What do you do if you can’t work due to COVID? With self-isolation rules relaxing, the Government is no longer providing the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment. Instead, the High-Risk-Setting Pandemic Payment has taken its place but is not available to everyone.
Luckily there is some help out there to help you stay afloat if you can’t work due to COVID.
High-Risk Settings Pandemic Payment
The government is offering support in the form of a lump sum payment to people who work in high-risk settings and can’t work due to testing positive to COVID-19.
Who is eligible?
The Government determines the following settings as high-risk and therefore eligible to claim this payment:
- Aged care facilities
- Disability care, including home care and support services
- Aboriginal healthcare, including those employed by National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations, community health care, and support services
- Hospital care including day hospitals, ambulance, and patient transport
- Employed in a custodial setting as state and territory government staff, casuals and contractors including health care staff, and operators of private facilities
In addition, you must also meet the following criteria:
- Can’t work due to positive COVID-19 result registered with state or territory authority
- Casual employee with no available paid leave
- Have lost at least 8 hours or a full day’s work
- Are at least 17 years old and live in Australia
- Are an Australian resident or hold a visa that gives you the right to work in Australia
- Are living in Australia at the time of your claim
- Have no sick leave entitlements, including pandemic sick leave or personal leave
- Have liquid assets of less than $10,000 on the first day of the period you’re claiming for
- Haven’t already claimed a combined total of 3 times in the 6 months, up to and including the first day you couldn’t work for your current claim
How much can I get?
If you meet all the eligibility requirements, your payment will be based on the following:
- $450 if you lost at least 8 hours or a full day’s work, but less than 20 hours
- $750 if you lost 20 hours or more of work
Will I be taxed on the payment?
Yes, the High-Risk Setting Pandemic Payment IS considered as taxable income. This means you need to include it on your tax return.
If you’re not sure what payments you need to declare on your tax return, seek the advice of a registered tax agent, like Etax. Our tax agents can help you understand how your tax will be affected by any of the support payments you may receive.
You will need to include the High-Risk Setting Pandemic Payment in your family income estimate as taxable income if you receive Family Tax Benefit, Child Care Subsidy, or if you have a child support assessment.
A final note if you can’t work due to Covid
When something like COVID-19 affects our lives, it’s important to remember that your illness and isolation period is temporary. Try to stay positive. Use your self-isolation time to rest and recover. If you’re caring for someone else, the most important thing is to prioritise their well-being. Support is available if you’re forced to miss work, so don’t be afraid to use it if you need to.