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Bushfire grants Q&A

This page gives you more information about our immediate assistance grants for people affected by Australian bushfires since 2019, and how to apply for them.

Grants are available for people whose homes were destroyed or structurally damaged, as well as for people hospitalised for injuries in the fires.

These financial assistance measures are in place to meet immediate needs as a result of the ongoing fires. You can track our recovery plan »

Please also visit www.disasterassist.gov.au to see what other help is available from government.

Emergency grant – primary residence destroyed

Who is this emergency grant for?
This Emergency Grant of up to $20,000 is for people whose primary place of residence has been destroyed or is permanently uninhabitable because of the bushfires.

Am I eligible for this grant?
Right now you are eligible for an Emergency Grant if your primary place of residence has been destroyed or rendered permanently uninhabitable as a result of any bushfire between 1 July 2019 and 28 February 2020.

Your primary place of residence can be your own house or one you rent, as long as you reside there on a permanent basis.

‘Destroyed or permanently uninhabitable’ means the place must be or has been demolished.

This grant is currently available across Australia.

I’m renting a place that was destroyed by the bushfires. Can I get a grant?
Yes, if the property that was destroyed in bushfires since July 2019 was your primary place of residence. When you apply, you will need to provide evidence such as a utility bill with your name and the address of the property with your name on it.

I’ve lost a holiday house/investment property in the bushfires. Can I get a grant?
The grants are for people whose primary place of residence has been destroyed or rendered permanently uninhabitable (whether owned or rented) or structurally damaged (if owned). This is because we are trying to respond to the most urgent cases first. Other financial assistance may be available from government; visit www.disasterassist.gov.au to see what is available in your state.

How do I apply for a grant?
You can apply online with a few basic checks.

What documentation do I need to provide?
You will need scanned or photo evidence of the following:

  • Evidence of your identity, such as a driver licence or passport.
  • A bank statement or internet banking screenshot clearly showing your name, bank name, address, BSB and account details. We cannot accept handwritten notes or photos of bank cards.
  • Proof of residence, such as a recent utility bill.

My documents were lost/destroyed in the fire. Can I still apply?
Yes. Please apply using what you have, and we’ll follow up to verify your details. If your documents were lost and can’t be replaced, please call us at 1800 RED CROSS (1800 733 276).

Why do I need to provide documentation?
We appreciate that this is a stressful and upsetting time, and we’ve tried to make the process as quick and simple as possible. We’re getting many applications from bots and from overseas, so we have to be able to verify applications to make sure the money is getting to the right people.

We’re here to help. Please call 1800 RED CROSS (1800 733 726) during business hours if your documents have been lost in the fires and can’t be replaced.

I was told the Emergency Grant for destroyed homes was $10,000. Now it’s $20,000. Do I need to apply again?
No. If you have already been paid a $10,000 Emergency Grant, we will contact you from Monday 3 February and you will be verbally requested to confirm you are in financial hardship to receive an additional $10,000. If you are in financial need for this extra support, we will increase your grant after we’ve talked to you on the phone.

How soon do I need to apply?
There’s no immediate rush – grants will be open until at least 30 April 2020.

How will you know if my home was destroyed in a bushfire?
We’re working with relevant state and territory governments to secure proof that a property was destroyed or rendered permanently uninhabitable as a result of Australian bushfires since July 2019.

How soon after I apply will you process the application? When will the grant be paid?
We’re working hard to process thousands of applications. Once we’ve verified your information and approved your application, the emergency grant will be paid by EFT within a week wherever possible.

Is the grant taxable?
The emergency grants are not taxable. We are using the generous donations of the Australian and international public to provide financial support.

Primary residence repair grant

Who is the primary residence repair grant for? 
The Primary Residence Repair Grant of $5,000 per household is for home owners whose primary place of residence was structurally damaged by the fires, to make sure their home is safe to live in or return to.

From 12 March 2020, eligibility has been extended to include destruction or damage to critical private water, septic and/or power infrastructure attached to your primary place of residence and located on your property. 

Am I eligible for the primary residence repair grant? 
You are eligible for a Primary Residence Repair Grant if you own a home that is your primary place of residence which has been structurally damaged by fire impacting on safe habitation, as a direct result of any bushfire from July 2019.

‘Structurally damaged’ means your residence must be directly impacted by fire damage (not smoke damage) since July 2019, impacting on safe habitation and requiring structural repairs (e.g. walls, ceiling, flooring, windows, roof repair).

From 12 March 2020, this includes repair or replacement of critical private infrastructure attached to your primary place of residence and located on your property.

For example, this includes repair or replacement of water or septic tanks, repair or replacement of generators, repairs to electrical wiring or fuse boxes which are attached to your primary place of residence and located on your property. You are eligible for this grant if this infrastructure requires essential repair as a result of bushfires since July 2019 to make your primary place of residence safe to live in or return to.

This grant does not cover removal or making safe of dangerous trees, or the repair of fencing on your property.

This grant is currently available across Australia. 

I already received the emergency grant because my home was destroyed. Can I also get the repair grant? 
No. If you have already received the emergency grant for a property that has been destroyed or made permanently uninhabitable, you are ineligible for the repair grant.

How do I apply for a grant?
You can apply online with a few basic checks.

