The federal government activated the Disaster Recovery Payment and the Disaster Recovery Allowance on 5 March to support communities in Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury and Penrith local government areas.
The Disaster Recovery Payment
This is a one-off, non-means tested payment of $1000 per eligible adult and $400 per eligible child, and is available to eligible people in those affected LGAs who have suffered a significant loss, including a severely damaged or destroyed home or serious injury.
The Disaster Recovery Allowance
This assists employees and sole traders who experience a loss of income as a direct result of a major disaster. It is payable for a maximum of 13 weeks and is taxable.
Equivalent financial assistance will also be available to eligible New Zealand citizens (‘non-protected’ Special Category Visa, subclass 444 holders) affected by the floods.
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“Supporting communities through crisis is what Services Australia is geared to do, and staff stand ready to process claims as quickly as possible to assist disaster-impacted communities,” Government services minister, Senator Linda Reynolds said.
“I encourage impacted residents to check their eligibility for the Disaster Recovery Payment and the Disaster Recovery Allowance on the Services Australia website, before lodging a claim for assistance.
“To provide further support, we are also pausing Centrelink debt raising and new debt recovery in the affected locations.”
The easiest and quickest way to claim the Disaster Recovery Payment and Disaster Recovery Allowance is online through myGov.
If people require support to claim, they can call the Australian Government Emergency Information Line on 180 2266. People who have more immediate priorities in these local government areas have six months to claim payments.
Liberal Senator for Western Sydney Marise Payne, urges flood-affected residents to apply for assistance.
“Both the state and federal governments have moved quickly to activate support for our Western Sydney communities impacted by these awful floods,” Senator Payne said.
“Over 69,000 disaster payments have now been paid by the federal government to support people impacted by these floods, totalling $83 million.
“The Hawkesbury Nepean region is of particular concern given the very large swelling along the two rivers, the federal government will be working closely with the NSW Government and local authorities throughout the recovery process.
“In my own community of Penrith, we’ve seen extraordinary acts of kindness and selflessness, and I know that has been repeated a thousand times over across the breadth NSW as emergency personnel, volunteers and residents work together to save lives and support each other.
“The impact to local infrastructure, particularly our local roads, has been severe, and of course the toll events like this take on people’s mental health is very concerning.”
- Online claiming via myGov is available 24×7.
- The Australian Government Emergency Information Line 180 22 66 is open Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm local time and this Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm local time.
- For more information visit servicesaustralia.gov.au/disaster
Main picture: NSW SES’s view from HT201 over Wiseman’s Ferry on 7 March.