A special message re COVID-19 and Crisis Relief (updated 1 May 2020)
On Thursday 9 April, the Federal Government announced a $10m funding package for Support Act to provide crisis relief to artists, crew and music workers who have lost their jobs and income as a result of COVID-19, and to upscale the Support Act Wellbeing Helpline and associated training and education programs, and extend access to all members of the arts industry.
The announcement is in addition to the Government’s previous announcements regarding the Jobseeker Allowance, which is now available to permanent employees who are stood down or have lost their employment; sole traders, the self-employed, casual workers and contract workers; and the Jobkeeper payment, which will benefit business and sole traders. Additional information and resources regarding these benefits are available here.
We encourage all music workers who are facing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 crisis to apply to Centrelink for the Jobseeker payment or talk to their employer regarding the Jobkeeper payment.
This will allow Support Act to:
- focus its crisis support efforts on those artists, crew and music workers who are unable to access Government benefits due to eligibility or other issues
- provide crisis relief supplements to music workers who have been able to access Government benefits but are still facing financial hardship; and to
- continue to support those who are suffering financial hardship as a result of injury, ill-health or a mental health issue that is managed through a current Mental Health plan.
Applications can be made by completing the form below. We will endeavour to process applications within 21 days.
Please note that we are only able to process a finite number of applications each week. We may need to close the application process temporarily if we are overwhelmed. If this is the case we ask for your patience – we will be working as hard as we can to clear the backlog. Our goal is also to ensure that we are in a position to provide crisis relief to those who need it over the course of the current lockdown and into the recovery phase.
Please remember that you can only apply for crisis relief once and there are no extensions – so please consider the timing of your application carefully. Unfortunately, we do not provide assistance for businesses, so cannot provide funding for office or studio rent, purchase of musical equipment, or payment of staff.
We will review our crisis relief policy on an ongoing basis and update as required.
Our Wellbeing Helpline is available 24/7 by calling 1800 959 500.
* Disclaimer: Any information or resources published or given to you by or on behalf of Support Act is general information and does not constitute financial advice. Support Act does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information and such information is given without reference to your particular circumstances. Support Act is not a financial adviser and you should consider seeking independent legal, financial or taxation advice to check how the information relates to your unique situation.
Can you help me?
If you have worked professionally in the music industry or a music related business, and you are experiencing a crisis which means you can’t work, tell us, in confidence, about your situation. You can expect to be treated in a dignified and respectful way by our staff and we will always respect your privacy.
How we can help
We provide different kinds of support which may include financial help, advice and practical assistance. We contribute to funeral expenses. We also provide 24/7 professional telephone counselling through the Support Act Wellbeing Helpline.
We can also facilitate an online fundraising appeal through our Help A Mate service.
How does it work?
We have a simple application process for crisis relief or help with funeral costs which helps us assess your eligibility for our help. All the information you provide is treated in complete confidence. We aim to process applications within 7 days.
If you need help from our professional counselling service, just call the Wellbeing Helpline on 1800 959 500 – no application is needed and it is free.
How do I apply?
You can start your application for crisis relief or funeral assistance straight away. If you are unable to complete the application in one go, don’t worry – you can start your application, save the information and return to it later right where you left off.
We provide financial assistance when a person or family is in crisis. This situation may have arisen because of a serious illness, mental health problem, accident, injury or another unexpected problem.
Help with funerals
We understand that the cost of a funeral can often be an unexpected one that comes at a difficult time for those grieving. We contribute to funeral costs and do our best to help quickly and discretely. We will require next of kin details.
Help A Mate
We provide an online fundraising service which empowers family and friends to help those working in music when they need it most. If someone you know is affected by a serious crisis and you have their permission, apply to set up a Help A Mate appeal- it’s quick and easy to do.
Support Act Wellbeing Helpline
The Support Act Wellbeing Helpline is staffed by professional counsellors who offer expertise in all areas related to mental health. It is free, confidential and open to anyone in music 24/7, 365 days a year. Skype sessions can also be arranged for anyone touring overseas. Call 1800 859 500.
WHO WE HELP
Support Act can help you if you have worked professionally in the music industry (or a music related business) and are facing hardship due to illness, a mental health problem, an injury or some other crisis which impacts on your ability to work in music.
We help artists and music workers of all kinds. We will also consider applications from dependents of a deceased artist or music worker and prioritise assisting with expenses related to the care of children.
To qualify for financial help you will need to…
Tell us about the illness, injury or other crisis which has altered your circumstances and impacts on your ability to work in music.
Show that your household expenses exceed your household income. Your existing assets may be taken into consideration.
Demonstrate that you have worked in the music industry for at least 5 years.
Provide two professional referees who can verify your career.
Show that you are a permanent resident or citizen of Australia.
Important to know
If you decide to apply for a grant, we will ask you to provide information about your circumstances and it is necessary that we ask questions about your income, expenses and other personal matters. We understand that this can be confronting and we will only ask for information that is required to help us assess your eligibility for our help. We may also ask you to provide documents in support of your application.
You can contact us between 9.00am and 5.00pm Monday to Fridays. Support Act is a small charity and all staff are employed on a part time basis. For this reason, we may not be able to take your call or read your email immediately but we will get back to you as soon as we can. Whilst we aim to ensure this does not impact on the delivery of our service, we do ask you to bear this mind.
A special message re COVID-19 and Crisis Relief.
Please see our message above for the latest on applications related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
How the decision is made
Support Act abides by state and federal privacy laws and all of our staff are bound by a confidentiality agreement. This means that the information you provide will be treated confidentially at all times. No personal details of your application are disclosed to our board of directors or to anybody outside Support Act without your prior consent. If we provide counselling, the details of this remain between you and our social worker.
As a charity our resources are limited and we must follow strict criteria to decide who qualifies for our help. All decisions made are final and we reserve the right not to enter into correspondence about the outcome of a decision.
How the grant can be spent
If we offer a grant, we will pay your bills and/or debts directly to the creditors concerned. We cannot make the payment to you, or to another person. Whilst we must follow guidelines for how a Support Act grant can be spent, we aim to provide assistance tailored to your individual needs.
If you have received a grant from us before, we will consider another application (provided it is not within the same 12 month period) but we ask you to bear in mind that because our resources are limited we must prioritise new applications.
If for whatever reason all or part of the grant we award you is not expended within a 12 month period, we reserve the right to withdraw it.