New Phone Support Line for Older Australians and their Families

Australia has changed a lot for Older Australians. Many new challenges have arisen, and coronavirus – or COVID 19 – is causing fear and confusion within the community. The Older Person’s COVID-19 Support Line has now commenced supported by funding from the Australian Government. Older Australians, their friends, relatives and supporters can call 1800 171 866 for any information or services they need.

Senior Australians, their families and carers can FREECALL 1800 171 866 if they:

  • would like to talk with someone about what COVID-19 means for them or a loved one
  • are feeling lonely or distressed or are worried about a loved one feeling the same
  • are caring for a someone and need some information or a listening ear about what COVID-19 means for your circumstances
  • are worried about what COVID-19 means for their usual aged care service
  • are worried about a friend or family member living with dementia.

New Disability Information Helpline

As part of the new government funding there is now a Disability Information Helpline to support people with disabilities in relation to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

To access the service, you can call 1800 643 787 (free).

If you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment, you can also call the National Relay Service on 133677.

The helpline is available Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm (AEST) and Saturday and Sunday 9am to 7pm (AEST). It is not available on national public holidays.

For more information see Information and referrals for people with disability and their supporters about coronavirus (COVID-19).


Why getting your flu shot in April 2020 will help in the fight against COVID-19

Australians are being urged to get their flu vaccination this April to reduce the risk of a dangerous double-up of seasonal influenza and coronavirus (COVID-19). More than 13 million doses of the seasonal flu vaccine have been secured by the Australian Government for the National Immunisation Program (NIP) Schedule and the private market — double the number of vaccines secured in 2019. It expects to provide more free flu shots this year than in any previous year. Read more at: Health Direct Australia.


ACT Government COVID-19

The ACT Government has launched a ACT local website to inform Canberrans about COVID-19. The website contains information about the current status and latest updates including:

For more information, please access the ACT Government COVID-19 page.


Centrelink

If you already receive Newstart or another payment, you do not need to contact Centrelink to get the extra support announced.

If you are still getting paid, still have income coming in, if you can wait a few days, that may help. If you don’t need payments urgently, wait a day or two to connect.

For people who have lost their jobs and need to apply for a payment urgently:

Online: If you have digital access, try applying online through MyGov. Try again later if you cannot get through.

The Government has enacted Intent to Claim processes so people don’t have to lodge a full claim immediately, and they will be back paid to the day they lodged their intent to claim. In other words, people won’t miss out on income support because of delays to lodge a completed claim.

Phone: We know many people do not have online access. The phone number for Jobseeker Payment is 132 850.

In person: If you do decide to line up, please practice social distancing.


Australian Government – Department of Health

The Australian Government has launched a national campaign to inform Australians about COVID-19. The campaign includes four videos with captions and is aimed at stopping the spread of the Coronavirus:
– Good Hygiene Starts Here
– Help Stop the Spread
– Stay Informed
– Recent Traveller

Simple advice to help stop the spread:

  • stay 1.5 meters from others
  • follow rules on limiting social gatherings
  • wash hands
  • stay home if sick

Official Government ‘Coronavirus App’, download it here.

Appropriate use of disinfectants: information for consumers, health professionals and healthcare facilities


HealthDirect

Healthdirect Australia has worked with the Department of Health to establish the Coronavirus Health Information Line (1800 020 080) to provide non-clinical information about COVID-19.

The Healthdirect helpline (1800 022 222) is triaging people calling with symptoms.

Both lines are receiving unprecedented call volumes, resulting in extended wait times for some callers, but they are expanding these helplines to be able to provide timely advice and support to everyone who needs it.

As an alternative to the helplines, answers to many questions are available on the healthdirect website coronavirus hub.

HealthDirect Symptom Checker for COVID-19 can also provide self-guided triage to find out what to do next.


Australian Tax Office

Please find links here for assistance related to COVID-19 support for Australians from the ATO.

From MoneySmart.gov.au some advice related to losing work. How to cope to being unexpectedly unemployed.


National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Update

The NDIA is making some changes to processes for participants and providers in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Find out the latest advice at https://www.ndis.gov.au/coronavirus/latest-advice-ndis

The NDIA has now released Coronavirus (COVID-19) information in languages other than English.

These include: Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Filipino (Tagalog), French, Greek, Hindi, Italian, Macedonian, Samoan, Spanish and Vietnamese

This information can be found at https://www.ndis.gov.au/coronavirus/information-languages

If you require any assistance to support people with a disability who are of a cultural and linguistically diverse (CALD) background please do not hesitate to reach out to Tara Barrett on Tara.Barrett@ndis.gov.au.  Tara is Feros Care’s Community Development Co-ordinators working with CALD communities.  Feros Care is the NDIS LAC community partner delivering the NDIS in the ACT.


1 800 RESPECT

1800RESPECT will continue to operate during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) health emergency, and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  For those in an unsafe environment, the pressures – financial, health and emotional and wellbeing – that have and will continue to come as a result of COVID-19, could increase the risk of violence and abuse. It’s critical that those impacted by domestic and family violence know that support is available.

In an emergency or if someone is in immediate danger, please call 000.  If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au.  The 1800RESPECT website also contains information about the types of violencehow to support people impacted by violence and abuse, and an accessible directory of local support services.

If a person does not feel safe to call 1800RESPECT over the phone, they can speak with counsellors via webchat. The counsellors are very experienced in how to sensitively handle contacts from those who are in the same house as the person using violence. The caller’s safety is the main priority.

People can also download trusted safety apps that are designed by experts from the iOS App and Google Play stores. A list is available on the 1800RESPECT website. Some examples include Daisy and Sunny. Daisy app provides support to those experiencing violence or abuse and can connect them to services in their local area. Sunny app provides support for women with disability who have experienced violence and abuse.


Australian Energy Regulator – Statement of Expectation

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on the Australian community. Many people are or will be affected by dramatic changes to their lives, businesses, income and working arrangements, and those of their friends, families and communities. Energy use and the ability to pay their bills may in turn be affected. Read the full statement here.

AER encourages you to stay informed about important AER developments by:
Subscribing to AER updates and media release; and following us on LinkedIn and Twitter.
If you have an enquiry, please contact:
Call us on 1300 585 165; or email us at AERInquiry@aer.gov.au.


Australia Post

Australia Post have launched a Pharmacy Home Delivery Service. To sign up to the service, or to see if you are eligible, please follow this link to complete a short survey.


Services Australia

Services Australia has information and services to help you if you’re affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) or looking for more details. Please visit their website for more details.


Medicare

Medicare to cover all telephone and video consultations with doctors and some other health practitioners – Telehealth announcement.

Stay informed – connect with the Government Coronavirus App

On your phone with WhatsApp, to join the WhatsApp channel – message +61 400 253 787, or go to http://aus.gov.au/whatsapp and send your mobile number,
or for a QR code go to https://web.whatsapp.com/.

On your tablet or phone, download the “Coronavirus Australia” government app in the Apple App Store or Google Play or use the official Australian Government chatbot, and type in #COVID.