COVID-19 pandemic leave payments are back

From Wednesday 20th July, Australians with COVID-19 who are forced to isolate without sick leave will again be able to claim up to $750 in hardship payments.

The federal government extended the pandemic leave payments until the end of September in response to the rapidly rising number of COVID-19 cases nationwide.

Who is eligible for the payment?

The one-off lump sum payment is for those who can’t work because they’re isolating, due to being infected or being a close contact.

You are also eligible if: 

  • a child for whom you care is 16 years or under or they are a close contact of a person who has COVID-19 
  • you’re caring for someone who has COVID-19
  • you’re caring for someone with a disability or a severe medical condition who must self-isolate or quarantine because they’re a close contact of a person with COVID-19.

How much can I claim for?

If you lost eight hours of work in a seven-day period you are entitled to a $450 payment.

If you lost 20 hours or more of work within the same period you are eligible to claim the full $750 payment.

If you’re in a couple that have both lost work due to isolation, you can both claim the payment but will need to complete separate claims.

When can I claim the COVID-19 leave payment?

From 8am on July 20, you can lodge an application through Centrelink.

You have 14 days from the first day of your seven-day period of self-isolation, quarantine or caring to submit your claim.

Because the scheme lapsed from June 30, all payments are being backdated to July 1.

This means that, if you’ve met the criteria for the payments during the time the scheme wasn’t running, you will still be able to claim payments from this time period.

The scheme is scheduled to end on September 30, 2022, with the government not providing any indication of whether it will be extended again.

How do I make a claim?

You have to apply through the myGov portal. You must link your myGov account to Centrelink and prove your identity if you have not claimed the payment before.

For step-by-step instructions on how to set up a myGov account, head to the Services Australia website.

If you cannot use online services, call 180 22 66 for help claiming the payment.

Who can’t claim?

If you are already claiming income support payments such as AUSTUDY, Jobseeker, Age Pension or Youth Allowance you will be ineligible to claim.

This also extends to people receiving parental leave or Dad and Partner Pay.

Anyone who has received other government payments during their isolation period — for example, the Queensland Hardship Payment or the NSW Test or Isolate Payment — may also be ineligible.

You must also have liquid assets of less that $10,000 on the first day of the period you are claiming for.

What proof do I need?

A positive RAT registered with a state or territory health authority or proof of a positive PCR test is all that is needed for a claim.

For instructions on how to lodge your positive RAT test in your state, head to the Department of Health website.

Proof of communication from health officials directing you to isolate can also be provided as proof of being a close contact or carer.



Peta Stephen