Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme
Minister for Government Services

Media release: Changes to the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment

8 January 2022

Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie

Minister for Emergency Management and National Recovery and Resilience
Minister for Regionalisation, Regional Communications and Regional Education

Senator the Hon Anne Ruston

Acting Minister for Government Services
Minister for Women's Safety

Changes will be made to the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment to ensure it aligns with recent changes to testing and isolation requirements agreed by National Cabinet.

Firstly, from Monday 10 January 2022, in line with the changes to testing requirements, Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) results will be accepted in addition to Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) results. People will need to have advice of a positive test from a testing clinic or health professional or evidence that they have registered a positive result from a home-administered RAT with their state health authority.

Effective from 18 January 2022, people who have lost at least a day of work because they are isolating due to being COVID-19 positive, caring for someone who is COVID-19 positive or meet the definition of a close contact may be eligible for up to $750.

Minister for Emergency Management and National Recovery and Resilience, Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie said the changes would ensure the payment remained targeted and available for those who need it most.

“Throughout the pandemic, the Morrison Government has stood shoulder to shoulder with Australians,” Minister McKenzie said.

“The Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment ensures that eligible workers either diagnosed with COVID-19, identified as a close contact or caring for someone with COVID-19 can access the support they need.

“A close contact will be anyone who cares for, or lives in the same household as, a COVID-19 positive person, has spent more than four hours in the same house or is required to isolate.” 

The Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment will be scaled based on the number of hours of work the individual has lost or expects to lose during an isolation period of up to seven days:

  • Individuals who have lost or expect to lose 20 hours or more will continue to be entitled to $750.
  • Individuals have lost or expect to lose at least a day of work or up to 19 hours will be entitled to $450.

A financial hardship test will also be introduced with individuals who have available funds of $10,000 or more ineligible to ensure the taxpayer funded payments are targeted to those who need them most.

The financial assistance is being jointly funded by the Australian and state and territory governments.

Acting Minister for Government Services, Senator the Hon Anne Ruston said the funding would contribute to national efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the community.

“The Morrison Government remains committed to supporting people who cannot go to work due to COVID-19 and who are doing the right thing and protecting the community by following health directions and staying at home,” Minister Ruston said.

“As at 3 January, over $236 million has been paid to Australians required to isolate through the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment.

“A new online claim system is also being stood up to support the Payment, making it simpler and easier for people to apply.”

Claims can be made via your Centrelink Online Account in myGov.

If a person can’t use online services they can call 180 22 66 for help claiming this payment.

Individuals will have 14 days from the commencement of their isolation period to claim the payment.

Page last updated: 8 January 2022