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The Federal Government is allowing individuals financially impacted by coronavirus (COVID-19) to access up to $10,000 of their super from 1 July until 31 December 2020.

Download our fact sheet and watch the video for more details on temporary early access to super, other sources of income support and financial assistance.

 

Eligibility

Citizens and permanent residents

To apply for early release of your superannuation you must satisfy one or more of the following requirements:

  • you are unemployed;
  • you are eligible to receive a JobSeeker Payment, Youth Allowance for job seekers, Parenting Payment (which includes the single and partnered payments), special benefits or Farm Household Allowance; or
  • on or after 1 January 2020,
    • you were made redundant;
    • your working hours were reduced by 20 per cent (1/5th) or more; or
    • if you are a sole trader, your business was suspended or there was a reduction in your turnover of 20 per cent or more.

Temporary residents

Eligible temporary residents were only able to apply to access up to $10,000 of their super until 30 June 2020.

Temporary residents are not eligible to apply for a COVID-19 early release of super in the 2020/21 financial year. If your visa has expired and you have left Australia, you may be eligible for the Departing Australia superannuation payment (DASP).

How might this affect my retirement savings?


Your super is your savings for retirement, so the temporary early access to super option should be used as a last resort.

Before applying to access your super now, it’s important to make an informed decision and understand the long-term impact it may have on your retirement savings.

Analysis by Industry Super Australia shows that a 25-year-old who takes $20,000 from their super now could end up with over $95,696 less in their super account at retirement. The table below demonstrates how much you could lose from your retirement by accessing your super now.

Age Starting balance Super taken Difference at retirement
25 $20,000 $20,000 -$95,696
30 $40,000 $20,000 -$79,393
35 $60,000 $20,000 -$65,868
40 $79,000 $20,000 -$54,647
45 $95,000 $20,000 -$45,338
50 $109,000 $20,000 -$37,614

* Scenarios modelled by ISA Pty Ltd. See assumptions here.­­


Are there other options besides withdrawing my super?

Yes. The Federal Government is providing financial assistance to Australians to support them through the COVID-19 crisis.
This includes:

The Department of Social Services is also supporting individuals and families affected by COVID-19 through a range of measures. For more information click here.

Important considerations

Before making an application, it’s important to consider the following:

  • If you want to keep your First Super account open, you must have enough money in it to cover administration and investment fees.
  • If you have insurance cover, you need to leave enough money in your super account to pay insurance fees. If you have insufficient funds to cover this cost, your insurance will lapse.
  • If no contributions are received into your super account for 16 months, by law First Super would be required to cancel your insurance cover automatically. See our Insurance and inactive member accounts web page for more details.
  • If you provide false or misleading information you could face penalties of more than $12,000 for each false and misleading statement.

How to apply

Eligible members can apply through the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) via the myGov website. You can also find full details and submit an application through the “Apply now” link on the ATO’s COVID-19 early release of super web page.

Check your First Super balance on firstonline (member portal) before applying, as the super balance shown on your myGov account may be dated.

Important: you may only apply to access the money available in your First Super account. (For example, if you have a balance of $4,000 you may only apply to access that sum; you cannot apply for $10,000.)

Warning: If you provide false or misleading information you could face penalties of more than $12,000 for each false and misleading statement. See the ATO’s COVID-19 early release of super – integrity and compliance webpage for full details.

The ATO will assess your application and send the result to your myGov inbox within 4 days. If the email confirms an early release of superannuation has been approved, we will receive a notification as well (please note: there may be a delay of up to 24 hours with the ATO notifying super funds).

We aim to process payments to nominated bank accounts within 5 business days, unless there are circumstances which mean we need to contact you to check information.

If you don’t receive your payment after 5 business days please contact our Member Services Team on 1300 360 988 or by email.

 

Emergency, crisis and legal support

If you are experiencing financial hardship, there are free services to help you with food, housing, bills, and other welfare issues.

Moneysmart
The Moneysmart website has a dedicated page on COVID-19 and making financial decisions. It also has a section on urgent help with money and how to access free legal advice.

