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  • Writer's pictureJeannie Savage

Here’s How to Claim Your COVID-19 Disaster Payment in Your State or Territory

Updated: Oct 12, 2021

Over the last 12 months we helped our clients collectively, claim over 1 million dollars in Covid-19 relief.  Infact, a few clients have told us that they honestly did not believe us when we told them how much they could expect. 

covid 19

Does anyone else feel like this Covid-19 “Business Support” is just too hard to understand and navigate?  

Well, you’re in good company. When COVID-19 hit in 2020 we assigned some of our staff to become Covid-19 Relief Specialists. Because the education we had to undertake was both heavy duty and is ongoing to this day.

As registered BAS Agents, we’re built for this and as a team, we have the resources to be able to dedicate to it. 

I can only imagine how stressful it must be, if you’re a business owner who doesn’t have a BAS agent or Tax agent in your corner, sorting this out for you.

And if that’s the case, how to claim your COVID-19 Disaster payment in your State or Territory.

Firstly, you can join our mailing list here to be kept informed about COVID-19 subsidies on offer

COVID-19 Disaster Payments – Have you been affected by the Lockdown?

After the recent lockdown in Sydney which started in late June, the Commonwealth government is offering compensation for workers in including employees and sole traders who are

unable to operate their business from home who have been financially impacted by a state lockdown now that JobKeeper is no longer on foot.

This payment has application across all of Australia, once a jurisdiction is subject to a lockdown

Effectively, the Disaster Payment is the new version of JobKeeper, except it cuts the employer out of the process, in that it is paid by Centrelink straight into the bank accounts of impacted workers.

There have been two important changes that have been announced in recent days:

– Rate of payment –

This has increased to $750 a week (up from $600) for workers who lose 20 or more hours of work a week, and $450 a week (up from $375) to those who lose between eight and 20 hours.

– Tax treatment –

The payment is now tax-free.

These two developments effectively make COVID-19 Disaster Payments

more generous than JobKeeper where the maximum rate was $1,500 per fortnight but the payment was taxable.

The compensation is in the form of COVID-19 Disaster Payments. Please note that

This payment has application across all of Australia, once a jurisdiction is subject to a lockdown.

Accordingly, it was extended to Victoria and South Australia once those jurisdictions were locked down in July and now Queensland in August.


To qualify you must fall into one of the following circumstances:

– you live in, work from or have visited a Commonwealth-declared COVID-19 hotspot that is subject to a state lockdown order you were unable to earn your usual income because you were in the COVID-19 hotspot and are subject to a state lockdown order when you return to your work or where you live.

Additionally, you must:

– be at least 17 years of age

– be an Australian resident or hold a visa class permitting you to work in Australia

–  have lost work (full-time, part-time or casual or as a sole trader) during a week or a full day of your usual work as a result of a movement order. A full day of your usual work is what you were scheduled to work but couldn’t because you were locked down. This criterion must be re-tested for each week before making a claim for that week.

–  you are not in receipt of an income support payment, ABSTUDY Living Allowance, Dad and Partner Pay or Parental Leave Pay

–  you are not in receipt of the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment, a state or territory pandemic payment, or a state small business payment for the same period

–  you have lost income and don’t have any appropriate paid leave entitlements.

‘Losing work’

Losing work includes being stood down, not being assigned any shifts for the week of restrictions, or being unable to work from home. To be clear, you need only be eligible for one day of a week of restrictions to qualify for the entire week.

Do I have to exhaust my leave first?

Importantly, you are not required to exhaust or even dip into your annual leave or long service that you have accrued. However ‘appropriate paid leave’ that you must use before receiving the Disaster Payment includes special pandemic leave, paid sick or carers leave, only when you are sick or injured, or need to care for an immediate family/household member who is sick or injured, or for an emergency.

Is there an assets test?

The liquid assets rules, which applied for the first two weeks of the payment in New South Wales, have been scrapped. Liquid assets are any funds readily available to you in cash or savings, or assets that can easily be converted into cash. It also includes money loaned to other people.

How much?

This depends on how much work you have lost during the week. If you have lost more than 20 hours of paid employment, the amount of compensation is $750 per week. If less than 20 hours, the payment is $450 per week. The money will be paid into your bank account by Centrelink.


The disaster payment is not taxable in the hands of the recipient.

How to claim? Which areas are the affected areas? Other state-specific criteria?

The sign up and claim system is very streamlined. For more details of this and other state-specific details of the payment, see the following links:

As Queensland has just gone into lockdown the payments are now available however there is no specific government web page available yet. 

If your state or territory is in the future subject to lockdown, check back here for the specific details of those Disaster Payment rules.

I know that’s a lot to take in. In reality, what you’re eligible for really depends on your individual circumstances.

The way we work with our clients is on a very individual case-by-case basis. We look at who they are, what they do, who they employ, where they’re located and more. And that’s how we’ve been able to help our clients claim so much money.

Can I be frank? If your Bookkeeper isn’t helping you with this stuff, why are you sticking with them? If your Bookkeeper IS your Accountant (and she’s not helping you) then you might be starting to discover why you shouldn’t be using an Accountant to do your Bookkeeping. 

It’s a key misconception that Accountants can do Bookkeeping. Some of the worst bookkeeping we see comes out of Accountants' offices. 

You should be using a Bookkeeper for your Bookkeeping and an Accountant for your tax.  

As registered BAS agents it’s our job to 

  1. Navigate the COVID-19 assistance on offer to clients

  2. Assess our clients eligibility 

  3. Process claims on our clients behalf

This is not something business owners can easily do and so we do this for all of our clients. 

If you’d like to have us in your corner we’d love to talk and you can book a free call with me here.

Finally, here are 3 free tools we’d like to share with you to help you optimise your business for profit and cash

© The Strategic Bookkeeper PTY LTD / Commercial in Confidence / All Rights Reserved

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