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Diabetes Victoria Blog


Join the discussion in our blog where a variety of writers from all walks of life take a stance on current diabetes issues.
 

Covid-19: How to access financial support

Due to the novel coronavirus (covid-19) many people have lost their jobs. Others will have their jobs on hold or they have been stood down, and are now unemployed and need money help. This includes people living with diabetes and those close to them.
We have put together a snapshot for you on how to access money/financial from Centrelink, the Victorian Government and community organisations.

Centrelink

For people who are new to Centrelink- Coronavirus (COVID-19) support and payments and a healthcare card

Can you get money help?
Yes, if you have lost your job or stood down because of COVID19.
How to get money help and a healthcare card?
To apply for Centrelink benefits you can now lodge a Notice of Intent to claim online.
Log onto your MyGov account and click the ‘Intent to Claim’ button.
After you have clicked, a staff member from Centrelink will call you. This call will come to you as an unknown number. They will ask you for proof to check who you are, where you live and where you worked. If you want, they will give you a Centrelink number to call.
Centrelink staff will let you know if you are all good to go ahead with payments (to get money).
Your payments (money) and a healthcare card will start from the time you click the intent to claim button.
You can also go to a Centrelink office. They  will have long lines for a few more weeks. Take with you any papers and photo ID that can prove who you are. For example, your current passport, Medicare card, tax file number, bank statement, rates notice, last gas or electricity bill and/or current driver’s license.
You can call Centrelink on 1300 169 468; however, be prepared to wait for many hours.

For people who are existing Centrelink customers - coronavirus supplement 

Centrelink is giving extra money to people who are already a Centrelink customer and have a current Customer Reference Number (CRN).
Who can get the coronavirus supplement?
People, who already receive any of the Centrelink payments outlined below, will get an extra $550 every 2 weeks for the next 6 months (April – October), starting from 27 April 2020:
  • Job Seeker (Newstart) payments
  • Youth allowances
  • Parenting allowances
  • Farm household allowance
  • Special benefits
  • Youth allowance for students
  • Austudy for students
  • ABSTUDY for students.
This extra money will come into your account plus your usual payments from Centrelink.
You will still have your healthcare card.

More information for people now on Centrelink Job Seeker payments and Disability Support Pensions

Job Seeker payments: From March 2020, the Centrelink Sickness Allowance stopped and is now replaced by the Job Seeker payment.
You can still get your payments as looking for work is not possible due to covid-19.
If you are unemployed or have been stood down due to covid-19, let Centrelink know you want to apply for Job Seeker payments as soon as you can.
Disability Support Pensions (DSP): People who get a Disability Support Pension do not get the coronavirus supplement.
Check with Centrelink if you can get 2 extra payments of $750 over the next 6 months.

Superannuation insurance update

Most people have insurance attached to their superannuation account. If you can’t work because of a medical condition, you might be entitled to receive income protection benefits, or total and permanent disability (TPD) benefits.
Income protection benefits pay you a monthly amount, and the benefits can be payable for 2 years, 5 years or to age 65 (and rarely, but sometimes, payable for the rest of your life).
A TPD benefit is a lump sum paid through your superannuation fund and can often be a 6-figure lump sum that can provide significant financial benefit if you’re no longer able to work.
Tip: There are current laws from the Commonwealth Government which mean that if you have insurance in your super, and an account balance of less than $6000, you will lose your insurance cover unless you notify the super fund prior to 1 April 2020 – ACT NOW if you want to keep your insurance cover.

Superannuation – early access to up to $10,000

Can you get money out of your superannuation fund due to covid-19?

Yes, you can get up to $10,000 from your super fund if now you are:
  1. Unemployed
  2. You can get:
    • Job Seeker Payment
    • Youth Allowance
    • Parenting Payment (partnered and single)
    • Special Benefit or Farm Household Allowance
  1. On or after 1 January 2020 you were made redundant
  2. On or after 1 January 2020 your working hours were reduced by 20% or more
  3. If you’re a sole trader, your business was suspended or there was a reduction in turnover of 20% or more.
Taking money from your super now, when the economic markets have dropped a lot, can mean that you're locking in some losses. 

How to get money from my Super fund?

The quickest way is by your MyGov account: my.gov.au

When can you get your super money because of covid-19?

Contact your super fund and your payment of up to $10,000 could be available from mid-April 2020.

More information about getting your super money:

Under the new rules, once the Australian Tax Office (ATO) has said you’re entitled to the early release, the super fund must pay the monies to you as soon as practicable.
The super fund isn’t allowed to ask for more documents.
Any monies released under these provisions will be tax-free.
You can claim again for a further $10,000 after 1 July 2020.
Taking money from your super now, when the economic markets have dropped a lot, can mean that you’re locking in some losses.
Before taking money from your super fund, you can talk with your financial advisor or ask the Diabetes Victoria advocacy team to link people with diabetes to Victorian experts. 

Support from the Victorian Government

The Victorian State Government has a number of initiatives which might be useful to get back on your feet again.

Community organisations in Victoria

There are a number of community organisations you can contact for access to food and supplies for older and home bound people with diabetes.Last updated: 31 March 2020 




 

Meet Deb Gooley – an outstanding woman advocating for children with type 1 diabetes


An equal world is an enabled world – the 2020 theme of International Women’s Day perfectly sums up the work of Diabetes Victoria’s Deb Gooley. Deb is a nurse, midwife and diabetes educator who has worked tirelessly to ensure that children with type 1 diabetes are supported at school; so that they can thrive, learn and grow just like their peers.

Deb has been a driving force behind two major projects in this space.

Diabetes In Schools, an initiative led by Diabetes Australia, is a program that encourages families, schools and health professionals to work together to support students manage their diabetes at school. Deb was instrumental in liaising with teachers, families and students affected by diabetes, and ensured the training program, resources and content were accurate and easy to understand.  

At the same time, Deb was also managing the Diabetes Victoria Diabetes At School program, where she worked closely with the Victorian Department of Education to ensure all online resources, training manuals and video content was produced to a high standard, assisting school teachers and educators so Victorian families and school aged children affected by diabetes can be safe in a school setting.

Juggling these two projects involving many diverse stakeholders and competing deadlines, Deb’s outstanding work hasn’t gone unnoticed. Her peers and colleagues nominated Deb for the Diabetes Victoria 2020 International Women’s Day Recognition Award.  Now in its second year, Diabetes Victoria recognises with this award the work of the wonderful women who make up more than 75% of Diabetes Victoria’s staff.

“I felt privileged to have been recognised by my peers for my contribution within our team, for the work that has been done in supporting children with type 1 diabetes, their families, as well as staff in schools and early childhood settings through the Diabetes at Schools program,” Deb said when receiving the recognition.

International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on 8 March. The theme for this year’s campaign is #EachforEqual which is focused around actively choosing to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements. An equal world is an enabled world. We’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions and each one of us can help to create a gender equal world.