Hundreds of people have attended Centrelink offices across the Hunter on Monday in a rush to apply for welfare payments.
Services Australia's MyGov website also crashed amid the morning rush as tens of thousands across the country sought information about how to apply.
Queues of people more than 100 metres long formed outside the Newcastle, Charlestown, Wallsend and Maitland Centrelink offices around the 8.30am opening time.
There was still long lines at those sites about midday and other Centrelink offices are understood to have been just as a busy.
Some of the region's main employment sectors have been decimated by the federal government's decision to shut a variety of non-essential services, including hotels, registered clubs and gyms.
Those out of work or who have had hours reduced can apply for Centrelink's JobSeeker payment, which has been increased to $1100 a fortnight as part of the government's stimulus packages.
The government is also allowing people on reduced incomes to withdraw up to $20,000 from their superannuation tax-free.
Two rounds of $750 payments will also be made to some welfare recipients, including cares and pensioners, in coming months.