Support available due to COVID-19
The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association is providing support and advice to any members seeking information regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Ensure you’re covered at work by joining the NSWNMA.
National Cabinet has implemented a short-term temporary moratorium on evictions for people impacted by severe rental distress due to COVID-19.
If you fall behind with the rent and cannot pay the overdue amount, talk to your landlord or agent immediately. Explain the situation to them and try to negotiate a repayment plan.
Rent assistance from Services Australia is available for persons who are in receipt of either:
- Certain payments from Services Australia (i.e. JobSeeker Payment)
- More than the base rate of Family Tax Benefit
And, you pay a more than a specified amount of ‘Rent’ or a similar payment such as lodging, board, mooring fees. Persons who have made mortgage payments aren’t eligible.
You don’t need to submit a claim for Rent Assistance. Your eligibility is assessed when you claim a payment from Services Australia.
Deferring home loan repayments
Bank customers can apply to their financial institution to defer mortgage repayments for up to 6 months. Contact your bank for further details and assistance. If your bank refuses to provide relief you can escalate a dispute to the Australian Financial Complaints Authority.
All lenders have hardship teams ready to help customers in tough times. Certainly, with COVID-19, most lenders if not all will be expecting calls from their customers to discuss what options are available to reduce and/or defer payments.
Banks are considered to be an essential service and so will remain open at these times. Contact your lender to discuss what options are available.
Some examples of what these offerings are:
Australia & New Zealand Bank (ANZ)
- Decrease variable interest home loan rates by 0.15%pa across all Variable rate indices, effective from 27 March 2020.
- Introduction of a two-year fixed rate of 2.19%pa (available under ANZ Breakfree) for Owner Occupiers paying Principal & Interest.
- Request a deferral of home loan repayments for up to six-months, with a review at three-months, with interest capitalised. Please note that the loan balance increases when interest is capitalised.
Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA)
- All home loan customers can defer home loan repayments for up to six-months, with interest capitalised. Please note that the loan balance increases when interest is capitalised.
- Introduction of a two-year fixed rate of 2.29%pa (Wealth Package) for Owner Occupiers paying Principal & Interest.
- Home loan customers who have lost their job or suffered a loss of income due to COVID-19 can apply for a three month deferral on mortgage repayments, with additional three month deferral possible.
- A 2.29% p.a. fixed rate home loan for one, two and three years for owner occupied customers on principal and interest repayments with a Premier Advantage Package
You may be eligible for an energy subsidy or other measure. Contact your utility provider about temporary relief.
Early Access to Superannuation
- Eligible persons can withdraw up to $10,000 tax-free for the 30 June 2020 financial year, and up to an additional $10,000 tax-free for the 30 June 2021 financial year.
- Available for those who are in receipt of the Coronavirus Supplement
- Need to apply online through myGov before 1 July
You will not need to pay tax on these amounts and they will not impact on Centrelink payments. Consider getting advice before doing this.
JobSeeker Payments (Centrelink)
You may be eligible for support from the Government here if your income has fallen below a certain level where you have been stood down.
You can apply for immediate income support from the JobSeeker website at my.Gov.au.
Access will be given if you’re:
- A permanent employee who has been stood down or lost your job.
- A casual or contract worker whose income has reduced.
- Caring for someone who’s affected by coronavirus.
Payments will be made immediately with full information required later. You may be eligible for payments up to $1,115.70-$1,340.10 per fortnight.
Additional financial assistance available through JobSeeker
If you have applied to receive JobSeeker or another eligible payment from the Government, you will receive $750 from Centrelink as part of the Economic Support stimulus payment announced by the Government. This will be paid from 27 April 2020. An additional payment of $750 of the Economic Support payment will be paid from 13 July 2020, subject to eligibility criteria.
- The ordinary one week waiting period will be waived for three months starting from 12 March 2020.
- The asset testing will be waived from 27 April 2020 for six months.
- Normal income testing rules still apply.
- You are unable to access employer entitlements (Annual Leave, Long Service Leave, Sick Leave) or income protection insurance at the same time as getting JobSeeker Payment / Youth Allowance for job seekers.
The above is intended as general information only and the advice in relation to each case will depend on its particular circumstances.
On 2 April 2020, the Australian Government announced the new Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package for families to access free child care. Up to and including 5 April 2020, services can now waive gap fees for families due to the impact of COVID-19. This can go back as far as 23 March 2020.
From Monday 6 April 2020, weekly payments will be made by the government directly to early childhood education and care services.
Payments will be made until the end of the 2019-20 financial year and families will not be charged fees during this time.
Nurses and midwives may be educated to manage challenging situations, however are not immune from an unhealthy stress response that may drain reserves and put you at risk of burnout or compassion fatigue.
Nurse & Midwife Support is available 24/7 nationwide to nurses, midwives, students and anyone concerned about the welfare of a nurse or a midwife. Call on 1800 667 877 or email them here. The service is anonymous, confidential and free.
The NSWNMA will continue to provide further updates for members as we receive them. Information contained on this page is current as of 19 March 2020. Contact us here.