The Commonwealth and Victorian Governments occasionally provide limited one-off financial help to people who suffered loss as a result of declared natural, environmental or other disasters. This page provides links to relevant schemes run by the Commonwealth and Victorian governments for people based in Victoria.
The Commonwealth Government’s Disaster Recovery Allowance assists people who have been adversely affected by natural disasters in various local government areas.
Other payments to help you in a crisis
You may be able to apply for an immediate income support payment. This is available even if you are not already receiving a Centrelink benefit. The type of payment or assistance that you may be able to receive will depend on your circumstances. Examples include:
Advance lump-sum payment for people on benefits
You may receive part of your income support payment or early. This is an advance payment of your existing entitlement, and not an extra payment. To assess your eligibility for an advance payment, visit the .
Crisis payment, for people on benefits
- in severe financial hardship. This may include situations where:
- you're affected by coronavirus (COVID-19)
- you've experienced a family and domestic violence incident
- you've had to leave your usual home because of extreme circumstances
- you've entered Australia as a Humanitarian Entrant for the first time; or
- you've been released from prison or psychiatric confinement; and
- eligible for an income support payment or ABSTUDY Living Allowance.
- ineligible for any other income support payment; and
- in severe financial hardship for reasons beyond your control.
If you are not eligible for any other income support, please read the rules to see if you can receive the Special Benefit.
Carer adjustment payment
To receive this one off payment you must:
- Provide full-time care for a child under 7 years of age who has either:
- a severe illness;
- a severe medical condition; or
- a major disability
- you must receive Carer Allowance for the child;
- you must have a very strong need for financial help;
- the child must need this care for at least 2 months;
- the child must have the severe illness, medical condition or major disability because of a catastrophic event; and
- you and your partner cannot be getting the Carer Payment or be able to get another income support payment from the Commonwealth Government.
Additional Child Care Subsidy Temporary Financial Hardship
To be eligible for this temporary subsidy, you must:
- Be eligible for ;
- have experienced temporary financial hardship due to an event that happened in the last 6 months; and
- have a substantially reduced ability to pay child care fees.
Pension loan schemes
You must meet all of the following criteria:
- You or your partner are of
- you receive or are eligible to receive a
- you own, or your partner owns, real estate in Australia that you can use as security for the loan
- you have adequate and appropriate insurance covering the real estate offered as security
- you are not bankrupt or subject to a personal insolvency agreement.
- you also need to agree to the terms and conditions of the Pension Loan Scheme to get a loan.
Early release of your superannuation
You can obtain an early release of your super to help with unpaid expenses. You can apply based on compassionate grounds from the . If you are in severe financial hardship, you can make an application to your .
For more information, call the Commonwealth Department of Human Services:
- Help in an Emergency , Monday to Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm.
- Farmer assistance , Monday to Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm.
Other free and voluntary services to help you in a crisis
The Commonwealth Government has a range of services to help you in a crisis.
Victorian Government Department of Fairness, Families and Housing
The Victorian Government Department of Fairness, Families and Housing has information on how it can give financial crisis support to you and your family if you are caught in a major emergency – such as a bushfire, severe storm, flood or earthquake.
Other financial support to help you in a crisis
Personal Hardship Assistance Program
The Personal Hardship Assistance Program offers two different types of funds: emergency relief assistance, and emergency re-establishment assistance. If you qualify, you could receive money from either or both of these schemes, depending on your situation.
Emergency Relief Assistance
The Department of Health and Human Services can provide you with a one-off emergency relief payment after a house fire or any other natural emergency, provided that you and your needs meet eligibility requirements. This payment is provided to help meet immediate needs, including emergency food, shelter, clothing, medication and accommodation.
In order to be able to receive emergency relief assistance, you must discuss your circumstances with a Department of Health and Human Services officer – usually within seven days of the emergency. Please call on (local calls free within Victoria, except mobile phones).
Emergency Re-establishment Assistance
You can apply for Emergency Re-establishment Assistance if your main residence has been destroyed or has been so badly damaged that you can’t live in it without major repairs. Assistance can also be paid if you can’t return home for more than a week after an emergency. Be aware though, that this isn’t a substitute for taking out insurance.
To receive Emergency Re-establishment Assistance you must meet the following eligibility conditions:
Your home must be uninhabitable or inaccessible for more than 7 days because of a natural disaster.
You must meet income-tests.
The losses or damage must not be covered in part or in whole by your insurance.
Tips for handling your insurance claim after an emergency
Tips for buying the right insurance
The risk of under-insuring.
Other support from the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments to help you further in a crisis
If you need more information about getting emergency relief assistance from the Victorian Government, you can either and click the relief & recovery tab; or download the VicEmergency App; or call the VicEmergency hotline on .
Reviewed 01 December 2021