Service SA - Apply for the Volunteer Firefighters’ Financial Support Program
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Apply for the Volunteer Firefighters’ Financial Support Program

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Purpose
Eligibility criteria
What can be claimed
How to apply
Information and record keeping
Contact for additional information

Purpose

The South Australian Government is administering the Commonwealth Government’s Volunteer Firefighters Financial Support Program, which is designed to help volunteer firefighters and SES volunteers who have dedicated considerable personal time to respond to this season’s extraordinary bushfires and incurred a financial loss of income as a result.

The program will provide payments to eligible volunteer firefighters and SES volunteers who are self-employed or employed by small or medium business, and have lost income.

Eligible volunteers will receive up to $6000 in compensation if they have volunteered as part of an operational response to bushfires or provided direct operational support to bushfire response activities, for more than 10 days between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2020.

A volunteer may only claim actual lost net (post-tax) income up to $200 per day without evidence or $300 per day with evidence, to a maximum of $6000.

Primary producers can claim $200 per day, regardless of their recent income history, in recognition of the ongoing impact the drought is having on rural incomes. They can claim up to the maximum of $300 per day, however will need evidence of actual income lost for claims above $200 per day.

The payments are tax-free, not means-tested and additional to any other forms of disaster support a volunteer may be eligible for.

This package is funded by the Australian Government, and administered by the South Australian Government, under Category D of the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

Eligibility criteria

A volunteer firefighter must meet the following criteria to receive the package:

  • Be a volunteer of a recognised firefighting organisation in South Australia
  • Lost income as a result of volunteering
  • Be self-employed or employed by a small or medium business (annual turnover of less than $50 million in the 2018-19 financial year)
  • Volunteered, as part of an operational response to bushfires or provide direct operational support to bushfire response activities for more than 10 calendar days between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2020. This can include reasonable travel and recovery time but does not include training or participating in non-emergency operations (e.g. hazard reduction burns).

Volunteers deployed interstate as part of an operational response to bushfires or providing direct operational support to bushfire response activities, can apply through this package.

What can be claimed

Eligible volunteers can claim for the net income they lost because they were volunteering and not working – over the 10 days minimum – between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2020. The 10 days do not need to be consecutive or for a single fire event.

Volunteers can only claim lost income after 10 calendar days – i.e, if a volunteer undertakes 15 calendar days of eligible volunteer service, they can claim for five days of lost income.

A volunteer may only claim actual lost net (post-tax) income up to $200 per day without evidence or up to $300 per day with evidence, up to a maximum of $6000.

Primary producers can claim $200 per day, regardless of their recent income history, in recognition of the ongoing impact the drought is having on rural incomes. They can claim up to the maximum of $300 per day, however will need evidence of actual income lost for claims above $200 per day.

Multiple claims can be made, up to the maximum of $6000. Applicants will need to fill out another claim form for any additional, eligible volunteer service up to 30 June 2020. Applications will not be accepted beyond 1 July 2020.

Payments will be made directly to applicants via electronic funds transfer.

How to apply

Applicants will need the following information to complete their application:

  • Volunteer ID number
  • Name of business or employer, ABN and contact details
  • Proof of identity (Acceptable documents include Drivers Licence, Proof of Age Card and Passport)
  • Bank details
  • Number of days volunteered since 1 July 2019
  • Location and dates of deployments since 1 July 2019
  • Evidence of your claim, including payslips or payment summaries if you are claiming between $200 and $300 per day (Payslips must be from the 2019-2020 financial year and payment summaries must be from the 2018-2019 financial year)

Electronic applications are preferred and will result in a faster assessment and payment.

Applicants can contact the Volunteer Services Branch, South Australian Fire and Emergency Services Commission on 1300 364 587 to discuss alternative application arrangements.

Information and record keeping

By submitting this application you are providing personal information. The use of the personal information is only for the function for which it has been transferred and complies with the limitations under the Information Privacy Principles.

Applicants consent to the South Australian Government conducting an audit of detail provided in the application to verify the information provided with the claim. In addition to requesting supporting evidence from applicants, the South Australian Government may confirm volunteer details and days claimed. Applicants also provide authorisation for the South Australian Government to contact their employer to confirm or verify information provided with the application.

Applicants must retain relevant documentary evidence (such as payslips and payment summaries) and provide on request for audit validation.

Penalties apply where false or misleading information is provided.

Applicants will be required to return funds if subsequent audit validation cannot confirm eligibility with Australian Government requirements.

Contact for additional information

Volunteer Services Branch, South Australia Fire and Emergency Services Commission

Email: vsb@safecom.sa.gov.au

Phone: 1300 364 587


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