What documentation do I need to provide? 
You will need scanned or photo evidence of the following:

  • Evidence of your identity, such as a driver licence or passport.
  • A bank statement or internet banking screenshot clearly showing your name, bank name, address, BSB and account details. We cannot accept handwritten notes or photos of bank cards.
  • Proof of home ownership, such as rates notice, loan document or title.

My documents were lost/destroyed in the fire. Can I still apply? 
Yes. Please apply using what you have, and we’ll follow up to verify your details. If your documents were lost and can’t be replaced, please call us at 1800 RED CROSS (1800 733 276). 

Why do I need to provide documentation? 
We appreciate that this is a stressful and upsetting time, and we’ve tried to make the process as quick and simple as possible. We’re getting many applications from bots and from overseas, so we have to be able to verify applications to make sure the money is getting to the right people.

We’re here to help. Please call 1800 RED CROSS (1800 733 726) during business hours if your documents have been lost in the fires and can’t be replaced. 

How soon do I need to apply? 
There’s no immediate rush – grants will be open until at least 30 April 2020.

How will you know if my home has been structurally damaged or that I’ve suffered damage or destruction of critical infrastructure attached to my home? 
We are using a variety of data sources to verify that your primary place of residence has been directly impacted by bushfires from July 2019 but in some instances may need to visit or ask you to provide photo evidence. You will need to give your permission for Red Cross personnel to visit your property to validate your application. 

How soon after I apply will you process the application? When will the grant be paid? 
We’re working hard to process thousands of applications. Once we’ve verified your information and approved your application, the emergency grant will be paid by EFT within a week wherever possible. 

Is the grant taxable? 
The repair grants are not taxable. We are using the generous donations of the Australian and international public to provide financial support.

Injury grants

Who is the injury grant for?
The Injury Grant is a one-off payment of $7,500 for people who have spent two days or more in hospital as a result of physical injuries or mental health issues directly caused by the bushfires since July 2019. The hospital admission needs to have occurred within two weeks of a bushfire affecting your area.

Am I eligible for the injury grant?
You are eligible for an Injury Grant if you have suffered physical or mental health injuries directly caused by a bushfire from July 2019 for which you were admitted to hospital for two days or more .

The hospital admission needs to have occurred within two weeks of a bushfire affecting your area.

We want to make the process as simple as possible. We’ll ask you to provide evidence of your identity, evidence of hospital admission and discharge and details for a financial transfer (a recent bank statement showing BSB and account details).  You will need to upload medical documents that confirm the cause of your injuries and the length of your stay in hospital. This is so we can validate your eligibility for this grant.

This grant is currently available across Australia.

I am not in a bushfire affected area, but I was ill/injured because of the smoke haze. Am I eligible?
You are not eligible unless you received injuries and were hospitalised for two or more days as a direct result of bushfires from July 2019. This grant is not provided for people who suffered asthma or respiratory issues due to smoke haze or air conditions in non-bushfire affected areas.

How do I apply for a grant?
You can apply online with a few basic checks.

What documentation do I need to provide?
You will need scanned or photo evidence of the following:

  • Evidence of your identity, such as a driver licence or passport.
  • A bank statement or internet banking screenshot clearly showing your name, bank name, address, BSB and account details. We cannot accept handwritten notes or photos of bank cards.
  • Evidence of hospital admission and discharge that confirms the cause of your injuries and the length of your stay in hospital


My documents were lost/destroyed in the fire. Can I still apply?
Yes. Please apply using what you have, and we’ll follow up to verify your details. If your documents were lost and can’t be replaced, please call us at 1800 RED CROSS (1800 733 276).

Why do I need to provide documentation?
We appreciate that this is a stressful and upsetting time, and we’ve tried to make the process as quick and simple as possible. We’re getting many applications from bots and from overseas, so we have to be able to verify applications to make sure the money is getting to the right people.

We’re here to help. Please call 1800 RED CROSS (1800 733 726) during business hours if your documents have been lost in the fires and can’t be replaced.

How soon do I need to apply?
There’s no rush – grants will be open until at least 30 April 2020.

How will you know I was injured as a direct result of a bushfire?
You will need to provide evidence of your hospital admission and discharge. We will also be using a variety of data sources to verify that you were in a bushfire affected area, hospital admission/discharge records and doctors’ certificates to check your eligibility.

How soon after I apply will you process the application? When will the grant be paid?
We’re working hard to process thousands of applications. Once we’ve verified your information and approved your application, the emergency grant will be paid by EFT within a week wherever possible.

Is the grant taxable?
The repair grants are not taxable. We are using the generous donations of the Australian and international public to provide financial support.

Bereavement grants

The bereavement payment of $20,000 is to the senior next of kin of people who have died in the fires to help with immediate financial needs such as funeral costs. We are working with state coroners to get in touch with the next of kin to get this payment to family and loved ones as quickly as possible.

No application is needed for the bereavement grant – we are getting in touch directly with senior next of kin to organise it.

For more information, call 1800 733 276.

Your privacy

Your personal information is protected by law. We are collecting it so we can verify your identity and process your application for a grant, respond to your enquiries or provide you with information about relevant services and support. You can read our privacy collection notice to find out more.

Have a question not answered above? Please contact us on 1800 RED CROSS (1800 733 276) during business hours.