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Finding support

If you think you may have COVID-19 call the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services’ hotline 1800 675 398 to find out if you should get tested.

If you are told to get tested, there's a list of current testing sites you can find here, and you can also phone your usual health service to see if they can test you.

Save 000 for emergencies only.

 

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Emergency relief packages

These are available for vulnerable Victorians needing to self-quarantine due to coronavirus (COVID-19)

The program supports people in mandatory self-isolation, who have little or no food, and no network of family and friends to support them. Each eligible household will receive a two-week supply of essential goods.

Food packages will include items such as long-life milk, pasta, cereal, canned vegetables and sugar. Personal care packages will also be distributed to eligible households and include soap, toothpaste and deodorant. Additional items may also be provided depending on the needs of the household, such as nappies or baby formula.

The packages will be delivered door-to-door, with other distribution points to be established as required.

The packages can be accessed by calling Victoria’s dedicated coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398. The hotline can also refer people to other support services if needed.

You can get more information about the packages here.

 

Caring for a vulnerable child in primary or secondary school

The start of the school holidays has been brought forward by the Victorian Government as part of its response to the COVID19 pandemic.

Children in out-of-home care, and children who Child Protection and/or Family services have identified as being ‘at risk of harm’ are not required by law to be at school for the rest of this week.  However, schools are expected to provide a care and supervision program for them, if needed.

If you need this support, contact the school to discuss the arrangements they have in place.

 

Government financial support

Are you eligible for the $550 fortnightly supplement payment?

Existing and new recipients of social security benefits will be receiving a fortnightly $550 supplement to their payment.  This applies to you if you receive any of the following payments:

  • Jobseeker Payment
  • Youth Allowance Jobseeker
  • Parenting Payment
  • Farm Household Allowance
  • Special Benefits
  • Youth Allowance
  • Abstudy
  • Austudy

In addition, recipients of this supplement, pensioners and concession card holders will also receive a $750 one-off payment in late March-April

A second one-off payment of $750 will be provided in July to anyone who received the March-April payment but was not eligible for the fortnightly supplement

How do you access these payments?

If you are already receiving a study allowance or another social security payment (e.g. Newstart) you will automatically receive the extra payments, without contacting Centrelink

If you are not currently receiving any form of social security payment, you will need to lodge a claim with Centrelink:

  • Online: if you have internet access, try applying online with MyGov. You can lodge your claim, or, if you are short on time, lodge an Intent to Claim electronic form now, and complete the full claim form later. If you have lodged and Intent to Claim, your payment will be backdated to the day you lodged your intent to claim
  • By phone: not everyone has internet access.  The number for the Jobseeker Payment is 132 850. 
  • In person: If you do decide to line up, please practice social distancing.

 

Have you lost your job due to COVID-19? Are you an employer?

If you lost your job in March, or if you are concerned about losing your job in the coming months, you may be able to access a fixed payment of $1,500 per fortnight through your most recent employer.

Employers whose business has lost more than 30% of its turnover as a result of COVID-19 will be able to claim a fortnightly payment of $1,500 per eligible employee from 30 March 2020, for a maximum period of 6 months.

Businesses can also use the payment to rehire staff who have been terminated due to the impact of COVID-19.

To receive a payment, the employer and employee must meet the following criteria.

If you are an eligible employee

You must meet the following criteria:

  • You were employed at 1 March 2020
  • A full-time, part-time, or long-term casual (a casual employed on a regular basis for longer than 12 months as at 1 March 2020)
  • At least 16 years of age
  • Are not in receipt of a JobKeeper Payment from another employer
  • An Australian citizen, the holder of a permanent visa, a Protected Special Category Visa Holder, a non-protected Special Category Visa Holder who has been residing continually in Australia for 10 years or more, or a Special Category (Subclass 444) Visa Holder

If you are an eligible employer

  • You must be running a businesses (this includes companies, partnerships, trusts and sole traders), not-for-profits and charities)
  • Your business has a turnover of less than $1 billion and that turnover will be reduced by more than 30 per cent relative to a comparable period a year ago (over the period of at least a month)
  • Your business is not subject to the Major Bank Levy.

How do I access the payment?

Employers can register their interest in applying for the JobKeeper Payment via ato.gov.au from 30 March 2020.

Eligible employers will then be able to apply for the scheme online application and if approved the first payment will be received by employers from the ATO in the first week of May.

Employees who have recently lost their job or are fearful about losing their job can speak to their employer about accessing the payment.

Businesses without employees

Businesses without employees, such as the self-employed, will need to provide an ABN for their business, nominate an individual to receive the payment and provide that individual’s Tax File Number and provide a declaration as to recent business activity. Further details for the self-employed will be provided here

Further details for the self-employed will be provided here.

Employees who have lost their job or are fearful about losing their job can speak to their employer about accessing the payment.

You can find full information about eligible employers and how employers can apply for the scheme here.   

JobSeeker Payment extended to those whose partners earn $79,762 or less.

Previously, Australians who are out of work were not eligible for the JobSeeker payment if their partner earns $48,000 or more.

Under changes made on Monday, 30 March, people will now be eligible for job-seeker payments unless their partner earns $79,762 or more.

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