RATs to be accepted for COVID disaster payment claims as government tightens eligibility


But starting Jan. 18, payment will be in installments based on how many hours of work a person has lost or expects to lose during a seven-day isolation period.

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People who have lost or are expected to lose at least 20 hours of work will continue to be entitled to $ 750, while those who miss up to 19 hours of work will be able to claim $ 450.

Payment will not be available to people with available funds over $ 10,000.

In order to claim payment, a person will need to show proof of a positive RAT result from a testing clinic or healthcare professional, or confirmation that they have recorded a positive result from a test administered to home by the state health service.

Complaints can be made up to 14 days from the start of isolation through MyGov, or by calling 1800 22 66 if a person does not have access to online services.

It comes as parts of the country increasingly rely on RATs as the PCR testing network expands beyond its capacity.

RAT reporting mechanisms are already in place in Victoria and Tasmania. In these states, people who test positive with a RAT must personally notify health authorities, which allows their infection to be counted in the official tally of cases. After reporting a positive RAT, individuals will also become eligible to receive support for positive cases tested by PCR.

Other states appear poised to take similar steps in the near future.

It’s an evolving situation, but as of January 7, here’s how each state and territory uses TARs.


Victoria now treats positive RAT results in much the same way as PCRs.

As of Friday, anyone who receives a positive RAT is classified as a “probable” case of COVID-19 and must self-isolate for seven days and notify their contacts. They will then receive the same clinical and financial support as PCR-confirmed cases.

“In the eyes of the Department of Health, you have COVID,” Acting Director of Health Ben Cowie said on Thursday of those who tested positive from a RAT.

The reporting hotline (1 800 675 398) and online form are open, with more information available on the Victorian Government’s coronavirus reporting page.

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Testing commander Jeroen Weimar said the hotline and form would check for symptoms, whether people are a contact, the support they need, their immunization status and pre-existing conditions.

He says this will help deliver care faster, that the system has the capacity to process 50,000 reports per day, and that it can be scaled up if needed.


The Tasmanian government has switched to RATs as the primary method for diagnosing COVID-19 cases.

Prime Minister Peter Gutwein has said that people who test positive in a rapid test will be considered a case of COVID-19 and will be subject to the same requirements as a PCR positive case.

People who return a positive RAT must register their result, after which they will be able to access care and financial assistance.

Tasmanians can record their positive RAT result on the government’s online form or call Public Health (1 800 671 738). More information is available on the Government of Tasmania’s information page for positive cases.

Mr Gutwein said PCR tests will continue to be available for people who cannot access a RAT, cannot use one, have difficulty interpreting the result, or have been clinically invited to have a PCR test.

What are other jurisdictions doing?

NSW announced on Friday that a reporting system through Service NSW allowing people to register their positive RATs would be put in place next week.

“Currently, we are working with our partners in Service NSW to establish a mechanism so that you can actually record your positive RAT,” Kerry Chant, public health official, told reporters. “And then we’ll change the controls, so there is an isolation requirement like you have a positive PCR test and you get the same experience as if you did that.”

Dr Chant said people with symptoms that return a positive RAT result should treat themselves as a case of COVID-19. They should self-isolate for seven days and alert their close contacts, she said, and if family contact or someone else with high-risk exposure returns a positive RAT, they should also consider themselves. a case of COVID-19.

More information on the rapid tests can be found on the NSW Health website, although it has not yet been updated to reflect Friday’s RAT announcement at the time of writing.

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Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Friday the state was setting up a RAT reporting hotline and “a program that will be web-based in the not-so-distant future.” More information about rapid tests can be found on the Queensland Government website.

Western Australia said on Wednesday it would lift its ban on the use of RATs next week. The guidelines for their use still need to be detailed. The WA government’s coronavirus information is available on its coronavirus webpage.

The Northern Territory and South Australia have yet to announce major changes to their rapid testing regimes. You can find the latest advice on the Government of the Northern Territory and SA Health websites.

With additional reports by the AAP.


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