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Updated NSW COVID disaster payments

I have avoided writing about the NSW (and any other Hotspot zone) disaster payments that people can apply for through MyGov if they lose more than 8 hours work a week. This is for the employees to get directly from Services Australia, and not from the employer, so I did not want to get into it, other than to tell clients to tell employees they stand down to get onto MyGov.

But given the rate for the Disaster Payment is now the JobKeeper rate of $750 a week, and the questions have started…

Eligible workers will now be able to receive $750 per week if they lose 20 hours or more of work while those that lose between 8 and less than 20 hours, or a full day of work, will receive a payment of $450 per week.

The new payment rate will commence for payments processed week commencing 2 August and will be automatically updated for those already in the Services Australia system.

It will be available from day one of any potential lockdown in the future, with claims made from day eight in arrears for the previous seven days. A weekly payment will then be made for the duration of the hotspot declaration.

There will be no liquid assets test applied to eligibility for these payments and an individual does not need to run down personal annual leave.

Individuals who currently receive an income support payment through our social security safety net will receive a weekly payment of $200, in addition to their existing payment, if they can demonstrate they have lost more than 8 hours of work and meet the other eligibility requirements for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment.

In summary, tell your employees who are losing more than 8 hours of work in a Declared “Hotspot” zone, to claim this money from Services Australia through MyGov… And when the employee says to the employer “But can’t you claim it for me and just put it in my bank account as I am too busy watching the Olympics to call Services Australia or set up a MyGov account?” NO!

By Ken Mansell

As a stay at home Dad most of the week this is my way of pretending I am still the tax counsel of ASX and SEC listed companies, working at big 4 firms, working at the Federal Treasury, on the Henry Review and at Parliament House for the previous government.

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