Residents of the flood affected areas of Queensland and New South Wales are now faced with the tremendous challenge and expense of rebuilding their homes and the community they live in.
For some, not only have their homes suffered substantial flood damage, but also their place of business, which in many cases has resulted in a sudden loss of income.
While some flood victims may be eligible to make an insurance claim for what they have lost, many may not have that opportunity, or may find that their payout falls far short of what’s required.
Those who do find that they are uninsured, or underinsured, may be able to access financial assistance provided by the government.
Government support for flood-affected New South Wales residents
The Service NSW website has a Disaster Assistance Finder that allows you to input information on your personal circumstances to determine whether you may be eligible for certain types of financial assistance, including:
- Disaster Recovery Payment – $1,000 per eligible adult and $400 per eligible child if your home has been severely damaged or destroyed, or you've been seriously injured.
- Disaster Recovery Allowance – short-term income assistance (up to 13 weeks) if you've lost income as a direct result of the floods.
- Disaster Relief Grant – if your home or essential household items have been destroyed or damaged by natural disaster, you may be eligible for a disaster relief grant.
Government support for flood-affected Queensland residents
The Queensland Government website has a page dedicated to the south east Queensland rainfall and flooding in February 2022, which lists the financial assistance that is available for specified Queensland communities affected by recent rainfall and flooding.
- Emergency hardship assistance - if you are unable to meet immediate essential needs for food, clothing, medical supplies or temporary accommodation, you may be eligible to receive $180 per person up to $900 for a family of 5 or more. The grant is initially available to claim for 7 days following the activation of the grant in your area.
- Essential services hardship assistance grant - if you have experienced loss of one or more essential services for more than 5 days, you may be eligible to receive $150 per person, up to $750 for a family of 5 or more. The grant is initially available to claim for 7 days following the activation of the grant in your area.
- Essential household contents grant - if you are uninsured, or unable to claim insurance, grants of up to $1,765 for single adults and up to $5,300 for couples/families may be available for essential household contents, such as beds, linens, and whitegoods.
- Structural assistance grant - if you are uninsured, or unable to claim insurance, grants of up to $10,995 for single adults and up to $14,685 for couples/families may be available towards repairs to your home to make it secure and safe.
- Essential services safety and reconnection grant - if you are uninsured, or unable to claim insurance, you may be eligible for a grant that assists in reconnecting essential services that were damaged by the floods.
Banks offering relief to eligible customers
Flood-affected residents of New South Wales and Queensland may also be granted loan deferrals or reduced payment arrangements by their financial institution for home, personal and some business loans.
Commenting on the flood disasters this week, Australian Banking Association CEO Anna Bligh said: “Customers are encouraged to talk to their bank, as soon as they are able, and find out what assistance is available to get them through this tough time”.
“The message from banks is clear: don’t tough it out on your own, call your bank, they are ready to help,” Ms Bligh said.
Here’s what the big four banks are offering to their customers:
Offering a range of relief package measures, including:
- Short-term payment relief on home loans, credit cards, personal loans and some business loans (we may still charge interest during this period)
- Waiving fees for restructuring business loans
- Waiving fees for accessing term deposits early
Offering the following emergency support:
- Affected customers with home loans may apply to defer repayments for up to three months.
- Affected credit card customers may apply to defer repayments to their card for up to 90 days.
- Affected customers wishing to purchase replacement goods may apply for a personal loan at a discounted interest rate with no establishment fee.
- Waived interest rate adjustments for affected customers wishing to withdraw term deposits.
- Affected customers experiencing hardship may also be offered a halt on all interest accrual on unsecured credit products for a period of up to three months.
- Affected customers with business loans may apply to defer repayments for up to three months.
- Affected businesses with existing loans can request loan restructuring without incurring the usual bank establishment fees.
- Affected business customers with merchant facilities are eligible to receive assistance, including monthly terminal access fee waivers for up to three months.
Offering a range of emergency assistance options, including:
- Customised payment arrangements for your home loan, credit card, personal loan and some business loans.
- Waiving fees and charges
- Temporary overdrafts, additional loans or emergency credit limit increases (subject to credit approval)
- Waiving fees and notice periods for early access to Term Deposits
- For CommInsure customers, we are able to assist with emergency accommodation if your home has been damaged
- Loan restructuring for business customers and existing loans
Offering a range of financial relief measures, including:
- Credit card and personal loan relief
- Waiving the establishment fee for restructuring business facilities
- Concessional loans to customers seeking support to restructure existing facilities to assist in repairs, restocking and re-opening for business
- Reducing and moratorium on home and personal loan repayments
- NAB Assist tele-consults for customers
- Wellbeing support for colleagues and customers
To find out if you may be eligible, or to discover how your financial institution could assist you in this difficult time, consider visiting their website for more information or reaching out directly.