Hardship payment application
Special access to withdraw your own severance funds due to COVID-19
As of 23 September 2021, the potential to access your severance funds due to stand down events, while remaining employed, have increased.
- The number of hardship payments you may claim
- The time period between claims
We have negotiated with the ATO to provide up to three hardship payments per stand down event. These claims can be submitted two weeks apart, using the application form on this page.
To help counter the financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 Coronavirus, Protect has been granted approval by the Tax Office to make a hardship payment (stand down payment) from the severance account balance of some workers who have been stood down but remain employed. Where a worker is terminated and is unemployed, a termination or redundancy payment would apply.
Payments will be deducted from your severance account balance and rely on you having sufficient funds in your account.
1. How do I qualify?
To be eligible, workers must:
- Have a Protect severance account with sufficient funds
- Have been stood down by a Protect contributing employer without pay, but remain employed
- Not be relying on other forms of payment (annual leave or long service leave)
2 How much money can I access?
An ATO ruling has allowed Protect to provide:
- Up to three payments of up to $2,000 each, with two weeks between payments.
Protect withholds 32% tax from hardship payments. Additional tax may be payable by you when you lodge your tax return if your marginal tax rate is higher than this rate. Therefore, if you claim one hardship payment of $2,000 from your Protect account, the maximum you will receive in your bank account is $1,360 due to tax.
3. How do I apply?
Members will need to complete the hardship payment application form available on this page. Please note that none of the personal information submitted on the application form is stored on this website.
- Claims will be processed in three days
After processing you will receive a 'claim completed' confirmation email which will be sent to the email address you enter on the application form.
4. Making a second or third hardship application
If you remain employed and stood down without pay for two weeks, you may apply for a second hardship payment of up to $2,000. After another two week period you may then apply for a third payment if your employment status has not changed.
Please wait for the two week period to lapse before making additional applications. Unfortunately, applications submitted before the two weeks is up will be rejected by our system as we cannot accept predictions relating to employment status.
Hardship payment FAQs
Yes, taxed at 32%
Tax rates are set by the Australian Taxation Office. The only claims that are paid with a tax free component are those due to genuine redundancy. Protect withholds 32% tax from hardship payments. Additional tax may be payable by you when you lodge your tax return if your marginal tax rate is higher than this rate.
Because of the 32% tax, the maximum you would receive in your bank account from a $2,000 hardship payment request is $1,360.
- $2,000 claim - 32% tax ($640) = $1,360
- $1,500 claim - 32% tax ($480) = $1,020
- $1,000 claim - 32% tax ($320) = $680
- $500 claim - 32% tax ($160) = $340
The hardship payment is payable from your severance account. If you have a nil balance you will not be eligible.
You can claim any amount up to $2,000
Eligible employed members can make three applications to withdraw funds as hardship payments if they're stood down due to COVID-19. You may withdraw up to $2,000 each time with two weeks between claims.
Example 1 - $10,000 balance
A member with a significant balance may make a hardship payment application for the maximum amount possible of $2,000. If after two weeks they remain eligible because they are still employed, stood down and not receiving other forms of payment by their employer (excluding jobkeeper payments), they may apply for a second hardship payment. If eligible after another two week period, they may make a third claim.
Example 2 - $2,000 balance
An eligible member with a severance balance of $2,000 may make one hardship payment application. However, they would not have sufficient funds in their account to apply for a second payment.
Example 3 - $500 balance
Hardship payments can be made up to $2,000. Therefore an eligible member with a balance of $500 may make a hardship payment application for $500.
A Protect hardship payment has been promoted by some as a 'stand down' payment due to the fact that some members may become eligible once they are stood down without pay by their employer due to COVID-19.
Unemployed workers may claim termination or redundancy
Protect hardship payments have been granted by the Australian Taxation Office for employed workers to gain access to their severance account, in an effort to counter financial hardship caused by COVID-19. Where a worker is terminated and is unemployed, a termination or redundancy payment would apply.
For information on making a termination or redundancy claim, please visit our claim page.
You are still eligible if you receive jobkeeper payments
If you are still employed and only receiving the fortnightly $1,500 jobkeeper government subsidy from your employer with no other top up, you would be eligible to make a hardship payment claim through Protect because you are not receiving any other top up payments from your employer.
Employer benefits in addition to jobkeeper make you ineligible
If you are still employed and receiving jobkeeper payment from your employer in addition to them topping up your salary, you would not be eligible to make a hardship claim through Protect.
Hardship claims are not payable if you are receiving other benefits from your employer such as salary top up, annual leave, sick leave or long service leave from schemes such as Coinvest.