Banks and lenders
The major banks have outlined support measures for personal customers and businesses affected by the coronavirus health crisis, including repayment relief on home and business loans. We recommend that you contact your bank to find out the ways they can help you during this period of uncertainty, for example, with a temporary pause on your mortgage or loan repayments.

Government assistance
If you are renting, the Australian Government’s Rent Assistance may be available to you. Either speak to your rental agency or visit the Services Australia website to check your eligibility.

The government has also published an affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) online hub to share information and services around health, welfare and finances to help those impacted.

We’re here to help.

Before making an application, contact our Member Services Team on 1300 360 988 or by email to help you make an informed decision and understand the impact it may have on your super account at retirement.

FAQs

When can I apply to access my super early?

You will be able to apply for early access to your superannuation from 20 April 2020.

How do I apply?

If eligible, you can apply directly to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) through the myGov website. Individuals will also be able to make a manual request to the ATO by calling 13 10 20, if they can’t apply online.

You will need to certify that you meet the eligibility criteria. Once the ATO has processed your application, they will notify you of the outcome. The ATO will then instruct First Super to release your payment.

Will I pay any tax on the claim?

Individuals who access their super will not pay any tax on the amounts released, and the funds withdrawn will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.

How long will it take to process my early release of super payment once it has been approved by the ATO?

When the ATO approves your application, they will notify you and ​then First Super. We aim to process your payment and send it to your nominated bank account within 5 business days, unless there are circumstances which mean we need to contact you to check information.

If you don’t receive your payment after 5 business days please contact our Member Services Team on 1300 360 988 or by email.

In what other circumstances might my insurance with my First Super account be affected?

If no contributions are received into your super account for 16 months, by law First Super would be required to cancel your insurance cover automatically. We would write to you at 9, 12 and 15 months to inform you that your insurance cover is at risk due to your account being inactive (i.e not receiving a contribution or rollover). See our Insurance and inactive member accounts web page for more details.

What details do I need to provide to First Super?

You won’t need to provide First Super with any details as this process is managed by the ATO. Once your application is approved by the ATO, First Super will deposit your payment directly into your nominated bank account as soon as practicable.

If I don’t need all the funds I accessed early, can I pay back the excess? Would this impact my contribution caps?

Yes, you are free to recontribute any unused amounts to his superannuation in the future within the current contribution caps.

For more information on contribution caps visit our How super is taxed web page or read the ‘’Taxation of super’ section in our More About First Super booklet.

If I have super held by the ATO, can I claim this early release as well?

No. Any super held by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is not eligible under the COVID-19 early release of superannuation rules. You can find and transfer ATO-held super balances to your First Super account through the ‘My Transactions’ section of firstonline.

Visit our Find lost super and Roll in super web pages for more details.

For more information click here or contact the ATO on 13 10 20.

Can I claim a smaller amount now, then more later (in the current financial year) if I’m unsure how long my work will be affected?

No. You’re limited to a single claim to access up to $10,000 of your super before 1 July 2020 and a further single claim of up to $10,000 from 1 July 2020 until 24 September 2020.

Can I claim this early release as well as apply for a (normal) severe financial hardship payment in the same financial year if I am eligible for both?

Yes. You can apply for each COVID-19 early access that you’re eligible for as well as applying for the release of super under financial hardship grounds, if you meet those conditions. For more information visit firstsuper.com.au/access-your-super-early.

What if my super balance is less than $10,000?

We can only pay you money that you have in your First Super account. Check your First Super balance on firstonline (member portal) before applying, as the super balance shown on your myGov account may be dated 30 June 2019.

It’s important to remember that if you have insurance cover and you apply for your full account balance (up to $10,000), it is likely to result in the closure of your First Super account and any insurance you hold through your account will end

Do I need to be an Australian citizen or permanent resident to claim under this option?

If you’re a temporary resident in Australia, you won’t be eligible to apply for temporary early release of your superannuation. New Zealand residents who have super in Australia are also eligible.

This may be subject to change for temporary residents. Visit the Australian Taxation Office website to stay informed on changes to eligibility of the temporary early access to superannuation scheme.