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Practical steps to support your bushfire recovery

21 January 2020 Wesley Mission news

WM 29299 PracticalSupport Website 810x540If you’ve been affected by Australia’s bushfires and need financial support, counselling, clean-up assistance, new personal documents or housing support, this comprehensive list is a great place to start on your recovery journey.

Are you insured?

If you’re insured, talk to your insurance company as soon as possible about how to make a claim. Take photos or video of damage to your property and possessions as evidence for your claim. If you have clearance from your insurer and evidence for your claim, you can start cleaning up.

The Insurance Council of Australia can be contacted with any questions, complaints or concerns about insurance on 1800 734 621.

What if I’m not insured?

If you’re uninsured and have limited income, you may be eligible for a Disaster Relief Grant. Contact the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line on 1800 018 444.

Do you need cleaning assistance?

If your property is insured, please contact your insurer about clean-up.

If you are uninsured and your home has been damaged or destroyed, contact Public Works Advisory on 1800 88 55 39 to discuss the clean-up of your property. Public Works Advisory will arrange clean up of your residence and immediately adjacent outbuildings, including the removal of concrete slabs.

The Insurance Council of Australia can be contacted with any questions, complaints or concerns about insurance on 1800 734 621.

Am I eligible for a Disaster Relief Grant?

If you’re uninsured and have limited income, you may be eligible for a Disaster Relief Grant. Grants are available for eligible individuals and families whose homes and essential household contents have been damaged or destroyed by a natural disaster. To be eligible you must:

  • be a low-income earner and meet an income assets test
  • demonstrate that the affected home is your principal place of residence
  • not be covered by insurance
  • demonstrate that the damage was caused by the disaster
  • lodge the application within four months of the disaster occurring.

Contact the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line on 1800 018 444 to apply.

Am I eligible for a Disaster Recovery Payment?

A Disaster Recovery Payment is available for people severely affected by the New South Wales (NSW) bushfires.

This provides a one-off payment of $1000 per adult and $400 per child if you home was destroyed or severely damaged–including smoke damage.

Call 180 22 66 to apply.

Am I eligible for a Disaster Recovery Allowance?

The Disaster Recovery Allowance is available for people affected by the NSW bushfires. This provides short-term income support payment to assist those whose income has been affected as a direct result of the bushfires.

Call 180 22 66 to apply.

Am I eligible for a Small Business Grant?

Grants of up to $15,000 are available if your business has been directly affected by the bushfire crisis. Applications can be made to the Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593. Click here for eligibility criteria.

Am I eligible for a Primary Producer Grant?

Grants of up to $15,000 are available for bushfire affected primary producers. Applications can be made to the Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593. Click here for eligibility criteria.

Do you need personal documents replaced?

Service NSW can help replace many of your personal documents free of charge if they were damaged or destroyed. This includes birth certificates, marriage certificates, licences and number plates. For assistance, visit your nearest NSW Service centre or call 13 77 88.

Do you need housing assistance?

In NSW, social housing providers can provide support and assistance to people affected by bushfires.

Social housing providers in NSW can assist affected people with:

  • temporary accommodation: time-limited accommodation for people who are experiencing immediate homelessness
  • emergency temporary accommodation: short-term temporary housing for up to three months for clients in urgent need of housing because of a natural disaster (who would not normally be eligible for social housing)
  • Rentstart bond loan: an interest-free loan to assist eligible people pay a rental bond for tenancy
  • housing assistance: a range of housing assistance products and service (including the above)

During business hours: visit any social housing provider between 9 am–5 pm, Monday to Friday. A list of social housing providers are available online.

After hours: The Department of Communities and Justice Housing Contact Centre (HCC) operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They can assist people with temporary accommodation, general housing enquiries and applications for housing assistance. This service refers people to tenancy support and housing providers who are best placed to respond in your immediate area. In some areas that may include Wesley Homeless Services or Wesley Community Housing.

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Need animal welfare assistance?

Local Land Services is assisting with emergency fodder, stock water and assessment of animals impacted by the bushfires. Landholders are encouraged to call the Agricultural and Animal Hotline to request assistance or report any stock losses. You can call the Agricultural and Animal hotline on 1800 814 647.

Need legal assistance?

Legal Aid NSW lawyers can provide free legal advice and assistance to people affected by disasters on a range of issues including:

  • insurance policies
  • tenancy or employment
  • credit and debt issues.

Visit Legal Aid online or call 1800 801 529.

Free face-to-face support

The following free services are available to people affected by bushfires and drought:

Counselling support

Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 13 11 14 to speak to a Crisis Supporter.

Financial Counselling support

Wesley Financial Counselling is available in Taree, Port Macquarie, Newcastle and Tuggerah if you’re experiencing financial difficulty and need support managing your finances. To speak with a Wesley Financial Counsellor, call 1300 827 638.