Recent Changes to Centrelink Payments in Response to COVID-19

There have been many changes to social security law since the COVID pandemic began. Most of those changes have been phased out however a few important measures remain. The information below summarises current arrangements at 10 May 2022.

COVID-19 Payment 

Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment is available for people directed to self-isolate or quarantine because they have COVID-19 or they're a close contact of someone who has COVID.

Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment is paid at $1500 for each 14-day period or $750 for each 7-day period a person must self-isolate, quarantine or care for a person with COVID-19. It cannot be paid if you have any income from paid work or you receive an income support payment, ABSTUDY Living Allowance, Paid Parental Leave or Dad and Partner Pay.

You can find out more about Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment here


Mutual obligations

Mutual obligation requirements were paused in NSW but they’re have been phased back in.

Employment service providers should be exercising COVID-safe practices and taking into account your situation and labour market conditions when setting requirements for you. You should also be able to practice COVID safety precautions such as attending COVID testing and self-isolating as required.

If you’re unable to attend an appointment, undertake an activity or meet a job search target, it’s really important that you let your employment service provider know before the due date so you can try to make alternative arrangements and avoid a penalty. That includes when any issues arise because you are practicing COVID safety precautions.


What if my claim is rejected or I have a problem getting my payment?

Welfare Rights Centre can provide free legal advice and assistance to people in NSW. To get in touch with Welfare Rights Centre, call us on:

  • 02 9211 5300 
  • 1800 226 028

Our phone lines are open Monday and Wednesday, 9:30am - 12:30pm.

If you live in another state, your local specialist community legal centre may be able to help. To find your nearest community legal centre, click here.


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If you know someone who's had a Centrelink claim rejected or they've received a debt notice but don't think the debt is fair or correct, our community legal specialists can help. Please share this page on social media:

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