With the extension of the NSW lockdown by another 4 weeks, both the Federal and NSW government has flagged extra financial support for individuals. Eligible workers will be in line to receive $750 a week if they lose 20 hours or more of work (up from $600 previously). Those that lose between 8 and less than 20 hours will receive a payment of $450 per week (up from $375). The new increased rates will apply from 2 August 2021 for those in NSW lockdown and those that have already applied for the previous payment will have their payment rates automatically updated.
The new rates will also apply from day one of any potential future lockdown happening in any State or Territory with claims made from day 8 in arrears for the previous 7 days. Going forward, payments will be made on a weekly basis for the duration of the hotspot declaration by the Commonwealth. As with the previously announced conditions of the COVID-19 disaster payment, there will be no liquid assets test applied to the eligibility for these payments, and an individual does not need to run down personal annual leave in order to access the increased disaster payment.
If you’re a member of a couple and you both meet eligibility conditions, you can each claim this payment, although separate claims will need to be made. Another interesting thing to note is that if you’re receiving a pandemic leave disaster payment, a State/Territory pandemic payment, or a State small business payment, you will be ineligible to receive the COVID-19 disaster payment at the same time.
While the Federal government doesn’t clearly specify what NSW payments are captured under this rule, it may be that the COVID-19 business grant, COVID-19 micro-business grant, JobSaver payment, small business fees and charges rebate, and payroll tax support may all be included in the category.
Therefore, some individuals may need to decide on which payment is best for them. Recipients of other Federal government income support payments such as the JobSeeker are also now eligible to receive an extra weekly top up of $200 to their payment due to their ineligibility to receive the COVID-19 disaster payment. This only applies if they can demonstrate that they have lost more than 8 hours of work and meet the other eligibility requirements for the COVID-19 disaster payment.
With the $200 weekly top up, the new rates for eligible recipients on the JobSeeker would be $1,020.80 and $1,067.50 per fortnight for single recipients without and with children, respectively. Recipients of other income support payments such as the parenting payment are also eligible to receive this top up provided they meet the eligibility criteria. Claims will need to be made through myGov and it will be a separate stand-alone payment that will be paid weekly for the duration of the lockdown as long as the Commonwealth Hotspot declaration remains in place.
Speak to one of our accountants today if you have any questions or need assistance with your COVID grants.