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.

Contact your local Council or attend a relief centre to find out about support services available to you.

Emergency relief assistance

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

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

  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Medications
  • Accommodation.

Emergency relief prepaid card

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

The PIN is under the scratch panel, on the back of the card. You will be advised the dollar value being provided on your card.

Please keep your card and PIN secure.

A prepaid card can be used to make purchases or withdraw cash up to a maximum of $1000 per day.

What your card can be used for

Make purchases at retail stores, wherever you see the eftpos brand or withdraw cash through ATM transactions by selecting 'savings' as the account type.

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.

Funds on the card expire on the expiry date printed on the back of the card.

Remember ATM providers may impose their own cash withdrawal limits and fees. Cardholder fees (where applicable) are subtracted from the card balance at the time of the transaction. Refer to the product disclosure statement for further details.

Emergency re-establishment assistance

In some situations, the Victorian Government may also offer emergency re-establishment assistance payments to eligible applicants. 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 $40,700 per household (as at December 2018).

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

The information on this page is specifically meant for people experiencing financial hardship because of an emergency or natural disaster such as:

  • Bushfire
  • Flood
  • Severe storm
  • Earthquake
  • House fire.

If you are in need of crisis accommodation, experiencing homelessness because of family violence or experiencing financial hardship for other reasons there are support services available to you. Please see our Families and Children page or our Housing page for more information.

If you are or you know someone who is in immediate danger, call the Police on triple zero (000).

Additional information about the Personal Hardship Assistance Program is available through your major departmental offices emergency management teams or via the attached documents in related resources.

Getting emergency financial assistance

VicEmergency hotline
1800 226 226