One-off Energy Assistance Payments in Australia 2021-2022
While there are a number of energy concessions and rebates in Australia for those who are eligible for ongoing help and support, including rebates for seniors and pensioners, family rebates, and solar rebates, there are also several one-off energy assistance payments available to those who might be experiencing sudden financial hardship. Whether this is due to Covid-19, a lost job, death in the household, or other emergency, if you suddenly find yourself unable to keep up with your electricity and gas bills, keep reading below to see what help might be available to you.
Energy Accounts Payment Assistance (EAPA) vouchers NSW
The New South Wales Energy Accounts Payments Assistance (EAPA) vouchers are available to residents of New South Wales facing short-term financial hardship. Each voucher, worth $50, is sent electronically to your energy retailer to help pay for your home energy bills.
Eligibility for EAPA vouchers
In order to be eligible for the Energy Accounts Payment Assistance vouchers, you need to fulfill the following requirements:
- Your primary residence is in NSW and you have an electricity or gas account for your NSW address
- Be the account holder for the electricity or gas service at your residence
- Be experiencing a short-term crisis or emergency that impacts your ability to pay part or all of your energy bill
If you use LPG, live in an embedded network, have already paid your energy bill, or are not the account holder you are not eligible for the EAPA vouchers.
How to apply for the EAPA vouchers in NSW
Before you apply for the Energy Accounts Payment Assistance vouchers you need to make sure you have all the following information available:
- A MyServiceNSW account
- Two proof of identity documents which match the name on the supply address of the energy account
- Personal and contact details
- A copy of your most recent energy bill which shows your full name, energy retailer’s name, account number, and meter number (for electricity or gas meters)
- Confirmation that you’re currently on a hardship plan (if applicable)
- Evidence of financial crisis (optional - such as a termination notice or proof of medical expenses)
You can apply for the EAPA vouchers directly online through MyServiceNSW or through an approved non-government EAPA provider. The application process includes an eligibility assessment with either a NSW Government representative or an approved non-government EAPA provider. Government assessments include a 3-way call with your energy provider while non-government EAPA assessments are done in person.
Power Saving Bonus (PSB) Victoria 2021-2022
The new Power Saving Bonus from the Victorian government is a one-off payment of $250 to provide energy bill support to Victorian households experiencing financial hardship due to Covid-19 and the pandemic.
Eligibility for the 2021-2022 Power Saving Bonus
If you’re a Victorian resident in need of financial assistance to help with your energy bills, you will need to meet the following eligibility requirements for the 2021-2022 Power Saving Bonus:
- Be a Victorian residential energy consumer
- Hold one of the following: Centrelink Pension Concession Card; Job Seeker, Youth Allowance, Abstudy or Austudy; Department of Veterans Affairs Pensioner Concession Card; or Department of Veterans Affairs Gold Card
You will also need to get some information in order to apply for the Power Saving Bonus:
- An Original PDF or hard-copy version of your household electricity bill from your retailer
- Your Centrelink Customer Reference Number (CRN) or DVA card number.
Apply for the Victoria Power Saving Bonus
Applying for the Victorian Power Saving Bonus is as simple as applying online through the Victorian Energy Compare website. However if you’re having trouble submitting an application, you can email email@example.com or call 1800 000 832.
Home Energy Emergency Assistance Scheme Queensland
The Home Energy Emergency Assistance scheme is a one-off emergency assistance payment of up to $720 once every two years. If you’re a Queensland resident, experiencing sudden financial hardship due to an unforeseen emergency, this scheme is available to assist with your energy bills.
Eligibility for the Queensland Home Emergency Assistance Scheme
To be eligible for the Home Emergency Assistance Scheme, you need to be a Queensland resident and responsible for paying the outstanding bill (though the bill does not need to be in your name), in addition to one of the following:
- hold a current concession card; or
- have an income equal to or less than the Australian Government’s maximum income rate for part-age pensioners; or
- be part of your energy provider's hardship program or payment plan.
