Finance Welfare Coronavirus lockdown: Here’s what financial support is available and how to get it
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Coronavirus lockdown: Here’s what financial support is available and how to get it

Watch: How to take care of your mental health in coronavirus lockdown.
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Victoria was plunged into a five-day snap lockdown on Thursday after a cluster of COVID-19 infections grew to more than a dozen cases.

A full list of restrictions and reasons to leave home is available here.

But what financial support and trlief from bills is available for those struggling to make ends meet during the state’s fifth lockdown?

Locked down in Sydney? Read our Sydney specific guide here.

Victoria lockdown: Cash payments

Cash payments are available for residents affected by the Victoria’s fifth lockdown, provided they meet certain criteria.

COVID-19 disaster payment

The federal government introduced the COVID-19 Disaster Payment in June in response to the last lockdown in Victoria.

It then changed the program on Thursday night, announcing payments will be joint-funded with the Victorian state government.

Individuals who have lost between 8 and 20 hours of work are eligible for a $375 payment, which rises to $600 for those who lost 20 hours or more of work.

Previously, a liquid asset test of $10,000 applied, but this was scrapped on Thursday night.

The payment is available to people aged 17 years or older who reside in a Commonwealth-declared COVID-19 hotspot and who lost work as a direct result of a government lockdown.

It will be paid in arrears from July 23 after applications are submitted with ServicesAustralia.

But the payment is not available to people who receive other types of income support such as JobSeeker or the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment. It only kicks in on the the eighth day of a lockdown, and applicants must not have any “appropriate paid leave entitlements”.

You can apply for the payment online via your MyGov account.

Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment

Residents required to self-isolate, quarantine or care for someone who has COVID-19 may be eligible for lump sum payments worth $1500 over 14 days.

But the payment is not available to people who receive any income from paid work or already receive an income-support payment from the federal government.

Applicants must also have no appropriate leave entitlements available, such as sick leave or personal leave.

Services Australia has said the easiest way to claim the payment is via phone. The number is 180 22 66.

A full eligibility requirement list is available here.

Test isolation payment

Victorians who need to isolate while they wait for a COVID-19 test result can apply for a $450 payment.

You must be 17 years or older, have been tested for COVID-19 or be the carer of someone who has been tested in Victoria.

You must also have also missed work due to isolating and have not received an income or salary payment during your isolation period.

Those who are receiving income support from the federal government are also ineligible.

You can apply online through the department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions website.

Bill relief

Relief is available for Victorian residents unable to pay their bills during the extended lockdown.

Bank loan deferrals

Australia’s four major banks – Commonwealth Bank, ANZ, Westpac and NAB – are offering payment deferrals on loans to people affected by or recently affected by lockdowns.

The relief is available on application (so it’s best to call your bank).

Home loan deferrals will be granted on a month-by-month basis while business loan deferrals of up to three months are available to SMEs.

The banks have also offered to waive fees and notice periods on cash deposit and farm management deposit accounts for up to three months, and committed to refunding merchant terminal fees for up to three months, too.

To apply for support, call your bank or contact them online.

No-Interest Loans scheme

Low income households in Victoria can access no-interest loans of up to $3000 to help with rent and utilities costs .

The loans are repayable over 24 months through the no-interest loans website.

Energy bill relief

Victorians can access grants to help pay overdue utility bills during lockdown.

You must have an eligible concession card, such as a pension, healthcare or veteran’s affairs gold card.

The grant is valued at up to $650 on each utility bill, with a separate application for each service (electricity, gas and water).

To request an application, the Victorian government advises contacting your utility retailers.

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