Federal Government assistance for those severely affected by the Bushfires

Australia’s bushfire crisis has so far claimed 28 lives, killed an estimated billion animals, destroyed more than 2000 homes and burnt through more than ten million hectares of land.

If you live or operate your business in a fire-affected area, there is help available.

The federal government is providing two forms of financial assistance to individuals severely affected by this season’s bushfires. The first is a one-off payment of $400 for children and $1000 for adults.

Known as the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment, it is available for Australian residents who have been adversely affected by the fires such as:

  • you have been seriously injured
  • you’re the immediate family member of an Australian citizen or resident who died
  • your principal place of residence has been destroyed or must be demolished
  • the interior of your principal place of residence has sustained major damage
  • damage from the fire has exposed the interior of your principal place of residence to the elements
  • your principal place of residence has been declared structurally unsound
  • the interior of your residence has been affected by sewerage contamination
  • you’re the principal carer of a dependent child who has experienced any of the above

To be eligible for this one-off payment you must:

  • be an Australian resident or hold an eligible visa
  • be 16 years or older at the time of the fire or getting a social security payment
  • have not already received an Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment for the bushfires in August, September, October, November, December 2019 and January 2020 in NSW

The second form of federal assistance is an ongoing, tax-exempt allowance for individuals who have lost income as a direct result of the bushfires.

Australian residents who work in an affected local government area (LGA) and earn less than the income threshold can claim the allowance for a maximum of 13 weeks.

The maximum income threshold is $1060.67 a fortnight for singles aged 22 and over and $970.17 a fortnight for each member of a couple. (A full list of income thresholds can be found here.)

While the amount paid varies according to an individual’s income, the maximum payment rate is equivalent to Newstart.

For further information about these payments visit www.disasterassist.gov.au or call Centrelink Disaster Assistance on 180 22 66.

Source: Capstone

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