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Individuals affected by coronavirus can apply to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in the 2020-21 financial year under a special Australian Government initiative (conditions apply).
People were also able to apply for access to up to $10,000 of their superannuation in the 2019-20 financial year under the early access to super scheme.
Originally people who wished to apply for early access this financial year needed to do so by 24 September 2020, but this has now been extended to 31 December 2020.
As a QSuper member, if your application is approved by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), we’ll be here to support you by getting the money to you as quickly as possible. And we’ll also be here for you later on, once you’re back at work, to help with strategies to catch back up again.
Generally speaking, there are limited ways in which you can access your super early.
The new early release measures are specifically to help people financially affected by the coronavirus situation, which is reflected in the eligibility criteria. It doesn’t change the existing ways to apply for access to your super.
Here’s a summary of what you need to know.
Q: When did the new early release start?
A: Applications via the ATO began on Monday, 20 April 2020. The application is made directly to the ATO who determine your eligibility to receive a payment.
You can only apply once per financial year, and that application can include your accounts from multiple super funds:
Q: Who’s eligible to apply?
A: To apply for early release, you must satisfy at least one of the following requirements if you are an Australian or New Zealand citizen or a permanent resident:
Q: I’m a temporary resident. Can I apply?
A: Eligible temporary residents will be able to apply to access up to $10,000 of their super before 1 July 2020.
To apply for early release as a temporary resident, you must satisfy at least one of the following requirements:
Q: How do I apply?
A: You can apply directly to the ATO through the myGov website. You’ll need to authenticate yourself through myGov and complete the application form in ATO Online. If you’re unable to access online services, you can call the ATO, confirm your identity, and complete the application over the phone.
Before you apply, log in to Member Online to check your super balance and make sure that your personal details, such as address, email and phone number, are up to date. If your details with the ATO don't match your details with QSuper, your application could be delayed or rejected.
If you've had multiple jobs, you may have more than one super fund, so you may wish to find and consolidate your super before you apply to withdraw it.1
Q: When will I know if my application is approved?
A: The ATO will let you know if your application is approved within two to three days in myGov (or they will send you physical mail if you choose this option when you make your application).
Q: How will I receive my money?
A: When you make your application, the ATO will ask for your bank account details. We will pay your money into that account.
Q: How long will it take to get my money?
A: Super funds must make sure the payment gets to you as soon as practicable.
While we expect to receive a high volume of transactions due to current market volatility and legislation changes, we can assure you we will be processing these payments as a priority.
How long it takes for you to get your money will also depend on how quickly the ATO and your bank can process your application.
Q: Can I change or cancel my application?
A: Once you've submitted your application, you can cancel it if you made an error or mistake. But you can't make any changes to your application once you've submitted it.
Q: I want to access my super early. Will QSuper have the money?
A: QSuper retains high levels of liquidity with 20% of the fund in cash or equivalent. We have been cash positive through the current market volatility. If you are a QSuper member who has been given approval by the ATO to access your super early, we can assure you your money will be there when you need it.
Q: There will be a lot of people withdrawing their super early. Will QSuper restrict withdrawals if the volume of withdrawals was too high?
A: QSuper has high levels of liquidity with 20% of the fund in cash or equivalent. There is no need or intent for us to restrict withdrawals as a result of the new early access rules. If you are a QSuper member who is eligible to draw on your super, we can assure you your money will be there when you want to access it.
Q: What are the tax implications?
A: People accessing their superannuation under this new coronavirus-related early release measure will not pay tax on amounts released and the money they withdraw will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.
Q: I have an existing early access hardship claim in progress / I have received an early access hardship claim in the last 12 months what does this mean for me?
A: Early access due to financial hardship or on compassionate grounds are different claim types and have different criteria to the newly announced and temporary rule. If you’re currently eligible to receive a hardship claim, you can submit your application as usual.
If you have already received a hardship payment, you are unable to request the tax deducted from your payment to be paid to you.
Q: How do I update my bank and other details to make sure I get my payment as soon as possible?
A: You can check that your contact details are up-to-date by logging in to Member Online.
You will be asked to provide the bank details for your payment as part of the ATO’s application process. You do not need to provide these details to QSuper
Q: Do you anticipate a large number of people drawing down $20,000 over the 2 years?
A: Applications for early release opened on the 20th April and in the first week of the scheme, superannuation trustees:
Of those total applications, in the first week of the scheme QSuper:
Despite QSuper being one of Australia’s largest superannuation funds, this represents less than 2% of applications across Australia to date.
Q: How do I find out more?
A: Read more about early access to your super or visit the ATO website.
1. Before you consolidate your super, you should check with your other super funds if there are any fees or tax implications, or loss of insurance or other benefits.
2. APRA Media release 4/5/20. ‘APRA publishes first data on temporary early release of superannuation scheme.’ Accessed 4/5/20.
3. QSuper data.
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