Our Information and Content Officers have been hard at work taking your calls, answering your questions and researching the information that you need! As a result, we have combined all our brainpower and come up with our top 10 most asked questions relating to COVID-19 to help you unblur those lines:

Quicklinks

Will my Disability Support Pension (DSP) be affected if I receive the Jobseeker or Jobkeeper payment? 
Who qualifies for the $550 Coronavirus supplement? 
I am struggling with my rent due to COVID-19- who can help me out? 
I cannot access my regular medications/grocery store/ necessities due to isolation- who can assist me? 
I need monetary relief/ emergency assistance because of COVID- who do I contact? 
Do I qualify for both $750 economic support payments? When will they be paid? 
I want to visit my son/daughter/mother/sister etc. in their group home- am I allowed? 
I do not have access to COVID testing due to low immunity/limited access to transport/ Isolation – can they come to me? 
What states/areas have access to COVID-19 testing clinics? 
Can I use NDIS funds to purchase Laptop/iPad for my children's virtual education & telehealth appointments? 

1. Will my Disability Support Pension (DSP) be affected if I receive the Jobseeker or Jobkeeper payment?

Firstly, let's define the difference between each payment.

JobSEEKER:

If you are receiving this payment, you are seeking employment. This payment is made available to employees who may have been stood down or let go due to circumstances surrounding COVID-19. This payment is also available to sole traders, self-employed, casual workers and contract workers who successfully meet the requirements regarding the loss of income due to COVID-19. 

JobKEEPER:

JobKeeper is an initiative to assist employers in retaining employees despite the current circumstances. The business may still be operational or may be closed. This ATO specific payment can help businesses in maintaining positive relationships with employers while providing financial relief. Your employer will contact the ATO if this is an initiative they wish to utilise.

But… how does all this affect your Disability Support Pension (DSP)?

If you transfer your Payment to JobSEEKER, your DISABILITY SUPPORT PENSION will be cancelled. Whereas, you can stay on the DISABILITY SUPPORT PENSION  and receive JobKEEPER simultaneously. A DISABILITY SUPPORT PENSION  recipient that is working can suspend their entitlement to benefits for up to 2 years without the need to reapply.  It is important to note that your JobKEEPER payments will be assessed as income under the DSP income test, including any other income you (or your partner) receive.  If you are thinking about changing, there are multiple resources which will give you further insight into how this can affect you.

Read Economic Justice Australia's document Disability Support Pension, COVID-19 and Payments for more information. 


Read more about Centrelink and COVID-19


2. Who qualifies for the $550 Coronavirus supplement?

The eligibility for the $550 supplement is specific, with a minority of current payment recipients qualifying for both. These include:

  • Jobseeker payment
  • Partner allowance
  • Widow allowance
  • Sickness allowance
  • Wife Pension
  • Youth Allowance for job seekers
  • Youth Allowance for students and apprentices
  • Austudy for students and apprentices
  • ABSTUDY for students getting Living Allowance
  • Parenting payment partnered and single
  • Farm Household Allowance
  • Special Benefit

Disability Support Pension, Age Pension and Carer Payment and recipients of payments NOT listed above are not eligible for this supplement. Further information regarding information for Disability Support Pension and Carer Payment recipients amidst COVID-19 is made available by the DSS.

3. I am struggling with my rent due to COVID-19, who can help me out?

Regardless of your current state or territory of residence, starting a conversation with your landlord/property manager regarding your financial situation is the very first step for most cases. Negotiating a rent reduction or having your position in writing are positive steps towards a positive outcome.

As with a vast majority of COVID rules and regulations, the formal answer is dependent on which State or Territory you reside. Below are the details for the different rental assistance packages for tenants announced in the wake of COVID-19:

 

4. I cannot access my regular medications/grocery store/ necessities due to isolation- who can assist me?

If you are required to Isolate or simply do not feel comfortable at the pharmacy during this time, there are still options for you. You may qualify for the Australian Government rollout the "Home Medicine Service" which is a program available for people in home isolation and for vulnerable patient groups who wish to limit their exposure to COVID-19.

