied to the disaster payment but was removed from Thursday, 8 July 2021.

‘Top up’ payments for those on income support

A special separate $200 ‘top-up’ payment will be made to those who currently receive an income support payment through social security, in addition to their existing payment, if they can demonstrate they have lost more than 8 hours of work and meet the other eligibility requirements for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment.