How to be eligible for an NSW test and isolate Support payment
Little is known about the NSW government earmarking money to help people who need time off work to test for COVID.
If you suspect you have COVID, develop symptoms, or are in close or occasional contact with a COVID-positive person, you should take the test quickly. After running the test, you should self-isolate for as long as necessary to get those results back. As the state faces an increase in cases likely due to the omicron variant, it can take up-to-48 hours for test results to return.
If you cannot work from home during this period, you will need to take time off. For many people who do not have time off or sick leave, this can be a real financial burden. It can also result in the loss of several days of payment.
Recently, the NSW government announced it would pay $320 for testing and isolation support.
Here are some of the things to know about the NSW test and isolate support and how to claim them.
Testing and isolation fees: $320 per isolation period
Payment for testing and isolation assistance is available to all workers in NSW since September 9th.
$320 is available for people who need to self-isolate while awaiting COVID-19 test results.
To access it, workers must be at least 17 years old. They must have had a COVID-19 test at a testing center within one week of requesting payment.
They should also be able to demonstrate that they would have likely worked during the period of self-isolation and, as such, had a loss of income due to their isolation needs.
Workers are not eligible if they can work from home while isolated or receive any other form of income. This includes sick leave, pandemic leave, or other Centrelink support payments.
Even people who NSW Health has hired to test and isolate because they are a known close contact cannot access this payment. Although they can access the pandemic leave disaster payment.
Workers can claim this payment once a month.
Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment (PLDP): $750 every seven days
People who are in isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19 can access a pandemic leave payment of $750.
Previously, the program offered payments of $1,500 for people who were to be isolated for 14 days, and lower payments reflected reduced quarantine expectations for those fully vaccinated.
If a person cannot work for more than seven days, they can apply separately for each seven-day period. The salary changes reflect equivalent care in a shorter period of time.
To access this payment, people must have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or be considered a close contact for a confirmed case or must be dealing with a confirmed case or close contact.
As with testing and isolation benefits, workers must demonstrate that they have lost income due to isolation requirements and that they are not receiving any other income in the form of sick leave, compassionate care leave, Centrelink, or salary payments.
Individuals can request this payment by calling 180-22-66 or by using the online form.
This form is for claiming payments for isolation periods prior to December 8th.
This form is for claiming payments for isolation periods from December 9th.
Centrelink Crisis Pay: $315 for people in severe financial difficulty
People who are already receiving payments from Centrelink can also request payments if they need to self-isolate after a COVID-19 test or diagnosis.
This payment is made twice within a six-month period and is available to Centrelink recipients as long as they request it within 14 days of isolation or quarantine.
They must also save less than two weeks of the maximum income support payment rate if they are single and less than four weeks if they are in a relationship.
Crisis allowance is equivalent to one week’s salary at the maximum basic rate of income support.
For an individual on JobSeeker without kids, that would be $314.75.
Full-time students who apply for ABSTUDY living allowance can claim the same amount while living away from home.
You can claim this payment via the myGov online portal then via Centrelink.
Alternatively, people can call their regular payment line.
The payments, introduced September 9th, cover anyone who needs to take a test later (unfortunately, claims backdating is not possible). However, there is a relatively limited set of criteria that you must meet to be eligible for a payment.
You can only claim one of the $320 payments if you live in NSW, are 17 or older, have been tested for COVID, had to go into solitary confinement, and lost your job because of its period of isolation confinement.
Payments are typically intended for casual workers, such as hospitality and retail workers, who may have to cancel shifts.
You also cannot claim payment if you can work from home, receive income during the isolation period. Also, you cannot claim payment if you have a license that you could have used. Those requesting further COVID payments from the NSW government cannot even claim those payments.
To apply, you will need an MYServiceNSW account, and other essential details with a COVID test details.