Media release: COVID-19 Disaster Payment changes as the ACT reaches 80% fully vaccinated
Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie
Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC
The temporary COVID-19 Disaster Payment will wind down in the ACT, with 80% of the population now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Since it was introduced in mid-2021, the COVID-19 Disaster Payment has supported more than 64 thousand people in the ACT, who have received a combined $318 million. Across Australia, 2.3 million people have received a COVID-19 Disaster Payment, totaling more than $11 billion.
Minister for Emergency Management, Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie, welcomed the news and explained the changes.
“The people of the ACT have shown great resilience and commitment to reach this important milestone,” Minister McKenzie said.
“Now that 80% of the ACT’s population aged 16 years and older have been fully vaccinated, changes to the payment will come into effect.
“It has been encouraging to see restrictions easing and businesses re-opening the ACT.
“There has already been a downward trend in the number of COVID-19 Disaster Payment claims as more people return to work.
“While it’s fantastic to see people in the ACT returning to work, the payment will remain available to workers who continue to be impacted by restrictions for another two weeks.”
People need to apply each week to ensure they remain eligible, and the payment rate will decrease over a two week period before it stops.
In the first week after a state or territory reaches the 80% milestone, people can apply for:
- $450 if they’ve lost 8 hours or a full day’s work or more;
- $100 if they’re getting a Centrelink or Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) payment and have lost work.
In the second and final week after reaching 80%:
- the rate decreases to $320 for those who have lost 8 hours or a full day’s work or more;
- the payment stops for people getting a Centrelink or a DVA payment.
Minister for Government Services Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC encouraged people who are still unable to work in the ACT to re-apply for the payment.
“I would like to reassure people that support is available,” Minister Reynolds said.
“People whose income is still affected are encouraged to reapply for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment while it is available and to consider the other longer-term support if they need it.
“Claiming the COVID-19 Disaster Payment online through myGov remains the quickest and easiest way – more than 90% of claims are made online and some are processed within hours.
“Please visit the Services Australia website for detailed information on when you can claim the COVID-19 Disaster Payment again, and when the payment will cease in your area.
“As the payment winds down, you may be eligible to claim an income support payment if your hours have reduced or you have lost your job entirely.
“There are also other payments available to people who are in severe financial hardship, such as the Crisis Payment.
“People who haven’t returned to the workforce, or can’t get enough hours’ work, should test their eligibility for other support through the Services Australia website.”
More information is available at: servicesaustralia.gov.au/covid19disasterpayment