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Accessing the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment as an International Student

*Information correct as of 12 January 2022

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.

As of 11 January 2022, rapid antigen tests (RAT) can now be used as proof that you’ve been infected with the virus, and are eligible for the Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment. Beforehand, a PCR test was required as proof.

Here’s what you need to know about the payment as an international student.

Who can apply 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

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. 

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. 

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

As reported by the ABC, 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?

At the time of writing, the payment is delivered as an AU$750 lump sum payment for seven days. 

This will change on 18 January 2022. While the payment will remain a lump sum, it will move to a tiered system. Anyone who loses over 20 hours of work will still receive the full $750, but if you lose between 8 and 20 hours, you will only receive $450. Those who lose less than eight hours of work will no longer be eligible.

In addition, a financial hardship test will also be introduced next week, which will mean anyone with $10,000 available and accessible to them will not get the payment.

What proof do you need to apply for the payment?

At present, no proof is initially needed, as the government’s goal is to get the money to those in need as quickly as possible. However, you should still keep evidence of your need to isolate. Examples of such evidence include your positive RAT test registered with your state or territory health authority, proof of your positive PCR test, or proof of communication from health officials directing you to isolate. Services Australia will be retroactively checking the evidence for compliance checks in the near future. 

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 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.