NSW rejoice: 80% of the eligible population is now fully vaccinated, which means COVID freedoms are underway! But, on the flip side, that means COVID disaster payments will be phased out in the next two weeks.

As those of you who were receiving the disaster payments introduced earlier this year may already know, NSW ended automatic payments when the state hit 70% vaccinated — those who were considered still affected by lockdown and COVID were told to reapply for the payment every week. This will apply to people in Melbourne soon, since the city is about to hit 70% vaccinated.

Now, NSW has hit 80% fully vaccinated literally a week after the 70% milestone. So what’s next, you ask? Well, I’m genuinely sorry to report that the disaster payment will be phased out in the next two weeks.

According to Service NSW, if you’re still considered eligible after weekly reapplication, in the first week you’ll receive either:

  • $450 if you’ve lost more than 8 hours or a full day of work and you’re not getting other Centrelink or Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) payments, OR
  • $100 if you’ve lost more than 8 hours or a full day of work and you are getting an eligible Centrelink or DVA payment.

The second week after we hit 80%, your payment will either be:

  •  a one-off $320 payment, if you’ve lost more than 8 hours or a full day of work and you’re not getting an eligible Centrelink or DVA payment, OR
  • your payment will end, if you’re getting an eligible Centrelink or DVA payment.

After the two weeks, NSW won’t be considered a hotspot anymore, which means all COVID disaster payments that recipients were initially eligible for will have ceased.

This will also happen to those receiving payments in Melbourne once the city hits 80% vaccinated.

While it’s obviously fucking *amazing* that we’ve collectively made the effort to get our state out of the dire situation it was in a few weeks ago, the ending of COVID disaster payments for those who haven’t recovered from the financial stress of lockdown will be disastrous.

You can read more about the COVID disaster payment and your eligibility here.