A beleaguered New South Wales is suffering through its second round of intense floods this year, prompting the government to release emergency disaster funds for 23 local government areas.
NSW State Emergency Service chief superintendent Ashley Sullivan said 40,000 people remained under the 69 evacuation orders still in place on Friday.
“There’s a lot of risk out there and it is not over yet,” Mr Sullivan told the Seven Network.
“We have a few days, if not a few weeks, left.”
The Insurance Council of Australia said insurers have already received more than 8000 claims related to the floods, with a total estimated insurance loss of $97.9 million.
But not everyone will be able to rely on insurance payouts to get through the aftermath of the latest natural disaster.
Finder insurance expert James Martin said many home insurance policies cover flood damage automatically, but some insurers only offer it as an extra and others don’t offer it in high-flood-risk areas.
“Unfortunately, a lot of people have been priced out of flood insurance,” Mr Martin said.
If you’ve found yourself unprotected by your insurance policy after the recent floods in NSW, or if you’re in need of some quick cash, read on to find out about the disaster payment options available to you.
You can apply for the following financial aid through your myGov account.
Eligible LGAs for flood disaster support
The 23 NSW LGAs eligible for financial support after recent floods are:
- Blue Mountains
- Canterbury Bankstown
- Central Coast
- Georges River
- Northern Beaches
- The Hills
NSW flood Disaster Recovery Payment
The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment is aimed to help people with major damage to their property or other assets, with serious injuries, or with immediate family members who have died or gone missing.
Eligible NSW residents can receive $1000 per adult and $400 for each child under 16 years old.
To be eligible for the payment, you or a dependent child (for whom you are a principal carer) must be an Australian resident or hold an eligible visa and reside in an eligible LGA.
You can only claim this payment once, and if you’re part of a couple, you and your partner must make separate claims.
Disaster Recovery Allowance
The Disaster Recovery Allowance provides financial support for people who have lost income as a direct result of the July NSW floods.
If you live in one of the 23 eligible NSW LGAs and – due to the floods – are earning less than the average Australian weekly income of $1737.10, you’ll get the maximum equivalent rate of weekly income from the JobSeeker Payment or Youth Allowance, depending on your personal circumstances.
You won’t be eligible for this payment if you receive any of the following payments during your claim period:
- An income-support payment or pension
- Parental Leave Pay
- Dad and Partner Pay
- ABSTUDY Living Allowance
- Farm Household Allowance
- A Service Pension from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs
- Self-Employment Allowance or New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) Allowance.
If you do receive the Disaster Recovery Allowance, you could potentially access the Beneficiary Tax Offset. This may reduce the amount of tax you pay.
Disaster Relief Grant
The Disaster Relief Grant support will especially help if you’re not covered by your insurance provider for natural disaster damages, as the eligibility criteria includes:
- Your primary residence was damaged by a natural disaster
- You do not have insurance for the damage, or your insurance doesn’t cover the damage caused during this natural disaster
- You are a low-income earner with limited financial resources after tax, mortgage or rent have been deducted
- It has been less than six months since the disaster.
You might not be eligible if the damage to your home was caused or affected by lack of maintenance, or if the damage is cosmetic and not essential to your home being safe and habitable.
Disaster Relief Grant assistance falls into two categories:
- Essential Household Contents Grants to assist with the cost of replacing essential household items necessary to maintain a basic standard of living
- Structural Grants that either help pay for essential structural repairs to homes, or full rebuilds of a property that has been rendered uninhabitable by a natural disaster.
To apply for a Disaster Relief Grant, phone 13 77 88 to find out if you could be eligible, and follow the instructions from there.
Support for New Zealanders
New Zealand nationals have been allocated their own financial assistance, perhaps because the federal government wishes to build a closer relationship with our Kiwi neighbours.
Recipients of the New Zealand Disaster Recovery Payment can receive $1000 per adult, $1000 per partner or dependent adult, and $400 for each child under 16 years old.
You can receive the New Zealand Disaster Recovery Payment if you or a dependent child (for whom you are a principal carer) are a New Zealander holding a non-protected Special Category Visa (subclass 444) and a non-resident under the Social Security Act 1991.
You must also live in one of the eligible LGAs, and have paid tax in Australia for at least one year in the past three financial years, or will do so before July 7, 2023.
New Zealanders can also receive the New Zealand Disaster Recovery Allowance, which offers the same JobSeeker Payment or Youth Allowance financial aid as the Disaster Recovery Allowance available to other Australian residents, and comes with the same eligibility limits on your weekly income.
The other eligibility criteria for the New Zealand Disaster Recovery Allowance are the same as the criteria for the New Zealand Disaster Recovery Payment, except that the deadline to pay tax in Australia is July 5, 2023.
More information about financial support following flooding can be found on the NSW government website.