Apply for the Queensland Home Emergency Assistance Scheme
The first step to applying for the Home Emergency Assistance Scheme is to contact your energy provider. If you live in regional or rural Queensland, this will most likely be Ergon Energy. If you live in South East Queensland, you can find the phone number of your energy provider on your latest electricity or gas bill.
Once you contact your energy provider, they can start the application process for you. You will be given an application number, which will be needed to complete the online portion of the application. Once you have this application number, and are shown to be eligible for the scheme, you can complete the online HEEAS form.
Western Australia Energy Assistance Payments (EAP) and HUGS
There are two emergency assistance payments available in Western Australia depending on your circumstances and the help you need.
Energy Assistance Payments (EAP) 2021-2022
If you’re in Western Australia and experiencing financial difficulties which affect your ability to pay your energy bills, the Western Australia Energy Assistance Payments is a $300 payment credited to your energy account to assist with paying your energy bills. If you hold a Centrelink Health Care card, Pensioner Concession card, Department of Veterans' Affairs Gold or Pensioner card, you might be eligible. In order to apply, you need to directly call your energy provider, either Synergy or Horizon power, to get started.
Hardship Utility Grant Scheme (HUGS) WA
Hardship Utility Grant Scheme in Western Australia assists utility customers who are unable to pay their utility bills due to financial hardship. HUGS isn’t just water or energy payment assistance, a key principle is to connect utility providers with customers in order to share responsibility for managing financial difficulty and issues with payments by working together to create a manageable payment arrangement with the purpose of avoiding disconnection and debit escalation. Financial assistance through HUGS will only be available once other strategies such as payment arrangements have been exhausted.
How much can I get with the Hardship Utility Grant Scheme?
The amount you could receive through the Hardship Utility Grant Scheme depends on a number of factors but must not exceed 85% of the amount you have outstanding on your water, gas, or electricity bill.
- If you live south of the 26th parallel (south of Denham), you are eligible for up to $580 per financial year.
- If you live north of the 26th parallel (north of and including Denham), you are eligible for up to $960 per financial year.
If you and your energy provider have arranged an 180-day debt payment plan, which you have complied with, your provider can recommend an additional $50 if the equivalent amount is waived from your outstanding debt.
Am I eligible for the Energy Assistance Payment in Western Australia?
Your eligibility for the Hardship Utility Grant Scheme depends on if your utility provider assess you as being in of the following situation:
- You contact your utility provider to discuss your outstanding debt and you are assessed by your utility provider as being in financial hardship and not in payment difficulty, and
- You have exhausted all your options with the utility provider and enter into a payment arrangement for at least 180 days to address the outstanding debt, and
- After completion of the payment arrangement, if your outstanding bill is still more than $300
When am I not eligible for a Hardship Utility Grant?
- You do not reside at the supply address
- You’ve already used your grant limit for the financial year
- You’ve been assessed as not being in financial hardship
- You have bottled gas
- For Water Corporation, Busselton Water, Aquest and Lancelin South Water customers, HUGS is only available for the owner-occupiers of residential properties
- You live in an Aboriginal community and have your water managed by the Water Corporation
- Your debt transfer is older than 12 months, such as debt transferred when moving house
How can I apply for the Hardship Utility Grant Scheme?
There are three steps when it comes to applying for the Hardship Utility Grant Scheme.
Utility Provider Assessment: All HUGS applications are made through your utility provider, so the first step to beginning the process is to contact your energy or water provider as soon as you are experiencing financial difficulties. Once you have started the application, your utility provider will work with you in order to achieve the following situation:
- Assess whether you are experiencing payment difficulties or in a state of financial hardship
- Sign you up for the Utility hardship program if applicable
- Set up an 180-day payment plan arrangement
Following the 180-day payment plan, and having avoided a disconnection or restriction notice, you can then request your energy provider to begin the HUGS application on your behalf.
Currently disconnected?Under certain circumstances, you might still be eligible for HUGS so contact your utility provider in order to discuss your options and eligibility. If you are eligible, you will also need to be sure you pay the minimum amount required to reconnect your property (usually 50% of the outstanding debt) and enter into a future payment arrangement of at least 180 days.
