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Extreme Hardship Support Program – NSW

Financial relief for people in New South Wales to meet urgent needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This program is for people living in New South Wales.

If you live in Victoria, apply here.

If you live in ACT, Queensland, Northern Territory, Western Australia, South Australia or Tasmania, apply here.

To continue or check the progress of an existing application, login here.

Please read before you apply

What is emergency relief?
Who is this service for?
How do I apply?
I need help now
I need extra support

What is emergency relief?

Emergency relief is to help people meet their basic needs, like food, medicine or shelter.

Australian Red Cross has received NSW Government funding specifically to support people who do not have access to Commonwealth income support (including Job Seeker and SRSS).

The support is for temporary and provisional visa holders, as well as people who may not currently hold a valid visa, in extreme financial hardship.

Emergency relief payments are not income support. They are limited and we know may not meet all your needs.

Who is this service for?

Applicants must:

live in New South Wales

be unable to access Commonwealth income support (including Job Seeker and SRSS)

have zero or very limited income, savings or community support

be a temporary or provisional visa holder, or undocumented migrant

How do I apply?

Before you start your application you will need:

1. Evidence of your current or most recent visa status

  • Passport number, visa grant number or Immi card number
  • If you are uncertain, please leave the visa fields blank or select ‘uncertain’ and we will call you to discuss
  • Red Cross does not share personal or visa information with the government.

2. Evidence of financial hardship

  • all adult members of the family must submit all current bank statements dating back one month from the date of application
  • if you have joint accounts or regular transfers to other bank accounts you will need to provide bank statements for those accounts
  • screenshots are acceptable only if they show your name, account number and address.

Submitting the above information will help us process your application as quickly as possible. Missing information will delay the outcome.

You must attest that all information provided to Red Cross is true and correct. If this application contains information or documentation believed to be false or misleading, including concealing any relevant circumstances, your application will be declined.

If you need assistance with your online application or can not apply online, please call 1800 855 240 or email usOur phone line operating hours are 9.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.

Please do not send any documents via email. Please do not come to our Red Cross offices.

I need help now

If your health or safety is under threat now, please call 000.

If you can access your savings, or support from home, please do so.

If you are an international student, please contact your institution to see what support they can provide.

If you are a tourist, on a working holiday visa or someone wanting to return to your home country, please contact your embassy or consulate to understand the support they can provide in the first instance.

If you lost work during lockdowns and hold a valid work visa, apply for the Commonwealth Government COVID-19 Disaster Payment. To be eligible you must:

  • be an Australian resident, permanent resident or eligible working visa holder,
  • live or work in a Commonwealth declared hotspot,
  • unable to work and earn income as a result of a state lockdown, and
  • the lockdown is for 7 days or more.

If you need information about your visa, extensions, travel and other matters, the Home Affairs COVID-19 and the Border and Staying in Australia webpages have detailed information for temporary visa holders.

Additional resources that may be helpful

I need extra support

COVID-19 health information

Follow restrictions in your area and monitor exposure sites.

Practise good hygiene and regularly and thoroughly wash your hands.

Maintain physical distancing, keep at least 1.5 metres away from others.

For more about looking after yourself and others during COVID-19, see information from Red Cross.

COVID-19 free testing

If you have any of the symptoms of COVID-19, however mild, you should get tested. You can get a free COVID-19 test regardless of your Medicare or visa status. Find a testing location in your area.

COVID-19 vaccination

The COVID-19 vaccine is free for all people in Australia, including people who are on a temporary visa or without a visa, and you do not need a Medicare card.

Get a vaccine as soon as you are eligible – you can use the Australian Government Department of Health eligibility checker. If you have questions or concerns, talk to your doctor or health provider. You can access information translated into a number of languages.

For information about vaccines for COVID-19 in NSW visit the New South Wales Government's coronavirus website.

COVID-19 Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment

If you can't earn an income because you or someone you care for gets Covid 19 and is a close contact and must self-isolate for 14 days, there is financial support available. Find out more about eligibility requirements and apply.

Family violence support 

If your health or safety is under threat now, call 000 immediately. Crisis and ongoing support is also available from these services:

  • 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) National sexual assault and domestic violence helpline
  • 13 11 14 Lifeline crisis support and suicide prevention
  • 1800 55 1800 Kids Helpline

Red Cross Family and Domestic Violence Financial Assistance Program provides financial assistance to people on temporary visas who have experienced or are at risk of family and domestic violence. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply for Red Cross Family and Domestic Violence Financial assistance.

Mental health support

If you are facing mental health concerns or have concerns for someone you care for, Lifeline provides 24/7 confidential crisis support and suicide prevention services on 13 11 14. A free interpreting service is available for people who do not speak English. Call 13 14 50 and ask to talk to Lifeline on 13 11 14 in your language.

Working in Australia

All workers in Australia have the same rights at work, regardless of where you come from or what visa you have. Your employer must:

  • pay you correctly for all time worked
  • provide a safe workplace, including COVID safe
  • allow you to join a union.

Red Cross provides support for people who have been affected by labour exploitation, domestic servitude, forced labour, and modern slavery through its Support for Trafficked People’s Program. More information, in a range of languages, is available here.