If your job has been affected by COVID-19 and you're worried about your finances, there are ways to find support.
This section is a guide to finding help and financial relief during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
- government payments
- paid leave if you're directed to self-isolate or quarantine, or looking after someone who is
- assistance for businesses
- practical ways to manage your payments and debt
What you need to know
There are several government payments available for people whose jobs have been affected by the coronavirus.
The type of payment you can get will depend on your situation, including whether you already receive support from Centrelink.
JobSeeker is a Federal Government payment, that can help people during the coronavirus who are:
- looking for work
- sick or injured
- prevented from studying
Eligibility requirements to get the JobSeeker payment have been eased. These changes are only temporary so it’s important you regularly check the eligibility requirements at Services Australia.
There are three steps to take when applying for the JobSeeker payment:
- Check if JobSeeker is the right payment for your situation or if you’re entitled to any other type of payment
- Complete your registration to claim the JobSeeker payment. After you have registered, Centrelink will contact you about how to set up your online MyGov account so you can finalise your claim
- Finish your JobSeeker application online using your MyGov account. You’ll be given a link at the end of your application so you can track the progress of your claim online
The JobKeeper payment is to help businesses affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) keep paying their employee's wages and salaries.
The payment is given to employers by the Australian Tax Office (ATO) who then pass it on to all eligible employees.
Find out about how the JobKeeper payment works in Section 1: Know your rights at work.
Coronavirus Supplement payment
The Coronavirus Supplement is a taxable fortnightly payment for eligible people whose income has been affected by coronavirus.
Payments started from late April 2020 and are planned to continue at a decreasing rate until 31 March 2021.
You’ll automatically receive the Coronavirus Supplement if you receive one of the following payments:
- JobSeeker Payment
- Partner Allowance
- Widow Allowance
- Youth Allowance
- ABSTUDY Living Allowance
- Parenting Payment
- Farm Household Allowance
- Special Benefit
Economic Support payment
The Economic Support payment is a series of one-off payments for those who get one of the following:
- Age Pension
- Carer Allowance
- Carer Payment
- Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
- Disability Support Pension
- Double Orphan Pension
- Family Tax Benefit
- Pensioner Concession Card
- certain Department of Veterans' Affairs payments
The next Economic Support payment is $250 in March 2021 for those who get an eligible payment or have an eligible card on 26 February 2021.
You do not need to apply, as you'll be automatically paid.
It will not be available if you receive the Coronavirus Supplement payment.
There are payments you may be able to get if you:
- have been directed to self-isolate or quarantine
- are looking after someone who has been directed to self-isolate or quarantine
The type of payment you can get will depend on your situation.
Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment – NSW
The Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment - NSW is for people who can't earn an income because they must self-isolate, quarantine or care for someone who has COVID-19.
It's a lump sum payment to help you during the 14 days you need to self-isolate, quarantine or care for someone.
Crisis Payment - National Health Emergency (COVID-19)
The Crisis Payment - National Health Emergency (COVID-19) is a one-off payment if you’ve been impacted by coronavirus and you're:
- eligible for a Centrelink income support payment or ABSTUDY Living Allowance
- in severe financial hardship, and
- either required to be in self-isolation or quarantine or looking after someone required to be in self-isolation or quarantine
You're considered to be experiencing financial hardship, if you're:
- single and your finances total less than 2 weeks of the highest rate of your income support payment
- part of a couple and your finances total less than 4 weeks of the highest rate of your income support payment
The amount is equal to a week’s pay at your existing income support payment rate. You can get a maximum of 2 crisis payment in a 6-month period.
Paid pandemic leave
Paid pandemic leave is available until 29 March 2021 for residential aged care workers covered by the Aged Care, Nurses and Health Professionals Awards who are:
- full time
- part time, or
- casual employees who’ve been employed on a regular and ongoing basis
If you’re unsure, you can check which award applies to you at the Fair Work Ombudsman.
Paid pandemic leave allows you to take up to 2 weeks of paid leave each time you can’t work because:
- you have to self-isolate or quarantine
- you’ve come into contact with a person suspected of having coronavirus, or
- of government or medical authority measures taken in response to coronavirus, such as closing an aged care facility
This type of leave is worked out differently depending on your employment status.
If you take paid pandemic leave, it will be paid at your base pay rate for your ordinary hours of work. It's calculated much the same way as taking normal sick leave.
You'll be paid the higher of either:
- your agreed ordinary hours of work
- an average of your weekly ordinary hours of work for the previous 6 weeks
Taking paid pandemic leave will be based on an average of your weekly pay over the previous 6 weeks.
If you’ve been employed for less than 6 weeks, the pay needs to be based on an average of your weekly pay for the time you’ve been employed.
If you’re a business owner there is wide ranging financial support if your business has been impacted by coronavirus.
NSW Government small business stimulus package
The small business stimulus package includes:
- a grant of up to $10,000
- tax deferrals
- licence and permit waivers
Federal Government support for businesses
There is financial assistance and support for your business including:
- cash flow payments
- help to retain employees
- relief for financially distressed businesses
- investment incentive
- increasing the instant asset write-off
Business Connect is a NSW Government program that provides advice to help you start or grow your small business.
Free training is available to small business owners, if your business has been affected by the coronavirus. The training covers:
- developing a customised recovery strategy
- managing your cashflow
- accessing finance including grants and loans
- marketing your business to reach new customers
There is support available from your bank, energy company and across government to help you manage your ongoing payments and debt.
If you're having difficulty paying your utility bills, contact your energy retailer directly about setting up a hardship arrangement or payment plan.
There are many rebates available to eligible customers that can help reduce energy bills, including electricity and gas rebates for:
- retail customers (if you get your bill from an energy retailer)
- on supply customers (if you get your energy bill or invoice from a strata manager or community/village operator)
No interest loans
Good Shepherd Microfinance is a faith based organisation that works with community organisations across Australia to provide people on low incomes with:
- financial programs
- no interest loans
- insurance policies
If you need immediate financial assistance, you can apply for a no interest loan through the Good Shepherd finance program. These types of loans can help you manage expenses such as:
- washing machines
- household furniture
- education costs
- medical bills
Financial Information Service
This is a free, confidential service where you can talk to a Financial Information Service Officer from the Federal Government about:
- financial products including superannuation and investments
- financial planners and how to use their advice
- the benefit of reducing your debt
- how to increase your retirement income
Call the Financial Information Service on 132 300 to learn more about how to manage your finances
- Guidance to help you pay council rates, bills and fines at Moneysmart
- Claim expenses if you're working from home during the coronavirus at the ATO
- Learn how to plan and make a budget at Moneysmart
- National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 for free financial counselling
- Financial Rights Legal Centre provides advice and advocacy for people in financial stress