20.07.21 — (VIC) Financial and other support for COVID-19

Carol K

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Financial and other support for COVID-19

Reviewed 20 July 2021

Find out about the financial support available to people and businesses affected by COVID-19.

Families and individuals <http://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au#families-and-individuals>

Unable to work due to restrictions, or if Your hours or income have been reduced?

<http://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au#unable-to-work-due-to-restrictions-or-if-your- hours-or-income-have-been-reduced>

Centrelink JobSeeker recipients <http://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au#centrelink-jobseeker- recipients>

Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment <http://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au#pandemic-leave- disaster-payment>

$4S0 COVID-19 Test Isolation Payment <http://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au#450-covid-19- test-isolation-payment>

Relief Packages <http://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au#relief-packages>

Food relief <http://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au#food-relief>

Boost to Emergency Relief for Victoria’s Most Vulnerable

<http://www.coronavirus.Vic.gov.au#boost-to-emergency-relief-for-victoria’s-most- vulnerable>

Extreme Hardship Support Program <http://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au#extreme- hardship-support-program>

International student support <http://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au#international-student- support>

Further support for international students in Victoria


Lost Your job or income due to COVID-19 <http://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au#lost-your-job- or- income-due-to-covid-19>

No Interest Loans scheme  <http://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au#no-interest-loans-scheme>

Help with electricity, gas and water bills http://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au#help-with- electricity-gas-and-water-bills

Business and Industry <http://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au#business-and-industry>

Economic survival Package <http://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au#economic-survival- package

Australian Government COVID-19 information and support for business

<http://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au#australian-government-covid-19-information- and-support-for-business>

Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund <http://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au#commercial- landlord-hardship-fund>

There are various financial support packages for people and businesses impacted by COVID-19, including financial, job and business support.

If you are seeking mental health support, visit our Mental health resources page   <http://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/mental-health-resources- coronavirus-covid-19>.

Families and individuals

Unable to work due to restrictions, or if your hours or income have been reduced?

  • If you are concerned about your energy bills, visit Victorian Energy Saver

<https://www.victorianenergysaver.vic.gov.au/having-trouble-paying-your- energy-bills>

  • If you urgently need food and supplies and have no other support, you may be able to get an emergency relief package. These are designed to provide basic food essentials and personal care items for a family of four for two To request one, call the Coronavirus Hotline1800 675 398
  • Victorians from low-income households can now access a one-off $250 payment to help with their energy bills, thanks to the Victorian Government’s new Power Saving Bonus. To see if you’re eligible, visit the Victorian Energy Compare website <https://compare.energy.vic.gov.au/>

Centrelink JobSeeker recipients

Are you receiving Centrelink’s JobSeeker payment? If you have a Pensioner Concession Card or Health Care Card, read about your concession entitlements.

Find out more about concessions and benefits


Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment

 The $1500 Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment is a one-off payment to help Victorian workers who have been directed to self-isolate or quarantine for 14 days or care for someone who has been directed to self-isolate or quarantine.

The Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment recognises that the requirement to self-isolate or quarantine at home can cause a financial burden for some individuals and families who are without an income during this period.

Discover more and find out who is eligible

<https://www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/centrelink/pandem ic-leave-disaster-payment-victoria>.

$450 COVID-19 Test Isolation Payment

The Victorian Government is providing a $450 COVID-19 Test Isolation Payment to support Victorian workers, including parents and guardians, who are required to self-isolate. At the same time, you wait for the results of your COVID-19 test.

Find out how you can apply for the $450 COVID-19 Test Isolation Payment

<http://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/450-coronavirus-covid-19-test-isolation- payment>.

Relief packages

If you need to isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19, you may be supported with a relief package delivered by the Australian Red Cross. Relief packages contain basic essential food and personal care items to last a four-person household for two weeks.

Delivery of a free relief package can be arranged for people who are unable to access food themselves who do not have support available to them.

If you have dietary or cultural requirements, require personal care items or practical support, other support is available.

While isolating, to access a relief package, call the Coronavirus Hotline on 1800 675 398 and select Option four (4).

For more information about relief packages, visit Isolation and quarantine extra help and support <http://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/isolation-and-quarantine-extra-help-and-support>.

Food relief

Food relief is available during the pandemic for people experiencing financial hardship and are voluntarily isolating because of a health condition or age.

