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Essential services hardship assistance grant

The Essential Services Hardship Assistance (ESHA) grant helps people who have lost one or more essential services (i.e. electricity, gas, water or sewerage) at their home for more than 5 consecutive days due to a disaster.

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What the ESHA is

You can apply for $150 per person, up to $750 for a family of 5 or more, to assist with your immediate essential needs following loss of essential service/s at your home for more than 5 consecutive days.

This grant isn’t income or asset tested.

Who can apply

You must meet all these requirements:

  • your principal place of residence (main home) must be in the eligible disaster area
  • you were living in your principal place of residence (which includes a caravan or boat) when the disaster happened
  • your home lost one or more essential services* for more than 5 consecutive days as a result of the disaster
  • the utility service provider/s confirmed that you lost these essential services
  • you are suffering personal hardship because you lost essential services.

People who aren’t Australian citizens can also apply for this grant.

*Essential services include:

  • electricity – including other power sources like generators, turbine power  or solar power, that are the only source of power to your home.
  • gas – including bottled gas, if your home only uses gas (if you also have electricity connected, then loss of gas alone does not qualify for assistance).
  • water – including water tanks if your home only uses tank water and doesn’t have another water source.
  • sewerage – including septic tanks, only if you can’t stay in the home because of health and safety issues.

What isn’t covered

You can’t apply:

  • for loss of power or essential services to your home for 5 consecutive days or less
  • if you were isolated within your property (unless you are experiencing hardship as a direct result of the event)
  • for business loss or damage including compensation for loss of income
  • for farm or property damage (excluding principal place of residence)
  • to replace loss of tools of trade.

How to apply

You can apply for this grant either:

What you need to apply

To complete your application, you will need to provide evidence of your identity and place of residence. This can be:

  • Driver licence or other photo identification.
  • Medicare card showing members of your family that you are applying for.
  • A recent rates notice, electricity or other account showing your name and current address, or other evidence stating your name and current address, i.e. rent invoices or similar.

If you don’t have this information, you will need to provide other evidence that shows your name, date of birth and address.

For help with your application, call the Community Recovery Hotline on 1800 173 349 or visit a Community Recovery Hub.

How to replace lost or destroyed documents.

This grant can be paid by either:

  • Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) to the bank account you listed in your application. The timing depends on when your bank processes the payment.
  • If available, you can also collect a prepaid Recovery Debit Card from a Community Recovery Hub, which can be used at any shops with EFTPOS facilities and all ATMs.

More information