Tropical Cyclone Debbie – March 2017 - Disaster Recovery Allowance

Assistance for eligible people who have experienced a loss of income as a direct result Tropical Cyclone Debbie – March 2017.

Employees, primary producers or sole traders who can demonstrate they have experienced a loss of income have until 19 January 2018 to make a claim for the following Local Government Area:

  • Byron

The claiming period for all other Local Government Areas has now closed.

About the Disaster Recovery Allowance

The Disaster Recovery Allowance is a short term payment to assist individuals who can demonstrate their income has been affected as a direct result of a declared disaster.

It is payable for a maximum of 13 weeks from the date at which you have, or will have, a loss of income as a direct result of Tropical Cyclone Debbie - March 2017.

The Disaster Recovery Allowance is a taxable payment.


You are eligible for assistance if you meet all of the following criteria:

  • you are 16 years of age or older at the time of the cyclone and are not a dependent child
  • you are an Australian resident or the holder of a permanent or Special Category visa
  • you earn, derive or receive an income by working in the affected area or reside in the affected area
  • you have experienced a loss of income as a direct result of Tropical Cyclone Debbie – March 2017
  • you are not receiving an income support payment or pension such as Age Pension, Youth Allowance, Newstart Allowance, Farm Household Allowance, or a Service Pension from the Department of Veterans' Affairs for the same period you are claiming this payment
  • your income is less than the relevant income threshold amount in the fortnight following the loss of income

If you are a member of a couple, you can both receive this payment if you each qualify in your own right.

Dependent child

If you are between 16 and 21 years of age inclusive, your eligibility is determined on whether you are considered a dependent child. Your income, personal circumstances and whether you are wholly or substantially dependent on anyone, such as an adult who has legal responsibility for your day to day care or welfare and provides financial assistance, will be considered.

If you are considered independent your maximum rate of payment will be determined by your accommodation and personal circumstances.

Australian residency requirements

An Australian resident is a person who resides in Australia and is either:

You must continue to meet residency requirements for the duration of the payment.

Reporting requirements

If you are eligible for this payment you will need to report your income and any changes each fortnight in order to receive your payment.

What information do I need to provide?

If you have never been a Centrelink customer you may need to provide with your claim, one document showing Proof of Birth or Proof of Arrival in Australia, or any other approved documents that add up to the value of 50 points, for example, driver’s licence (40 points), bank card/statement (40 points), Medicare card (20 points).

You will also need to provide evidence supporting the claimed loss of income. For example, pay slips from an employer, bank statements showing previous bank deposits from an employer, a letter from the employer, profit and loss statements, income tax returns, or other account documents identifying cash flow.

If you cannot provide this immediately, you should still lodge a claim without delay and provide supporting documents to us within 28 days. If you have difficulty obtaining this information, please contact us on 180 22 66.

Your responsibilities

It is your responsibility to decide if you wish to apply for this payment and to make the application, having regard to your particular circumstances. It is also your responsibility to ensure that the information you provide in your claim is true and correct. 

If you are receiving a Family Tax Benefit, or have a current Child Support assessment in place, you should update your income (estimate).

You should consider your tax obligations as this payment is taxable.

Payment rates

The maximum payment rate is the equivalent of Newstart or Youth Allowance, based on your circumstances. Your rate of payment will be affected by your income prior to and following the disaster.

As at 20 September 2017 - Aged 22 years and over Maximum rate per fortnight
Single, no children $538.80
Single, with a dependent child or children $582.80
Partnered (each) $486.50
As at 1 January 2017 - Aged 16 - 21 years Maximum rate per fortnight
Single, under 18, no children, at home $239.50
Single, over 18 years and under 22 years, no children, at home $288.10
Single, under 22 years, no children, required to live away from home $437.50
Single, with children $573.30
Partnered (each), no children $437.50
Partnered (each), with children $480.50

Claiming options

You can make a claim by phone, in person, by post or fax.

By phone:

  • call us on 180 22 66
  • to speak to us in languages other than English, call 131 202

In person, by post, or by fax:

Page last updated: 7 December 2017