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How to access essential uni and non-uni services: COVID-19

The past few weeks have been a tumultuous time for Australians, as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread around the globe, eventually being announced as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation.

University of Newcastle Students are now studying from home – some have lost work; others are balancing their course loads with caring for sick relatives or home-schooling children. It is important to note that amid all the chaos, support services are available.

Financial Support

The Australian Government has announced a range of financial support packages available through Centrelink.

Anyone who receives the following allowances will automatically receive an additional $550 a fortnight – the Coronavirus Supplement – on top of their regular payment:

The full list of eligible allowances can be found here. The Coronavirus Supplement will be paid out from 27 April.

If you are not currently receiving Centrelink

The Government is also expanding access to JobSeeker Payments and Youth Allowance for Job Seekers. Asset testing will be waived for 6 months from now on however income testing will still apply. You are likely eligible for this support if you:

It is important to note that you cannot access these payments if you are accessing employment entitlements such as annual leave, sick leave or income protection insurance. You must wait until you have exhausted those entitlements before you can access JobSeeker or Youth Allowance for Job Seeker payments.

How to apply for Centrelink

There is a new, streamlined process in place to lodge a claim. This involves you registering an intention to claim online and waiting for a Centrelink officer to contact you to conduct identity checks and move the process forward.

The important thing to note is that you do not need to line up in person at Centrelink offices. This is a threat to your health and the health of others.

Instead, see here for the steps to register an intention to claim online.

As the myGov website has been experiencing issues with crashing and slowing down due to heavy demand, it might be a good idea to log on outside of peak periods. If you can, get up early or stay up late to access the site.

Financial Counselling is available through the MoneySmart and Financial Counselling Australia. Counsellors can give you advice tailored to your situation, for example suggesting suitable repayment plans for bills or helping you fill out a Centrelink application.

Financial support and student loans of up to $2000 are available for some students. It’s worth checking if you are eligible for Financial Support.

Novel coronavirus health information

Given the global nature of the pandemic and the (arguably jarring) messaging coming from different jurisdictions, it can be hard to separate COVID-19 facts from fiction.

To access reliable health information, you should go to:

Uni Services

For info and updates on the University’s response to COVID-19, visit our COVID-19 page.

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