With restrictions in place for all residents of halls and colleges regardless of secondary contact status since the announcement of Extreme Risk on campus, the University’s stricter definitions of essential work have rendered many students unable to work. 

The ANU’s decision to deem some workers a ‘non-essential worker’, despite satisfying the requirements of ACT Health resulted in confusion as to whether students who have only lost hours as a result of the University’s orders would be eligible for COVID-19 Disaster Payments. A spokesperson for the National Recovery and Resilience Agency which oversees Disaster Payments has told Woroni that “if ANU students are prevented from working because of an order imposed by the University, they may be eligible for the payment”.

Claims open today, the 20th of August, for those in the ACT who have lost hours of work from the 13th to the 19th of August as a result of the lockdown. Students who have lost at least eight hours or a full day’s work, which includes casual shifts of less than eight hours, will be eligible for an additional $200 per week if they currently receive a Centrelink or Department of Veterans’ Affairs payment, or $450 per week if they don’t receive these other payments. This increases to $750 for students who have lost 20 hours or more. Full eligibility and further detail is available here.

For eligible students with Centrelink accounts, the process is simply to sign in to myGov and click “Apply for support” in the alerts at the top, and then click “Get started” under the “Affected by coronavirus (COVID-19)” box, after which clicking “Apply for COVID-19 Disaster Payment” will take you to the application form. For eligible students without Centrelink accounts, the detailed instructions are available here.

If assessed as eligible, you will receive automatic payments each week that you continue to have lost hours, and only need to inform Centrelink if any circumstances change.

These payments are not just for citizens, but exist for Australian residents and those with visas which give the right to work in Australia. Those in quarantine or self-isolation facing severe financial hardship may also be eligible for Crisis Payments

The ANU is also providing students with welfare and financial support. A spokesperson for the ANU has said that “residents can access hardship support from ANU”, and that students who require extra food or essential supplies should reach out to COVID.Operations@anu.edu.au. ANUSA and PARSA too have financial support available, arranging alternative relief measures for students at the ANU.