A payment of more than $300 previously only available to those in 12 Sydney areas of concern has been expanded to Orange and the rest of the state.
Dubbo MP Dugald Saunders revealed on Tuesday that Test and Isolate payments are now available to all eligible residents in NSW who have undergone a COVID test.
Those eligible can receive a $320 payment and the MP hopes it helps improve the region's testing numbers.
"In most cases, this is about a payment you receive if you're not eligible for anything else," he said.
"Mostly its around people who fall into a crack where there is no other way of getting a payment. If you're self-employed for example and you're needing to isolate for a couple of days, that's about making sure you're not losing out."
The payments for eligible recipients can be backdated to September 9.
Until this point, it has only been residents in the 12 Local Government Areas of concern in Sydney who have been eligible for the payment.
"There's been a lot of talk about how we need to raise testing rates," the MP added.
"We realise that sometimes that test and isolate is a real inconvenience and can be a financial burden so it's about recognising that and trying to fill in those gaps that have been occurring."
But the rules for who can and who can't receive this payment are very strict.
You are not eligible if you:
- can work from home during your time of self-isolation
- receive any income, earnings or salary during your time of self-isolation
- have access to sick leave, carers leave or special pandemic leave
- receive income support from the Australian Government (including the COVID-19 Disaster Payment or Pandemic Leave Disaster Payment) or financial support from the NSW Government (such as the micro-business grant or JobSaver payment) during your time of self-isolation
- have been directed by NSW Health to test and isolate as you're a close contact of a known case
- have had a rapid antigen test
- are an essential worker and are required to test every 3 days.
The MP could not provide clarity when asked why direction from NSW Health to test and isolate made a person ineligible for payment.
You must also be aged 17 years or older and have had to isolate because of a COVID (PCR) test.
Western NSW Local Health District chief executive Scott McLachlan also hoped the payments would see more people come forward to be tested.
"I think we should have some confidence that with these payments, there is some support in place that if you do need to isolate and you're really struggling, look out for the opportunity," he said.
"We know that there have been people holding back on getting tested because of their work environments or for other reasons that they are challenged in everyday life, so hopefully this does make it easier for people."
The NSW Government has said that you will have to repay the $320 payment if you do not self-isolate while waiting for your results or if you provide false or misleading information in your claim.
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