This service is available for home delivery of medicines from any pharmacy approved to both dispense and supply PBS and RPBS medicines. If you are unsure if your local pharmacy has applied for this service, give them a ring and enquire. More information regarding this service can be found here.

Additionally, if you are struggling with shopping for groceries and other necessities during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have an IDEAS blog outlining home delivery, back to basics and other options based on your state. If you are unsure, give your local stores a ring and enquire.


On this topic IDEAS: Grocery Shopping during the COVID-19 Pandemic

About medications and delivery Getting your medication during the COVID-19 Crisis


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5. 
I need monetary relief or emergency assistance because of COVID, who do I contact?

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the current situation, emergency assistance can be difficult to source. Just remember you do not have to continue this journey alone. There are services available to assist you with food, housing, bills and even emotional support in this time. Money Smart, a government organisation, provides tips and tricks for those needing urgent relief and assistance.


Read more about Centrelink and COVID-19

Some more about Paying your bills in the COVID-19 crisis


 
6. Do I qualify for both $750 economic support payments? When will they be paid?

If you are receiving the DISABILITY SUPPORT PENSION, Age Pension or Carer Payment you are eligible for the $750 economic support payments. The initial payment should have been paid into your account between the dates of 31st March 2020 to 17th April 2020. IF you continue to meet the eligibility requirements the second $750 Economic Support Payment will be paid into your account FROM the 13th July 2020.  Please note that suspension from the Disability Support Pension or Carers Pension on the 10th July will revoke your eligibility for this payment.  More information surrounding these payments can be accessed here.


Read more about Centrelink and COVID-19


 
7. I want to visit my son/daughter/sibling in their group home, am I allowed?

Here at IDEAS, we understand your need to see your loved ones at a time like this. Ringing the group home directly to source their plan for COVID-19 and the easing of restrictions is the place to start. Service providers have been given guidelines for practice at this time to help keep people safe and to make sure they have the support they need. If you are unhappy with the plans the service have in place you can speak to the National Quality and Safeguards Commission.
If you or your family members are feeling distressed because of isolation or lack of communication Medhealth can provide emotional support to those in need.
They are available to chat between 9 am-7 pm AEST on 03 8860 0861


8. 
I do not have access to COVID testing due to low immunity/limited access to transport or Isolation – can they come to me?

Not having access to COVID testing due to special circumstances is more common than first thought. Calling your general practitioner to see whether they provide a home testing service in your area should be your first step. If this is not a service provided by your GP, call 000 to arrange a visitation from your local ambulance crew.  It is essential to seek medical attention if you are exhibiting symptoms related to COVID-19, be sure to inform those you have direct contact with about your testing and results. This can be made easier by downloading the Australian Government application: COVID Safe.

9. What states or areas have access to COVID-19 testing clinics?

Are you able to access testing? Would you prefer a quick and simpler way to get tested and find out your results without sitting at your local GP? Below are links to respiratory assessment clinics and FAQs based on your state.


 Read more about testing on IDEAS Blog  COVID-19 Testing



10. 
Can I use NDIS funds to purchase Laptop/iPad for my children's virtual education & telehealth appointments?

We have been inundated with calls of confusion surrounding the use of NDIS funding for Low Coast Assistive Technology.  The NDIS recently released a COVID-19 Information Pack surrounding these questions. The NDIS has TEMPORARILY broadened the flexible approach to purchasing LOW-COST Assistive Technology items.

You can use your EXISTING NDIS funding to purchase an AT item if:

  • It will maintain NDIS funded supports.
  • Your provider of supports has confirmed in writing the necessity of the device to continue. Supports and services.
  • It is the lowest specification that will maintain funded supports.
  • You do not already have the item or similar.
  • Item is not funded by another service system.
  • The item or circumstances are not expressly excluded.

Source: NDIS Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information Pack Low-Cost Assistive Technology May 2020

Have any more questions regarding the who, what and whys of the new Low-Cost Assistive Technology regulations? For more information, get the NDIS information pack here.

Is there a question you would like answered about COVID19?

Let us know and our Information Officers will be happy to find the answer for you.
Free Call: 1800 029 904   Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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