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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 and 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?
I need help now
Extra support for people in Victoria

Additional resources that may be helpful

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 and Job Keeper) 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. Depending on individual need, up to three small emergency relief payments can be made per person or family over the next six months.

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?

Given the large number of people impacted by COVID-19, the support can only be offered to people residing in Victoria with urgent needs who:

  • are not Australian citizens or permanent residents; and
  • are not eligible for Commonwealth Government income support; and
  • are not eligible for State or Territory funds for temporary visa holders (except those delivered by Red Cross); and
  • have no income or very limited income, have no or very limited savings and no access to other support from a partner, family or the community.

International students eligible for Victorian Government’s International Student Emergency Relief Fund should apply to that program in the first instance. See our info sheet COVID19 Resources for International Students.

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:

Evidence of your current or most recent visa status such as your passport number or immi card number. If you are uncertain, please put in an application and we will call you to discuss.

Evidence of financial hardship:

  1. all adult members of the family must submit a current bank statement dating back one month from the date of application.
  2. if you have regular transfers to another bank account you will need to provide a bank statement for that account
  3. screenshots are acceptable only if they show your name, account number and address.

If you do not have a bank account please contact Red Cross on 1800 855 240​.

On your application, you can select to receive a phone call from Red Cross if you need further help. Red Cross will contact you within 5 business days of the application date.

To protect everyone’s safety during COVID-19, please do not come to our Red Cross offices. Please do not send any documents via email.

If you need assistance with your online application, please call 1800 855 240 or email us.

You can also view our guide for step-by-step instructions on completing your application in:

I need help now

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

If you are an international student, please contact your institution or your state or territory government first 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 can access your savings, or support from home, please do so.

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.

To search for other services, search AskIzzy or the Department of Social Services.

Extra support for people in Victoria

The COVID-19 hotline and free testing

If you suspect you may have COVID-19 (coronavirus) call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398. The hotline is open 24 hours, 7 days.

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 COVID-19 pandemic has brought into focus the importance of community and social connections to improve health and wellbeing. That’s why 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.

The Victorian Government’s COVID 19 rental hardship program

Rent relief payments of up to $2000 are available to Victorians experiencing rental hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Find out more about eligibility requirements and apply.

Family violence assistance

Mental health support

Lifeline provides people in Australia experiencing a personal crisis with access to online, phone and face-to-face crisis support and suicide prevention services. Call 13 11 14 for 24/7 confidential support.

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.

COVID-19 Test Isolation Payment

The Victorian Government is providing a $450 payment designed to financially support Victorian workers, including guardians or carers, who are required to self-isolate after a coronavirus (COVID-19) test and stay in isolation while waiting for their test results. 

This 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.

Paid Pandemic Leave

Support for Victorians who cannot earn an income because they must self-isolate or quarantine at home or they are caring for someone with COVID-19. Find out more about eligibility requirements and apply.