HUGS Service Centre Assessment: After your utility provider assesses your circumstances and you’ve met all the compliance and eligibility requirements, your application will be sent to the HUGS Service Centre. The Service Centre will comprehensively assess your situation and provide additional support and advice as to whether you will be recommended for a HUGS grant.
Final HUGS Approval: The HUGS Service Centre will submit a recommendation on your HUGS application to the Department of Communities which will do a final assessment and review of the application and either approve or reject it. If your application is approved it will be sent directly to your provider.
What if my HUGS application is denied?If your HUGS application is denied, you will be notified directly. You can request a review of the decision within four weeks of the date of the notification it was denied.Requests to review must be made in writing and either sent by post to:
Department of Communities
Locked Bag 3
Perth BC 6849
Or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Covid-19 Payments 2021-2022
If you’re experiencing a loss of income due to Covid-19 lockdowns, quarantine, or reduced work hours, the Australian government has help available.
Covid-19 Disaster Payment
The Australian Government Covid-19 Disaster Payment is a lump sum available to help workers who are unable to earn an income due to Covid-19 restrictions and lockdown.
When can I get the Covid-19 Disaster Payment?
You’ll be able to get the Covid-19 Disaster Payment starting from:
- 15 July 2021 for people in parts of Sydney
- 18 July 2021 for people in Greater Sydney
- 18 July 2021 for people in all other areas in NSW
- 23 July 2021 for people in Victoria
- 28 July 2021 for people in South Australia
How much is the Covid-19 Disaster Payment?
Depending on your circumstances you can be eligible for between $375 and $600 for each relevant period.
You will receive $375 for the following circumstances:
- If you lost either between 8 and 20 hours of work per week, or
- You lost a full day of your usual work hours
If you have lost 20 hours or more per week of work, you can get $600 for each relevant period.
Claim the Covid-19 Disaster Payment
In order to claim your Covid-19 Disaster Payment, you need a MyGov account linked to a Centrelink Online account. If you don’t have a myGov account, you can create one. For eligible working visa holders, you will need to call the Emergency Information Line to make a claim.
Covid-19 Crisis Payment
The Covid-19 Crisis Payment is a government crisis payment available to Australians who must either enter quarantine or are caring for someone who is in quarantine or self-isolation due to the Coronavirus. In order to be eligible, you must contact ServicesAustralia within 14 days of entering self-isolation or quarantine.
Covid-19 Crisis Payment eligibility
In order to get the Covid-19 Crisis Payment, you must be:
- eligible for an income support payment or ABSTUDY Living Allowance
- in severe financial hardship
- in Australia when you claim
- In self-isolation or quarantine, or caring for someone in self-isolation or quarantine, due to Covid-19
If you are in lockdown, you are not eligible for the crisis payment because you can still leave your home for essential reasons such as essential work, exercise, support visits, or to buy food and medicine.
How much is the Covid-19 Crisis Payment?
The amount you could receive from the Covid-19 Crisis Payment is equal to one week’s pay at the maximum basic rate of your income support payment of ABSTUDY Living Allowance. You can get a maximum of 2 Crisis Payments within a 6-month period.
How to claim the Covid-19 Crisis Payment
In order to claim the Covid-19 Crisis Payment in Australia you need to first establish your identity using myGov and contact ServicesAustralia within 14 days of quarantine or self-isolation.
You will also need to provide proof of severe financial hardship, which can include evidence of:
- cash you have on hand
- money you have in the bank
- other money you can access.
As well as evidence of needing to self-isolate which can include:
- proof that you, or the person you cared for, had a COVID-19 test
- documents from an authority or health professional instructing you, or the person you cared for, to self-isolate or quarantine
- notification of test results.
The easiest way to claim the Covid-19 Crisis Payment is online, and you’ll need to link your Centrelink online account with myGov using your Centrelink Customer Reference Number.
- Sign in to myGov and go to Centrelink.
- Select Payments and Claims from the menu, then Claims, then Make a claim
- Select Crisis Payments
- Select Apply for Crisis Payment for National Health Emergency
- Answer all the questions
- Submit your claim
Once you’ve applied you can track your claim online through myGov, or use the Express Plus Centrelink mobile app.