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COVID-19: Centrelink

This factsheet is part of a series from Legal Aid NSW that aims to help answer your questions about COVID-19 and everyday law.

You may be worried or confused about how COVID-19 will affect you and your everyday life. Sometimes a crisis can make legal problems worse or new problems might develop. Legal Aid NSW understands that there will be a lot of questions about money worries, fines, police, housing, Centrelink, employment, guardianship and mental health. This series of fact sheets will give you helpful information and contacts to assist you to manage all the changes that are happening in our community.

Centrelink and COVID-19

In response to COVID-19 the Australian Government has made changes to support individuals and families who have lost work or income.

The changes mean that some people will be able to access Centrelink payments who were not able to before. Centrelink have made it quicker for people who have lost work or income to access some payments.

This factsheet will give you information about the changes.

How do I claim a Centrelink payment?

If you are currently not getting money from Centrelink, you can check if you could get a payment by using Centrelink’s Payment and Service Finder:

  • The first step in the claim process is to register your intent to claim. You can do this online through MyGov.
  • If you are granted payment you will be paid from the date you registered your intent to claim, even if you filled in the claim form a few days later.

What is the Coronavirus Supplement?

Some people who get Centrelink will also get a Coronavirus Supplement of $550 per fortnight for 6 months from 27 April 2020. You do not need to apply for this supplement. You will get it if you are eligible.

To be eligible you must be on:

  • JobSeeker Payment
  • Youth Allowance
  • Abstudy
  • Austudy
  • Parenting Payment
  • Partner Allowance
  • Widow Allowance
  • Farm Household Allowance
  • Special Benefit

What is the Economic Support Payment?

Most Centrelink recipients will receive a one-off $750 Economic Support Payment in late March or early April.

Centrelink recipients who are not eligible for the Coronavirus Supplement will get a second $750 Economic Support Payment in mid July.

You do not need to apply for this payment. You will get it if you are eligible.

What happens if I am a permanent visa holder?

If you are a permanent resident who is currently serving a Newly Arrived Residents Waiting Period, the waiting period has been lifted for 6 months from 25 March 2020.

How do I appeal a Centrelink decision I am not happy with?

If you do not agree with a decision made by Centrelink, you have the right to appeal. You could do this if your claim is rejected.

You can appeal a decision to a Centrelink Authorised Review Officer. You can ask for a review over the phone, or online by completing the Review of Decision Form.

You should do this within 13 weeks of the decision.

Where can I find more information?

How can I get help?

For free legal help call 1300 888 529 or call your local Legal Aid NSW office.

If you need an interpreter, call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450 and ask for LawAccess NSW. If you find it hard to hear or speak, call the National Relay Service on 133 677 and ask for LawAccess NSW or visit www.relayservice.gov.au.

This factsheet is intended as a general guide to the law. Do not rely on this information as legal advice. We recommend you talk to a lawyer about your situation. This information is correct at the time of writing, however, it may change.

CVCIV04 | 9 April 2020 | © Legal Aid NSW