Scott Morrison has announced a disaster payment of $500 for eligible workers stood down without pay in Victoria, but it comes with strings attached.
The funding will apply to Commonwealth-determined hotspots across the country for any lockdowns longer than seven days to “avoid any unnecessary hardship for Australians”.
The payment will be $500, made on a week-by-week basis, for people who normally work 20 hours a week or more, or $325 for those who work less than 20 hours.
Only workers aged 17 or older and employed before lockdown will be eligible, and they must be unable to work due to the restrictions in their home or place of business.
Those who are already claiming other special pandemic leave will not be eligible and they must self-declare if they have liquid assets of less than $10,000.
“We are talking about somebody getting through the next week,” the Prime Minister said. “Who would normally be in an economic situation where every dollar counts.
“Where those have independent means of supporting themselves for a week then I think they would agree that reaching out for Commonwealth taxpayer-funded assistance is not something they would consider reasonable for such a short period of time.”
News.com.au reported on Thursday morning that the Morrison Government was considering cash disaster payments to the vulnerable that would include an income loss eligibility test.
Despite ruling out a JobKeeper scheme, Morrison acknowledged the extended lockdown had changed the game.
“The challenges keep coming,” he said. “And we know that Victoria, more than anywhere, has suffered greater than any other part of the country.
“That is a simple fact. And they are going through that even again now.”
This article originally appeared on Over60.