All the Ways to Apply for Financial Support If You're Struggling During Lockdown
The government has announced a bunch of new support programs — here's what you need to know.
In the lead-up to Sydney's inevitable lockdown extension, the New South Wales and Federal Government announced new financial support packages to assist individuals and businesses impacted by the lockdown. The packages included assistance for individuals, small businesses and sole traders who have lost income, as well as renters struggling to pay their bills. While the financial support on offer is quite far-reaching, it can feel a little daunting deciphering if (and where) you fit into it all.
So, here's an easy-to-read overview of all the support on offer across NSW and Greater Sydney if you've been financially impacted by the latest lockdown.
Individuals can apply for COVID-19 Disaster Payments through the Services Australia website as of Wednesday, July 13. The joint plan between the federal and state government means individuals who have lost between eight and 20 hours of work due to stay-home orders can access recurring payments of $375 a week from July 15 for parts of Sydney, and July 18 onwards for people in Greater Sydney. Those who have lost more than 20 hours can access payments of up to $600. There are a few eligibility rules, for example, you must be an Australian resident or on an eligible work visa, over the age of 17 and not on an income support payment like JobSeeker or Youth Allowance. Head to Services Australia for more information, but keep in mind that the opportunity to submit your first period of claims (July 1–July 7) closes on Wednesday, July 28.
From Monday, July 19 businesses, sole traders and not-for-profits can apply for grants of up to $15,000. There are three grants available, $7,500 for a decline in revenue of 30 percent or more, $10,500 for a decline of 50 percent or more, or $15,000 for a decline of 70% or more. The full eligibility for these grants will be available later in the week.
Microbusinesses with a revenue of between $30,00–75,000 that have seen a loss of at least 30 percent are eligible for up to $1500 a fortnight, applicable from the beginning of lockdown. Applications for these support payments will open from Monday, July 26.
On the same day, the Saving Jobs scheme designed to minimise jobs and hours lost to the lockdown will also be rolled out. The scheme will offer businesses with a turnover of between $75,000 and $50 million payments of $1500–10,000 to keep people in jobs if they've experienced a downturn in profits of 30 percent or more. If you run a business that doesn't employ others, you may be eligible for payments of $1000 a week to keep you afloat.
RENTERS AND HOMEOWNERS
Renters are being given greater protection during Sydney's lockdown, in an attempt to soften the blow of lost hours and jobs. A freeze on evictions has been implemented — meaning nobody can be evicted between now and Saturday, September 11. Services NSW has a series of resources for struggling tenants that may need a rent reduction or a pause on any evictions due to income loss.
Landlords have also been provided with an incentive to lower rent prices during the lockdown, with residential landlords that lower the price of rent for tenants impacted by the lockdown eligible to apply for grants of up to $1500 or reduced land taxes, equal to the value of rent reductions provided to tenants. The full details of this grant will be available soon on the NSW Government website.
THE ARTS INDUSTRY
The NSW Government has announced a $75 million support package for the performing arts and live music industry. Applications will be open from Thursday, July 23 through the Create NSW website for not-for-profit and commercial performing arts organisations, as well as live music organisations that have been impacted by canceled shows. The funding is designed to keep people in the sector employed and help organisations keep the lights on. It will be delivered in two stages, an initial immediate relief payment to any organisation that had shows or performances booked during the lockdown, and a secondary package to help organisations reschedule shows.
Any artist or crew worker who has lost work due to the lockdown, not-for-profit Support Act is also offering a helping hand. Support Act is offering one-off grants of $2000, or $2700 to families with dependant children, to musicians and crew members that have been financially impacted by the lockdown in order to help soften the blow of lost gigs and shifts. The organisation also offers financial relief to members of the music and arts community that are unable to work due to injury or illness, and a Mental Health First Aid program to assist those struggling with their mental health.
If you're still confused, we recommend heading to the Service NSW website where you can look around the 2021 COVID-19 Support Package page or input your details into the COVID-19 Assistance Finder. Member for Sydney Alex Greenwich also has a page full of helpful resources.
Top image: Cassandra Hannagan
Published on July 16, 2021 by Ben Hansen