Disaster Preparedness and Response Plan

In 2021/2022, SSRV commissioned a project to optimise our capability to respond to the social security needs of people affected by natural disasters. These disasters include bushfires, floods, storms, and yes, even pandemics.

Disasters can affect social security payments, often in ways that people don’t predict.

We know that disasters can profoundly impact people’s finances and their life circumstances, but being affected by a disaster may also lead to applications for new payments and may affect existing payments.

When someone is displaced and must relocate due to a disaster, difficult choices are often made about where to live. For example, you might move in with your partner or friend, only to discover that Centrelink makes an assessment about your relationship with your new housemate, which has affected your eligibility or rate of payment.

Or perhaps your very first interaction with the social security system comes in the aftermath of a disaster. For example, if the business you work for, or perhaps your own business, has to close, leaving you unemployed and in need of financial support.

SSRV recognise that disasters can quickly lead to complex situations, affecting multiple aspects of people lives, including confusion or trouble with social security payments.

After a disaster, persons affected might quickly require advice and guidance on social security law.

Our Disaster Preparedness and Response Plan will tackle this challenge from a range of perspectives, including:

1. Preparedness: what can we do differently to be ready to support people through the next disaster?

2. Collaboration: who can we work with to maximise our effectiveness?

3. Prevention: how can we raise community awareness of the financial challenges associated with disasters, and how the social security system works in these situations?

4. Responsiveness: what is our plan when disaster strikes?

Over the next six months we’ll be publishing a series of articles and posts under the banner of ‘Did You Know?’, as our way of raising community awareness about natural disasters and the social security complexities that arise after a disaster.

And, in the background, we’ll be working hard to ensure that we are best placed to respond to community need when disaster strikes.

Did you know?

  1. Natural disasters in Victoria
  2. If you are affected by disaster, you may be eligible for a payment from Centrelink
  3. Centrelink has many requirements of people who seek assistance
  4. Any Centrelink decision can be appealed
  5. Disasters can have a direct impact on Centrelink legal issues
  6. Disasters can cause or worsen disputes about eligibility for social security payments​

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