For more information, read this factsheet: Access to emergency relief food and essential items

Boost to Emergency Relief for Victoria’s Most Vulnerable

The Victorian Government has announced further funding to provide emergency food relief. This $4.5 million package of initiatives will deliver more food to Victorians in need, facilitate partnerships between food relief providers and local businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and boost the capacity of key community food relief organisations. The package includes:

  • $2.2 million to provide food sourcing and distribution grants to regional and metropolitan food relief providers to purchase and transport more food for Victorians in need and support partnerships between food relief providers and local businesses impacted by the
  • $1.5 million in grants to support priority regional and metropolitan food relief providers to meet demand and employ workers until volunteer programs are re-established.
  • $600,000 to extend Foodbank’s international student supermarket at 230 La Trobe Street Melbourne through to December
  • $200,000 to extend the operating hours of Foodbank’s mobile food relief store from one day a week to three days a week.

Read the Emergency Relief for Victorian communities during the pandemic frequently asked questions:<https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/emergency-relief-victorian-communities- during-pandemic-frequently-asked-questions-covid-19>for more information.

Extreme Hardship Support Program

The Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) has extended the Extreme Hardship Support Program to October 2021.

DFFH has funded Red Cross to deliver an Extreme Hardship Support Program to provide financial assistance, information and referrals to Victorians who are experiencing significant hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic but who do not have access to Commonwealth income support (including JobSeeker and the Temporary COVID Disaster Payment).

The program provides support to the most vulnerable temporary and provisional visa holders and undocumented migrants who have zero or very

Limited income, savings, or community support. All international students experiencing extreme financial hardship are also eligible to apply, even if they had previously received assistance through the International Student Emergency Relief Fund.

To be eligible for the program, people must:

  • live in Victoria, and
  • not receive income from the Commonwealth (such as JobSeeker or the Temporary COVID Disaster Payment), and
  • have zero or very limited income, savings, or community support, and
  • be a temporary or provisional visa holder or an undocumented

Applicants apply through a portal on the Red Cross website

<https://www.redcross.org.au/vicrelief>, or a dedicated phone line 1800 855 240.

For more information, read the COVID-19 Extreme Hardship Support Program frequently asked questions for the Victorian community:

COVID-19 Extreme Hardship Support Program FAQ

International student support

International students in Victoria who are experiencing financial hardship may be eligible for emergency financial assistance through the Victorian Government’s Extreme Hardship Support Program:<https://www.redcross.org.au/vicrelief>.

The program is for temporary and provisional visa holders and undocumented migrants who are unable to access Australian Government income support and have zero or very little income, savings, or community support.

Suppose you received an International Student Emergency Relief Fund payment and still require assistance to pay for basics like rent, food, and bills. In that case, you can apply for an emergency payment from the Extreme Hardship Support Program.

Please visit the Australian Red Cross <https://www.redcross.org.au/vicrelief> to apply.

Further support for international students in Victoria

In addition to the hardship funds, pastoral care, and student support services available through Victorian education providers, the Victorian Government is providing the following support to international students:

  • free groceries at the Foodbank International Student Pop-Up Store


3A www.foodbank.org.au_students_ -3Fstate- 3Dvic&d=DwMFaQ&c=JnBkUqWXzx2bz-

3a05d47O&r=mdiJOc7ZC_TlveXsFKGByCQsDZ4NwxcB4NDHFacmDhU&m=nU O51x0mi_uDEcAJOY6aUrHSj9hSBqXpXA5MNdexVOo&s=UkpmJ0i9GXVzMC- sUeJNyC2I_FFETrtOj-k3Lc21vJs&e=> in central Melbourne

  • one-off rent relief grants <https://www.housing.vic.gov.au/help- renting/rentrelief> for people in rental hardship due to COVID-19, to help keep renters in safe and stable accommodation
  • Utility relief grants <https://services.dhhs.vic.gov.au/utility-relief-grant- scheme> to help pay overdue bills
  • help to find work opportunities through Working for Victoria <https://www.vic.gov.au/workingforvictoria>
  • a dedicatedCOVID-19 online support hub

<https://www.studymelbourne.vic.gov.au/help-and-support/support-for- students-coronavirus> on the Study Melbourne website linking a wide range of support programs and services including a directory of Community support and food relief <https://www.studymelbourne.vic.gov.au/news- updates/updates/support-and-food-relief-organisations>

  • access to free legal advice <https://www.studymelbourne.vic.gov.au/help- and-support/the-law-and-my-rights/legal-advice> on accommodation and employment matters
    • dedicated support through the Study Melbourne Student Centre including free and confidential support and practical help, including access to mental health services and referral to other

Lost your job or income due to COVID-19

Find information about support available if you have lost your job or had your income affected by COVID-19.

