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Factsheet IS121 - Crisis Payments

Purpose

This Factsheet explains what a crisis payment is, what the eligibility criteria are and how you can apply for the payment.

What is a Crisis payment?

A crisis payment is a non-taxable, “one off” payment to financially assist eligible people following a range of defined circumstances.  There are a number of criteria relating to eligibility and payability of a crisis payment.

The payment is designed to assist the person to establish themselves in a new residence or, for a victim of domestic or family violence to re-establish their current residence after the perpetrator of the violence has left or been removed from the home.

How much is the payment?

The crisis payment is a flat rate equal to one week’s service pension paid at either the maximum single or partnered rate according to whether you are single or partnered.  The payment does not include rent assistance or remote area allowance.

Single rate   $463.10
Member of a couple rate $349.05

This information is current from 20 March 2019 to 30 June 2019.

Who is eligible

To receive a crisis payment you must, on the day of the claim, be:

  • receiving service pension or income support supplement; or
  • have made a claim for one of these payments (on that day or an earlier day); and
  • in Australia; and
  • be eligible to receive payment on that day; and
  • be in severe financial hardship.

You must also meet one of the qualifying circumstances:

  • extreme circumstances forcing departure from home; or
  • remain in the family home after being subjected to domestic or family violence where the perpetrator has left or been removed from the home; or
  • release from lawful custody – prison or psychiatric confinement.

You are not eligible if:

  • a disaster relief payment has already been paid for the same circumstances at the time of the determination; or
  • if the Commission is satisfied that the extreme circumstances were brought about in order to obtain a crisis payment; or
  • if the Commission is satisfied that the family member left your home with the view of enabling you to obtain a crisis payment, or
  • you have received 4 crisis payments due to extreme circumstances or remaining in the home after domestic violence in the 12 months prior to the claim.  Crisis payments made due to release from lawful custody do not count towards this limit, and there is no limit to the number of crisis payments you can receive for this circumstance.

Veteran payment recipients are not eligible for crisis payment

Severe financial hardship

To qualify for crisis payment, you must be in severe financial hardship on the day on which you made the claim for crisis payment.  That is, your liquid assets must be less than the fortnightly amount of the ‘maximum payment rate’ of DVA income support pension payable to you if you are not a member of a couple, and twice the amount if you are a member of a couple.

The ‘maximum payment rate’ includes the basic rate of pension plus the pension supplement, energy supplement and rent assistance.  The income and assets tests are not applied.

Liquid assets are cash and readily available funds such as shares, debentures, monies with financial institutions (regardless of whether the funds can be withdrawn immediately), or money owed by an employer.

Extreme Circumstances

To be eligible for a crisis payment under the extreme circumstances provisions, you must fulfil all of the eligibility criteria below.  You are eligible if you:

  • have left or cannot return home because of extreme circumstances
  • cannot reasonably be expected to remain in, or return to the home because of the extreme circumstances
  • have established or intend to establish a new home
  • were in Australia when the extreme circumstances occurred
  • claim the crisis payment within 7 days after the extreme circumstances occurred.

The extreme circumstances provisions cover people who are forced to leave their home due to domestic or family violence, or in situations where the home is considered uninhabitable for 5 or more days after the extreme circumstance has occurred.  This can include structural damage to the home, fire or smoke, or health risks such as water contamination.

Victims of domestic or family violence

To be eligible for a crisis payment under the victim of domestic or family violence provisions, you must fulfil all of the eligibility criteria below.  You are eligible if:

  • you have been subjected to domestic or family violence by a family member
  • at the time of the violence you were living with the family member
  • the family member has left or been removed from your home because of the violence
  • you remained living in the home after the family member left or was removed
  • you were in Australia when the domestic or family violence occurred
  • you claim the crisis payment within 7 days after the domestic or family violence occurred.

What is a family member?

A family member is:

  • your partner, father or mother;
  • your sister, brother or child; or
  • another person who, in the Commission’s opinion, should be treated as one of the above.

Lawful custody

To be eligible for a crisis payment under the lawful custody provisions, you must fulfil all of the eligibility criteria below. You are eligible if you:

  • were in lawful custody for 14 days or more
  • claim crisis payment within 7 days of release from lawful custody.

Lawful custody means detention in gaol or in psychiatric confinement because of being charged with an offence.

A person who lives in a psychiatric facility who has not been charged with an offence will only be qualified for a crisis payment on departure from that facility if the departure is the result of extreme circumstances.

How do I apply for a crisis payment?

You must claim within 7 days of the extreme circumstance occurring, the perpetrator being removed or leaving the home or from the date of prison release.  The claim must be made in Australia on an approved form completed by yourself or your authorised representative.  This 7 day period is intended to allow people in remote areas to lodge a claim.

You can lodge an informal claim for crisis payment if you are:

  • in Australia; and
  • eligible for crisis payment on the day of the informal claim.

If you make an informal claim, you must lodge a formal claim within 14 days.

Is a crisis payment subject to income tax?

Any payment you receive as a crisis payment is not subject to income tax.

More Information

DVA General Enquiries

Phone: 1800 555 254 *

Email: GeneralEnquiries@dva.gov.au

DVA Website: www.dva.gov.au

Factsheet Website: www.dva.gov.au/factsheets

* Calls from mobile phones and pay phones may incur additional charges.

Disclaimer

The information contained in this Factsheet is general in nature and does not take into account individual circumstances.  You should not make important decisions, such as those that affect your financial or lifestyle position on the basis of information contained in this Factsheet.  Where you are required to lodge a written claim for a benefit, you must take full responsibility for your decisions prior to the written claim being determined.  You should seek confirmation in writing of any oral advice you receive from DVA.

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20 March 2019