Personal Hardship Assistance Program

This program provides financial assistance to alleviate the personal hardship and distress suffered by eligible Victorians, as a result of an emergency.

This assistance is not intended to replace insurance or other compensation for loss.

Emergency relief assistance

Emergency relief assistance is available for up to 7 days after an emergency event if you are unable to access or live in your home, because of the emergency.

Payments are intended to help in the immediate aftermath of the emergency with expenses incurred in meeting health, safety and wellbeing needs such as:

  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Medications
  • Accommodation.

Emergency relief prepaid card

Financial assistance entitlements can be paid to recipients by prepaid debit card.

Please sign your card immediately on receiving it. Your PIN (scratch the shaded area or peel back flap to reveal the number) and dollar value are provided with your card.

Please keep your card and PIN separate and secure.

A prepaid card can be used to make purchases or withdraw cash up to the card value.

The card can be used at:

  • Most merchants/suppliers, wherever payment by VISA prepaid is accepted
  • Westpac and affiliated (Bank of Melbourne, St George or Bank of South Australia) ATMs - no withdrawal fees apply
  • All other ATMs - a minimum $2 withdrawal fee applies per transaction
  • Over the counter only at Westpac branches.

A prepaid card is not a credit card. Once your limit has been reached the card has no further value. You should then destroy the card by cutting it into several pieces and dispose of it securely.

Dispute transactions on your prepaid card

Use the Prepaid card disputed transaction form (see 'Related resources') to advise us that you want to dispute a transaction on your prepaid card. 

When completing the form, please print all information and tick only one time, as instructed.

Use a new form to document each dispute and provide additional information on a separate, attached page.

Bring the completed form(s) to your local departmental office.  

This information will be disclosed to one or more external companies managing disputed transactions on our behalf.

Emergency re-establishment assistance

In some situations, the Victorian Government may also offer emergency re-establishment assistance payments. This payment is available if your home is uninhabitable for more than 7 days because of an emergency.

This assistance is income-tested and will help towards re-establishing you back in your own home as quickly as possible. Payments can be used to help towards:

  • Alternative accommodation
  • Removal of debris
  • Home repairs
  • Reconnection of essential services
  • Rebuilding and replacement of essential household contents.

The total maximum payment is $40,000 per household.

Other forms of assistance

In some circumstances, the Victorian or Australian Governments may offer other personal hardship assistance or support. Information will be available at relief centres.

Further information

For more information about the Personal Hardship Assistance Program, please contact the VicEmergency hotline in the first instance. They will refer your case to a Personal Hardship Assistance Program Officer in the department for an assessment interview.

Getting emergency financial assistance

VicEmergency hotline
1800 226 226
Emergency Management