For Victorians financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and multiple lockdowns, assistance is available through a number of payments as well as vouchers to take advantage of hospitality and tourism offers.
Although there have been slight changes, the one-time pandemic disaster payment is still available, along with cash back for dining in town and vouchers for in-state travel.
Here’s a breakdown of the payments available for Victorians affected by COVID-19 or willing to get out there and spend some money with a little help along the way.
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Victoria Dining Cash Back
Diners were able to claim a 25% discount of up to $125 on their restaurant, cafe and bar bills if they eat in the CBD Monday through Thursday.
The package is an extension of the original “Melbourne Money” program and is part of a $200 million package.
The 25% discount on CBD catering bills applies if you spend more than $40.
However, the maximum a restaurant could claim under the program would be $125 on a $500 bill.
So far, $3.5 million has been gobbled up by visitors with over 90,000 successful claims.
Once the City of Melbourne’s $10 million round runs out, a further $30 million will be used to expand the scheme to restaurants outside the CBD.
How to claim
The discount is available across the City of Melbourne municipality, which includes East Melbourne, Southbank, Chinatown, Lygon Street, Docklands, North Melbourne and Kensington.
To claim the cashback, diners must first eat at their chosen restaurant, cafe, pub or other hospitality venue in Melbourne and pay in full.
Once you have an itemized receipt with the company name and date on it, just take a photo or scan it.
Diners must then upload it with their contact details, bank details and total bill amount via the Melbourne Money website.
The 25% cashback will be credited to the designated Australian bank account within five business days of application approval.
Victoria’s next batch of Travel Vouchers will launch on Wednesday, March 23 at 2 p.m.
The first 10,000 vouchers were already distributed to the elderly last week via a ballot, but another 140,000 will be made available to the general public on Wednesday.
The second batch of vouchers will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis and will end when the allocation is exhausted.
Those who manage to get a voucher must spend a minimum of $400 and stay at least two nights in paid accommodation in Victoria.
These include hotels and motels, serviced apartments, RV parks, campsites, farm stays and private vacation rentals.
How to claim
Victoria residents over the age of 18 are eligible, but vouchers are limited to one per household for the entire scheme.
The travel period for the vouchers is between April 8 and May 27.
Trip must include a minimum of two consecutive nights of paid accommodation in Victoria.
Vouchers do not cover gambling, alcohol (unless included in a tasting-type tour), groceries, or personal items such as clothing or transportation costs.
The voucher program will be posted on the website at 2 p.m. Wednesday.
Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment
This information has been provided by Services Australia.
What is Pandemic Leave Pay?
The Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment is a one-time payment to help Victorian (and Australian) workers who need to self-isolate or quarantine, or care for someone who needs to self-isolate or quarantine, by due to COVID-19.
Starting Jan. 10, the federal government began accepting both rapid antigen tests (RATs) or PCR results as proof to obtain payment.
Workers who have lost or expect to lose at least 20 hours of work due to COVID-19 can claim $750. Those who have lost or expect to lose between eight and 19 hours of work can claim $450.
Who can get it?
To qualify for the payment, you may qualify if:
- you have COVID-19
- you are a close contact of someone with COVID-19
- a child in your care who is 16 or younger is a close contact of someone with COVID-19
- you are caring for someone with COVID-19
- you are caring for someone with a disability or serious illness who needs to self-isolate or quarantine because they are in close contact with someone who has COVID-19.
You must also meet all of the following conditions:
- you are at least 17 years old
- you are an Australian resident or hold a visa that gives you the right to work in Australia
- you live in Australia during your period of self-isolation, quarantine or care
- you live in Australia at the time of your application
- you are unable to work and have lost at least eight hours or a full day of work during a seven-day period of self-isolation, quarantine or care
- you are not entitled to sick leave, including pandemic sick leave, personal leave or leave to care for another person
- you have liquid assets of less than $10,000 on the first day of the period for which you are applying
You must submit a request within 14 days of the start of your period of isolation or care and the period of isolation or care must begin no later than June 30, 2022.
You can click here to apply online for the Victorian Pandemic Leave Disaster Payout through Services Australia.
Crisis Payment for National Health Emergency (COVID-19)
What is the Crisis Payment for National Health Emergencies (COVID-19)?
This is a one-time payment for Australians in serious financial difficulty who are forced into self-isolation due to COVID-19.
Who can get it?
To be eligible for the COVID-19 Crisis Payment, you must be:
- eligible for income support payment or ABSTUDY living allowance
- in great financial difficulty
- in quarantine or self-isolation, or caring for someone in quarantine or self-isolation, because you are awaiting COVID-19 test results or have COVID-19
You must include evidence with your application showing that you, or the person you are caring for, had either:
- a COVID-19 PCR test
- a positive RAT result
You may be asked to provide proof of financial hardship.
How much does payment cost?
You can get a maximum of two payments over a six-month period.
However, you can only get one payment per quarantine or self-isolation.
It is equivalent to one week’s salary at the maximum basic rate of your income support allowance or your ABSTUDY subsistence allowance.
It does not include any other allowances or supplements.
How to apply?
You must provide evidence to verify that you are eligible for payment, including:
- a text message or document confirming a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) COVID-19 test
- a text message or document showing the results of a COVID-19 PCR test
- a positive rapid antigen test (RAT) result
- a text message or document showing that you reported a positive RAT result, as required in your state or territory.
The PCR evidence must include the date and who performed the test or released the results. For example, the name of the medical or pathology center.
You may need to provide proof that you are in serious financial difficulty. This includes proof of:
- the money you have on hand
- the money you have in the bank
- other money you can access
You can click here to apply for the COVID-19 Crisis Payment through Services Australia.
Ongoing financial support
If Australians need ongoing assistance, they can use Centrelink’s Payment and Service Finder to see what payments they may be eligible for.
For other financial support options for COVID-19, Victorians can visit the government website.
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