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Assistance for Individuals and Families Affected by the Bushfires factsheet

As at 5 March 2020

Disaster Recovery Payment

The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment is a one-off payment if:

  • you get seriously injured
  • you lose an immediate family member
  • your home is significantly damaged or destroyed
  • assets located at your home suffered major damage from the fire.

You will get $1,000 for each eligible adult and $400 for a dependent child under the age of 16. Most payments will be in your bank account within 24 to 48 hours of making a claim.

The Australian Government has also announced an additional $400 ($800 in total) for each eligible child to help families with education expenses. You will automatically get this extra payment if you are the principal carer of a child affected by bushfires after 30 June 2019. Eligibility requirements are equivalent to the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment. The payment will appear in a customer’s bank account the following business day.

Application periods for the Disaster Recovery Payment for bushfire-affected communities will close across July and August 2020. To claim, call Services Australia on 180 22 66 before applications close on:

  • 16 July 2020 – South Australia, Tasmania, Queensland (except eastern Queensland)
  • 4 August 2020 – Eastern Queensland, NSW, Victoria 

You can read more about the Disaster Recovery Payment on the Services Australia website.

While application periods for the Disaster Recovery Payment are closing, there is still plenty of assistance available to those in need. Explore the support programs on this page to find out about other payments you may be eligible for.

Disaster Recovery Allowance

If you have lost income as a direct result of the bushfires, you may be eligible for the Disaster Recovery Allowance. This is an income support payment for up to 13 weeks. This is equivalent to the maximum rate of Newstart or Youth Allowance.

Application periods for the Disaster Recovery Allowance for bushfire-affected communities will close across July and August 2020. To claim, call Services Australia on 180 22 66 before applications close on:

  • 10 July 2020 – Tasmania
  • 4 August 2020 – Eastern Queensland, NSW, Victoria
  • 12 August 2020 – ACT, South Australia

While application periods for the Disaster Recovery Allowance are closing, there is still plenty of assistance available to those in need. Explore the support programs on this page to find out about other payments you may be eligible for.

You can read more about payments for bushfire-affected individuals on the Services Australia website.

Debt recovery

The Australian Government has paused debt and compliance activities for people living in Local Government Areas (LGAS) affected by the recent bushfires. This pause is in place in all LGAs where a major disaster has been declared.

If you’re suffering hardship call 1800 076 072.

Advance Payment

If you get an income support payment or Family Tax Benefit Part A, you may be eligible for an advance payment.

Talk to staff about an advance payment at a service centre.

Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS) Temporary Financial Hardship

This is short-term help for families who use child care and are experiencing significant financial hardship.

You can get it for up to 13 weeks. You don’t need to meet the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) activity test. This means you can access up to 100 hours of subsidised child care per fortnight.

Mental Health Support

Front line emergency distress and trauma counselling is available now. You can access up to 10 free mental health support sessions as an individual, family or emergency service personnel.

Contact your GP to find mental health support in your local area that meets your needs.

For immediate support, you can contact:

New assistance measures have been introduced including free distress and trauma counselling sessions (available for individuals and families and emergency services personnel affected by bushfires). You can be connected to this free counselling through:

  • Recovery centres and evacuation centres
  • Mental health services commissioned by Primary Health Networks (PHNs)
  • Existing mental health counselling hotlines, including Lifeline and Kids Helpline
  • Bushfire affected individuals and families, and emergency response personnel will also be eligible to receive Medicare rebates for up to 10 psychological therapy sessions through GPs, psychologists and other mental health professionals. To find out more about the services please speak to your GP, or visit www.health.gov.au

Bushfire Clean-up Assistance

The Australian Government is working with the New South Wales and Victorian Governments to share the cost of clean-up for residential and commercial properties destroyed by this season’s bushfires. This service is provided at no cost to property owners.
Property owners can register their property for clean-up by contacting organisations listed below:

Cashless Debit Card

If you are a Cashless Debit Card participant in an area impacted by bushfires you can call the hotline on 1800 252 604 (Monday to Friday 9am-6pm AEDT)

Support for Carers

Carers might be able to get emergency respite care at short notice if you suddenly find you can’t provide care. If you need emergency respite care, talk with your local Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre on 1800 052 222 (or 1800 059 059 after hours).

This includes carers of National Disability Insurance Scheme participants.

National Disability Advocacy

The National Disability Advocacy Program provides people with disability with effective disability advocacy that promotes, protects and ensures their human rights, which can be of heightened concern during times of crisis. Visit disabilityadvocacyfinder.dss.gov.au/disability/ndap

Other Financial Help after a Bushfire

If you are experiencing financial hardship, you can talk with a financial counsellor or find a financial counsellor near you. Call the free National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 (Monday to Friday 9:30am-4:30pm) or visit www.ndh.org.au

Visit www.moneysmart.gov.au for other financial help available to support you after a bushfire.

Emergency Relief through Charities  

The Australian Government is providing $40 million to charities to help deliver emergency relief to bushfire affected communities, such as food parcels, clothing, vouchers and cash payments.

You can call the Salvation Army Disasters Assistance team on 1300 662 217, Anglicare on 1300 111 278  or the St Vincent de Paul bushfire assistance team on 13 18 12.

BlazeAid (www.blazeaid.com.au) is a volunteer-based organisation that works with families and individuals in rural Australia after natural disasters such as fires and flood.

Key Contacts

National

Contact name Contact number
Disaster recovery Payment and Allowance 180 22 66
Advance Payment and Additional Child Care Assistance 180 22 66
Debt recovery 1800 076 072
ATO Emergency Support Infoline 1800 806 218
Cashless Debit Card 1800 252 604
Support for Carers 1800 052 222
A/H 1800 059 059
National Debt Helpline 1800 007 007
Salvation Army Disasters Assistance 1300 662 217
St Vincent de Paul bushfire assistance team 13 18 12
Lifeline - Dedicated Bushfire Recovery Hotline 13 43 57
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800

NSW

Contact name Contact number
Service NSW 13 77 88

VIC

Contact name Contact number
VIC Emergency Hotline 1800 226 226
Bushfire Recovery Victoria 1800 560 760

SA

Contact name Contact number
SA recovery hotline 1800 302 787

QLD

Contact name Contact number
QLD Disaster and Alerts 132 500