Where to Turn After a Natural Disaster

If you are affected by a natural disaster you could be in need of help. Maybe your insurance doesn’t cover you or you weren’t insured at all. Even if you are insured you could be eligible for financial help from the government. The government decides what assistance will be made available for each individual event. Here are a few ways the they might assist you.

Disaster Recovery Allowance (DRA)

If you are an employee, small business owner or farmer who has experienced a loss of income as a direct result of a natural disaster you may be eligible for Disaster Recovery Allowance. The government may opt to make this payment available following a major natural disaster. Eligibility criteria for this payment are set based on each event and are subject to income testing. The amount provided is equivalent to Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance (depending on the individual’s circumstances) for up to 13 weeks. To find out if you’re eligible or to claim the Disaster Recovery Allowance call the Department of Human Services on 180 22 66

Disaster Relief Grant

The government may also choose to make Disaster Relief Grants available. These are one off payments toward replacing essential household items and structural repairs. To be eligible you must meet certain criteria. These include an income and asset test and that you are not covered by insurance. You must also lodge an application within 4 months of the event. These grants are available in NSW through the NSW Ministry for Police & Emergency Services. If you want to apply for a grant call Disaster Welfare Services on 1800 018 444

Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP)

This is a one off payment from the government given to eligible persons affected by a declared natural disaster. You can claim for yourself and any dependent children. The amount and availability of this payment is determined for each event. Eligibility criteria include:

  •   You are an Australian resident
  •   You are 16 years or older (or receiving a social security payment)
  •   You have experienced one or more of the following:
    •          You have been seriously injured
    •          You are an immediate family member of an Australian who is killed
    •          Your principal place of residence has been destroyed or sustained major damage
    •          You are the principal carer of a dependent child who has suffered any of the above
You can claim AFDRP online through the Department of Human Services (register here) or by calling 180 22 66


Help for Your Business

The government can also provide assistance to businesses who are directly affected by a natural disaster. See this article for details.


The information in this document reflects our understanding of existing legislation, proposed legislation, rulings etc as at the date of issue. In some cases the information has been provided to us by third parties. While it is believed the information is accurate and reliable, this is not guaranteed in any way. Any advice in this publication is of a general nature only and has not been tailored to your personal circumstances. Please seek personal advice prior to acting on this information.