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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.

COVID-19
We know that many people may be unable to get to Recovery Centres or to friends and family who provide support for people to complete online applications or upload documents due to COVID-19 restrictions. If COVID-19 restrictions are impacting your ability to provide the required information for a grant, please contact us at 1800 RED CROSS (1800 733 276) and we can help.

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.

Rebuild grant

Who is this grant for?
The Rebuild Grant of $20,000 is to help homeowners experiencing financial hardship as a direct result of bushfires. It assists with the early stages of rebuilding their homes, such as the costs of building plans cuncil approvals and fees, and safety assessments.

Am I eligible for this grant?
You are eligible if you are a home owner whose primary place of residence was destroyed or rendered permanently uninhabitable as the result of a bushfire between 1 July 2019 and 28 February 2020.

Your primary place of residence means that 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 was renting a house that was destroyed in the bushfires. Am I eligible for the rebuild grant?
The Rebuild Grant is for owner-occupiers who intend to rebuild. If you were renting and your primary place of residence was destroyed in a bushfire between July 2019 and February 2020, you are eligible for our original Emergency Grant of $20,000. However, the Rebuild Grant cannot be provided to people renting a property that was destroyed.

My holiday house/investment property was destroyed. Can I get this grant?
The Rebuild Grant is for homeowners whose primary place of residence has been destroyed or rendered permanently uninhabitable. It does not include properties that are not primary residences, such as holiday homes or investment properties. This is because we are trying to respond to the most urgent cases first. Other financial assistance may be available from government; visit bushfirerecovery.gov.au to see what is available in your state.

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

I’ve already received the Emergency Grant. Do I have to apply again for the Rebuild Grant?
Yes, but you won’t need to provide information you’ve already given us, except for proof of home ownership (like a loan statement or rates notice) if you have not already supplied this, or bank details if they have changed.

You will need to declare that you are facing financial hardship, you intend to rebuild your primary place of residence, and that you consent to Red Cross or an authorised representative visiting your property to validate eligibility, if necessary.

I have not yet applied for a grant. What documentation do I need to provide?
If you haven’t previously received a Red Cross grant, you will be asked to provide an upload of the following documents: evidence of your identity (such as a driver licence), proof of residence (like a utility bill), proof of home ownership (like a loan statement or rates notice) and details for a financial transfer (a recent bank statement showing BSB and account details).

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?
The Rebuild Grant will be open until 30 June 2020.

How will you know if my home was destroyed in a bushfire?
For new applications, we check the address in your application against records of fire damage provided by government and fire services. If your address is not in these records, we may need to do a visual inspection. If we’ve already verified your property information for the Emergency Grant, we won’t need to do it again.

Through the application process, you will also be asked to declare that:

  • your documents are true and correct
  • your primary place of residence was destroyed or rendered permanently uninhabitable as a result of bushfires from July 2019
  • you are the home owner
  • you intend to rebuild your primary place of residence
  • you are experiencing continued financial hardship as a result of bushfires from July 2019
  • you agree to Red Cross personnel or an authorised representative visiting your property to validate your eligibility for this grant, should it be necessary.

How soon after I apply will you process the application? When will the grant be paid?
Once we’ve verified your information and approved your application, the emergency grant will be paid by EFT within days 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.

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

Who is this grant for?
The Rebuild Grant of $20,000 is to help homeowners experiencing financial hardship as a direct result of bushfires. It assists with the early stages of rebuilding their homes, such as the costs of building plans cuncil approvals and fees, and safety assessments.

Am I eligible for this grant?
You are eligible if you are a home owner whose primary place of residence was destroyed or rendered permanently uninhabitable as the result of a bushfire between 1 July 2019 and 28 February 2020.

Your primary place of residence means that 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 was renting a house that was destroyed in the bushfires. Am I eligible for the rebuild grant?
The Rebuild Grant is for owner-occupiers who intend to rebuild. If you were renting and your primary place of residence was destroyed in a bushfire between July 2019 and February 2020, you are eligible for our original Emergency Grant of $20,000. However, the Rebuild Grant cannot be provided to people renting a property that was destroyed.

My holiday house/investment property was destroyed. Can I get this grant?
The Rebuild Grant is for homeowners whose primary place of residence has been destroyed or rendered permanently uninhabitable. It does not include properties that are not primary residences, such as holiday homes or investment properties. This is because we are trying to respond to the most urgent cases first. Other financial assistance may be available from government; visit bushfirerecovery.gov.au to see what is available in your state.

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