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Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment

Paid to isolate: understanding the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment

For workers needing to isolate or quarantine, you may be able to access the federal government’s national Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment.

However, there are eligibility criteria that mean not all workers can get the payment. Rules also vary depending on whether your first day of isolation was before or after 17 January 2022.

This fact sheet will cover:

  1. How much the payment provides
  2. Who can apply for the payment
  3. How to make the claim
  4. Claims for isolation periods before 18 January 2022
  5. Income reporting for Family Assistance and Child Support

How much will I get?

The Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment is a lump sum payment. This means that it isn’t a regular payment, but it can be claimed each time you have to isolate.  

For each 7-day period of self-isolation, quarantine or caring, you will receive:

  • $450 if you lost at least 8 hours or a full day’s work, and less than 20 hours of work
  • $750 if you lost 20 hours or more of work.

But be aware that you won’t be able to receive any of the following payments during the period you claim the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment:

  • ACT COVID-19 Hardship Isolation Payment
  • NSW Test or Isolate Payment
  • South Australian COVID-19 Cluster Isolation Payment
  • Tasmanian Test and Isolate Grant
  • Tasmanian Pandemic Isolation Grant Assistance
  • Victorian COVID-19 Test Isolation Payment

Who can apply?

You may be eligible if you’re unable to work and earn income because you or someone you’re caring for must self-isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19.

A close contact is someone who:
  • usually lives with the person who has tested positive with COVID-19

  • has stayed in the same household for more than 4 hours with the person who has tested positive with COVID-19 during their infectious period

You must be self-isolating or quarantining for one of the of the following reasons:

  • You have COVID-19
  • You’re a close contact of a person who has COVID-19
  • A child you care for who is 16 years or under, is a close contact of a person who has COVID-19
  • You’re caring for someone who has COVID-19
  • You’re caring for someone with disability or a severe medical condition who must self-isolate or quarantine because they’re a close contact of a person with COVID-19.

And you must:

  • Have lost at least 8 hours or a full day’s work
  • Have less than $10 thousand in liquid assets (i.e. cash in the bank or money loaned to others)
  • Have no sick leave entitlements, including pandemic sick leave, personal leave or carer’s leave
  • Be at least 17 years old and live in Australia
  • Be an Australian resident or hold a visa that gives you the right to work in Australia
  • Be living in Australia during your self-isolation, quarantine or caring period
  • Be living in Australia at the time of your claim

But you are ineligible if you receive certain government payments, including income support payments e.g. JobSeeker.

Please note that if you live in a state where essential workers are exempt from quarantine and you’re an essential worker, you are ineligible for the payment. 

If you’re unsure if that applies to you, check the latest updates from your state or territory’s health authority or contact your union who can provide advice for your local area.

How to claim

You must submit the claim within 14 days of the start of each 7-day isolation, quarantine or caring period.

Couples should complete separate claims.  

Follow the steps outlined on the Services Australia site to lodge a claim. If you want to make a claim for a period before 18 January 2022, please find the relevant information below.

As part of this process, you will need to provide evidence of the need to self-isolate or quarantine.

For isolation periods starting on or after 10 January 2022, you can register either a positive Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) or Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) as evidence for the need to isolate.

For isolation periods before 10 January 2022, you must have been personally directed to isolate by a health official to be eligible.

Claims for isolation periods before 18 January 2022

If your isolation or caring period began on or after 9 December 2021 but before 18 January 2022, you are required to fill out this form to make the claim.

For the most part, the rules are the same as outlined above.

However, there may be minor changes to eligibility criteria depending on the state or territory – check your state or territory’s page for the exact criteria.

The time limit of 14 days within the start of your isolation to lodge the claim does not apply if you are claiming for an isolation period that began before 18 January 2022.

Family Assistance and Child Support

If you or your partner get the Family Tax Benefit or Child Care Subsidy, you must include the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment in your family income estimate as taxable income.

If you have a child support assessment, the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment will form part of your adjusted taxable income for Child Support.

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