Disaster Recovery Allowance expanded for bushfire affected regions

Aerial photo by Gayle Kee.
Aerial photo by Gayle Kee.

Help is now available for more people who lost income as a direct result of the bushfires thanks to changes to the Disaster Recovery Allowance.

Changes include income being assessed individually, meaning both members of a couple can both receive the payment, and an increase to the income cut-off to the equivalent of the full-time adult average weekly ordinary time earnings.

Anyone who received Disaster Recovery Allowance between July 1, 2019 and January 18, 2020 will have their claim automatically reassessed.

Minister for Government Services Stuart Robert said the changes means more Australians will become eligible for this assistance.

"We recognise that many people in bushfire affected regions have lost income at what for some is their busiest time of the year," Mr Robert said.

"We are now reassessing claims under the new rules and if this means you're eligible for more money, we'll automatically pay the difference into your bank account. People don't need to do anything.

Services Australia's Mobile Service Teams (MSTs) and Mobile Service Centres (MSCs) are continuing to provide on-site support to bushfire affected communities in NSW, Victoria and South Australia.

The fastest way to claim disaster payments is to call 180 22 66. The hotline is open from 8am to 8pm local time Monday to Friday and 8am to 5pm on weekends (local time).

Operation of MSTs and MSCs remain subject to ongoing assessment of conditions. Stay up to date with service changes and available support at servicesaustralia.gov.au/disaster.