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Emergency relief support – Victoria

Financial relief including Extreme Hardship Support Program to meet urgent needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This page is also available in:
Chinese (Simplified) | Farsi | Malay | Nepali | Spanish | Tamil | Urdu | Vietnamese

We understand that many people have been impacted by COVID-19, and that you may need some financial relief to meet your most urgent needs.

Here is some important information to read before you contact us.

What is emergency relief?
Who is this service for?
How do I apply?
Application updates
I need help now
Extra support for people in Victoria
DHHS COVID-19 Extreme Hardship Support Program – FAQ
DHHS COVID-19 Extreme Hardship Support Program – Factsheet for community service providers

Extreme Hardship Support Program Flyer is available in:
Chinese (Simplified) | English | Malay | Nepali | Persian | Spanish | Tamil | Urdu | Vietnamese

What is emergency relief?

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

Australian Red Cross has received Victorian Government funding specifically to support people who do not have access to Commonwealth income support (including Job Seeker, Job Keeper and SRSS) or the Victorian Government’s International Student Emergency Fund.

The support is targeted to the most vulnerable temporary and provisional visa holders and undocumented migrants. 

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

Who is this service for?

Applicants must meet all of the following:

live in Victoria

be unable to access Commonwealth income support (including JobKeeper and JobSeeker) OR the International Student Emergency Relief Fund

have zero or very limited income, savings or community support

be a temporary or provisional visa holder, or undocumented migrant

 

International students eligible for Victorian Government’s International Student Emergency Relief Fund should apply to that program in the first instance.

International students are eligible for emergency relief through the Extreme Hardship Support Program if they;

  • have applied for ISERF, received an unsuccessful outcome, and have no further opportunity to reapply
  • have not applied for ISERF as the Stream 1 fund through their University or TAFE has now closed
  • have not applied for ISERF, because they have self-assessed as not eligible according to ISERF criteria (enrolment or employment dates).

If you do not reside in Victoria, you can apply for different emergency relief.

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.

3. If you are an international student, evidence that you are not eligible or not able to access the International Student Emergency Relief Fund (ISERF):

  • email or screenshot of rejection/unsuccessful/closed fund from University, TAFE or Study Melbourne OR
  • a statement from you explaining why you have assessed that you are not eligible for ISERF, for example because of the dates you were enrolled or because of your work circumstances – provided in comments section of online application

If you do not have a bank account or any of the other details listed above, please call Red Cross on 1800 855 240 to talk about alternatives. Interpreters are available to assist in any language.

Submitting the above information will help us process your application as quickly as possible. If we need to ask you for missing information, this will delay the outcome of your application. 

If you need assistance with your online application, please call 1800 855 240 or email us. Our phone line operating hours are 9.30AM to 4.30PM, Monday to Friday. Please do not send any documents via email. To protect everyone’s safety during COVID-19, please do not come to our Red Cross offices.

You can also view our guide for step-by-step instructions for the online application:
English | Nepali | Tamil | Urdu | Persian

Application updates

Update 5/11/2020
We have recently received a large volume of applications and processing is taking longer than normal. If your application is complete; including all required information and supporting documentation, we will provide you an outcome as soon as possible.

Please note that there is no need to contact Red Cross to check on the status of your application, if we require anything further to assess your eligibility, we will contact you to request this.

Update 2/10/2020
In October 2020, the Victorian Government doubled the payment from $400 to $800 for a single person. Families may receive more. This depends on the number of people in the family or your personal circumstances.

If you received a $400 payment before 1 October 2020 and are still experiencing financial hardship, you can apply for a top up payment of $400. To apply for the top up, please submit a new online application and we will assess your application for the top up.

If you apply for support after 1 October 2020 you will receive a payment of $800. If you are still experiencing financial hardship after two months, you may be eligible for an additional payment of $800.

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 or Study Melbourne to see what support they can provide. See our info sheet COVID19 Resources for International Students.

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 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:

Extra support for people in Victoria

COVID-19 health information

  • You must wear a face mask covering your nose and mouth, every time you leave home, unless you have a lawful reason for not doing so. 
  • Practise good hygiene and regularly and thoroughly wash your hands.
  • Maintain physical distancing, keep at least 1.5 metres away from others.

If you need COVID-19 health information in your language, see DHHS COVID-19 translated resources.

If you would like information on about looking after the wellbeing of yourself and others during COVID-19, see information from Red Cross.

COVID-19 hotline and free testing

If you suspect you may have COVID-19, call the DHHS hotline on 1800 675 398. The hotline is open 24 hours, 7 days. If you need an interpreter, call 131 450 first.

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

The Victorian Government has expanded the 1800 COVID-19 hotline to help isolated Victorians stay connected. If you’re feeling lonely, give the COVID-19 hotline a call on 1800 675 398 and press ‘3’ to speak to an Australian Red Cross volunteer who can connect you to people in your local community. An interpreting service is available in 160 different languages. 

COVID-19 test isolation payment

If you have to miss work while you self-isolate and wait for COVID-19 test results, or are caring for someone who must self-isolate, you can apply for a $450 COVID-19 Test Isolation Payment. This Victorian Government payment will help to ensure that workers are able to isolate immediately and avoid potential transmission of the virus through workplaces. Find out more about eligibility requirements and apply.

COVID-19 pandemic leave payment

If you can't earn an income because you must self-isolate at home or are caring for someone with coronavirus (COVID-19), there is support for Victorians available. Find out more about eligibility requirements and apply.

COVID-19 rent relief

If you are a Victorian experiencing rental hardship due to COVID-19, you may be eligible for a once off rent relief payment of up to $3000 to maintain safe, secure and stable accommodation. Find out more about eligibility requirements and apply.

Family violence support

If you do not feel safe at home, seek support now from: In Touch - Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence, Safe Steps or Orange Door.

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 for people who do not speak English is available. To access this service please call 13 14 50 and ask to talk to Lifeline on 13 11 14 in the language required.

Refugees and people seeking asylum can also access specialist medical and mental health support.

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 
  • Allowing 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 about the program and these issues (in a range of languages) is available here.