<big>Along with the frightening health concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic, many individuals and businesses are also facing severe financial hardship.</big>
This time we don’t have the assistance of JobKeeper or the JobSeeker Corona Supplement. But is there any other financial assistance to help keep our businesses and personal lives afloat?
Fortunately, yes there are! It just hasn’t been as well advertised as JobKeeper or the Corona Supplement were. Plus many relief payments are offered on a state by state basis. To help you identify which payment you may be eligible for we’ve put together this guide of COVID hardship funding.
Current COVID support and grant options for you or your business
Business and home loan support
Small businesses affected by the pandemic are able to defer their loan repayments for up to three months. To be eligible loans must be in ‘good standing’ and must qualify to be a small business.
Major lenders are also offering support for affected individuals by deferring home loan payments on a month-by-month basis.
According to the Australian Banking Association more than 20,0000 customers have received hardship assistance during recent lockdowns, including just over 15,000 repayment deferrals on home and business loans.
If you are looking for support, it is recommended to seek advice from your bank. There are additional supports offered by some institutes.
“The sooner you talk to your bank, the sooner they can help you find a solution that is right for you,” says Anna Bligh, CEO of the Australian Banking Association.
State by state business grants and payments
Each state and territory has their own grants and schemes available for businesses and individuals.
The information below is correct at the time of writing. It would be worth checking regularly to see if any new grants or payments have been added by your state.
New South Wales:
- Impacted businesses, sole traders or not-for-profit organisations in NSW may be eligible for a one-off grant of $7,500, $10,500 or $15,000. Apply here by 13 September 2021.
- Employing and non-employing businesses based in Victoria can apply for a number of different grants.
- The Small Business COVID Hardship Fund provides $10,000 grants for eligible SMEs that have seen a reduction in turnover of at least 70% during the pandemic. Apply here by 10 September 2021.
- The Business Costs Assistance Program Round Two offers grants of $4800 to eligible businesses in specific industries. Apply here by 20 August 2021.
- Businesses in Queensland who have been impacted by lockdowns may be eligible to receive a grant ranging from $10,000 to $30,000. The amount varies depending on the size of the annual payroll. Apply here by 16 November 2021.
- For eligible non-employing sole traders there are also grants of $1,000 Apply here by 16 November 2021.
- WA is offering Round Two of The Small Business Lockdown Assistance Grant. Eligibility is based on being a small business and operating in sectors most impacted by the four day lockdown in late June. Payment is $3,000 cash flow. Apply here by 31 August 2021.
- Small and medium-sized businesses who closed due to the state’s lockdown in July may be eligible for an emergency cash grant of $3,000. Sole traders may be eligible for $1000. Apply here by 17 October 2021.
- Employing and non-employing businesses in ACT may be able to access funds through the COVID-19 Business Support Grant. Up to $10,000 is available for employing businesses and up to $4,000 for non-employing businesses. Applicants must have experienced a decline in turnover of 30% or more as a result of health restrictions. Find out more here.
Support for affected tenants and landlords
Landlords with properties in NSW who have reduced the rent for affected tenants may be able to access funding support. Eligible landlords can access $3,000 per tenancy agreement.
To be eligible, a tenant’s take-home weekly income must have decreased by 25% or more. Additionally, the tenant needs to continue to pay at least 25% of the total rent payable.
The Victorian Government has made it a requirement for commercial landlords to provide a rent reduction that matches their tenants’ fall in turnover due to COVID restriction. But only if the tenant is eligible for commercial tenancy support.
Support for individuals
The Federal Government is offering a COVID-19 Disaster Payment to affected individuals. This payment is a lump sum to support workers unable to earn income due to a COVID-19 state public health order.
Health orders could include movement restrictions, a lockdown or being in a hotspot area. Amounts being paid vary and depend on the applicants location and individual circumstance. This support is available to residents in ACT, NSW, QLD, SA and VIC.
Exploring other options
Finally, to reduce your business or home loan payments each month you could explore various refinance or restructure options. This can be done without pausing your operations or payments.
Our suggestions include
- asking for a better rate from your lender or moving to a platform that can provide one;
- extending the length of your loan;
- switching to interest-only payments for a period of time; and
- consolidating your debt.
If you’re experiencing financial hardship during the pandemic it’s important to explore all the options listed in this guide. You may be eligible for business or personal support that you’re not aware of. Explore the links on this page and reach out to your financial institutions to discuss your options.
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