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Accessing the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment as an International Student

*Information correct as of 18 July 2022

The Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment has been reinstated. While the payment was initially suspended on 30 June 2022, the Australian Government announced on 16 July 2022 that it would be restored from 20 July 2022 until 30 September 2022. That means that, if you have lost work because you caught COVID-19 or are a close contact, you may be eligible for the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment. Here’s what you need to know about the payment as an international student.

What is the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment?

In essence, the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment is for people who stand to lose work because they’re isolated due to being infected with COVID-19 or because they are a close contact. It is designed to financially assist these individuals during these periods when they are unable to work and earn money.

Who is eligible for the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment?

There are specific eligibility and application requirements for each state and territory in Australia, which you can access on the Services Australia website

People who have access to seven days of sick leave will not be able to receive the payment. As a reminder, if you are a casual employee, you are not eligible for sick leave like part-time and full-time employees are. You are not expected to take annual leave or long service leave if you have to isolate yourself. 

Additionally, to be eligible for the payment, you must have less than $10,000 in liquid assets (e.g. money in a bank account, cash) on the first day of the period being claimed.

Anyone who has tested positive must register their case with their state or territory government authority, where appropriate.

Anyone who has received other government payments during their isolation period — for example, the Queensland Hardship Payment or the COVID-19 Disaster Payment — may also be ineligible.

How much is the payment?

As the payment operates on a tiered system, the answer to this question depends on how many hours of work you lose. Anyone who loses over 20 hours of work will receive $750, but if you lose between 8 and 20 hours, you are only eligible to receive $450. If you lose less than eight hours of work, you are not eligible for the payment.

What if I was affected between 1 July 2022 and 20 July 2022? Can I apply retroactively?

Yes. The Government has stated that, when claims reopen on 20 July 2022, payments will be backdated to 1 July. This is to ensure that those eligible for the payment who were unable to work during this period will also be covered.

How can I apply for the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment?

Firstly, it is important that you check the eligibility and application requirements for your state or territory in Australia through the Services Australia website

Once you’re sure you qualify for the payment, you can find step-by-step instructions on how to apply here and access the claim form here.

If you need help with your application, contact 180 22 66.

If successful, your payment should arrive within a few days.