Find out more on the Victoria Government website

<https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/financial-support-for-businesses-and- workers>.

No Interest Loans scheme

Small amount, no-interest loans are available to all eligible Victorians through Good Money community finance outlets in Morwell, Geelong, Collingwood and Dandenong and a network of 77 local community organisations across Victoria.

The No Interest Loans (Nils) provides individuals and families on low incomes with access to safe, fair, and affordable credit.

Loans are available for essential goods and services such as fridges, washing machines, car repairs and medical procedures for up to $1,500, repayable over 12 to 18 months.

Find out more about Good Money <https://goodmoney.com.au/> or No Interest Loans <https://nils.com.au/>.

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, No-interest Household Relief Loans of up to $3000 are also now available to support low-income households with the costs of rent and utilities, repayable over 24 months.

Find out more at the Household Relief website <https://householdrelief.org.au/>.

Help with electricity, gas, and water bills

A range of support is available if you’re having trouble paying electricity, gas, or water bills.

If you are a concession cardholder (including JobSeeker recipients), you may be eligible for discounts and rebates

<https://www.victorianenergysaver.vic.gov.au/get-help-with-your- bills/concessions-and-rebates> on your electricity, gas, and water bills. If you live in a low-income household or are experiencing financial hardship, you may also be eligible to apply for a utility relief grant

<https://services.dhhs.vic.gov.au/utility-relief-grant-scheme> of up to $650 to help with overdue electricity, gas, and water bills.

If you are having trouble paying your energy bill, you should contact your energy company. There are rules which mean they must let you know what help is available. Participating in a payment plan means you can’t be disconnected.

The Victorian Government has also partnered with community organisations to deliver programs to help Victorians with their energy bills. This includes free online events <https://energyinfohub.org.au/webinars/> on ways to cut down bills, a one-on-one energy assistance and advice service <https://www.bsl.org.au/energy-assist/> and financial counselling <https://moneysmart.gov.au/managing-debt/financial-counselling>.

Find out more at the Victorian Energy Saver <https://www.victorianenergysaver.vic.gov.au/having-trouble-paying-your- energy-bills> website.

Business and industry

Economic survival package

The Victorian Government has established an unprecedented economic survival package to support Victorian businesses and workers through the devastating impacts of COVID-19. Find out more about the package, which provides support for businesses, workers, and the community:  <https://business.vic.gov.au/business- information/covid-19-business-information>.

Australian Government COVID-19 information and support for business

Find financial assistance, eligibility, and timing for government support for Australian businesses impacted by COVID-19. Visit business.gov.au for more information <https://business.gov.au/risk- management/emergency-management/coronavirus-information-and- support-for-business>.

Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund

Through the Commercial Landlord Hardship- Fund <https://business.vic.gov.au/grants-and-programs/commercial-landlord- hardship-fund-round-2> the Victorian Government is offering grants of up to $3,000 per tenancy. Private, individual, and joint-owner landlords who have provided rent relief to their tenants under the requirements of the Commercial Tenancy Relief Scheme and are facing financial hardship may be eligible.

The Victorian Government introduced the Commercial Tenancy: Relief Scheme (CTRS) <https://www.vsbc.vic.gov.au/your-rights-and- responsibilities/retail-tenants-and-landlords>to support commercial tenants whose income has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund has been created in recognition of small, private landlords who may not have the capacity to provide rent reductions to their tenants under the requirements of the CTRS.

For information on other supports available to landlords, including additional land tax relief, please visit the State Revenue Office Land Tax Relief <https://www.sro.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-land-tax-relief>.

Apply for the Commercial Landlord Hardship Fund

<https://business.vic.gov.au/grants-and-programs/commercial-landlord- hardship-fund-round-2> on the Business Victoria website.

To assist in your application, please read the information carefully, including the guidelines, frequently asked questions

<https://www.business.vic.gov.au/support-for-your-business/grants-and-assistance/commercial-landlord-hardship-fund/commercial-landlord- hardship-fund-faqs> and examples of grant funding eligibility.

<https://www.business.vic.gov.au/support-for-your-business/grants-and- assistance/commercial-landlord-hardship-fund/commercial-landlord- hardship-fund-faqs#examples>. If you have further queries, please contact  Business Victoria <https://www.business.vic.gov.au/contact-us> or call 13 22 15.