Early release of super

In 2020, the Federal Government temporarily changed the conditions relating to early release conditions of super. If you were experiencing financial difficulties as a result of COVID-19 you may have been eligible to access up to $10,000 of your super in 2019/20 and a further $10,000 in 2020/21. 

The COVID-19 early release of super program closed on 31 December 2020.

If you submitted an application on or before 31 December and your application has been approved by the ATO, we'll be making your payment as soon as possible in January. Public holidays over the Christmas and new year period may affect the timing of your payment.

You'll find more details about the early release program below. For general updates about how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting your super, visit our COVID-19 hub.

Security lock

Warning – Keep your details and your super safe

Criminals are taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic. Beware of scams related to COVID-19, especially early release of super. Read more.

Accessing your super 

Although you can no longer apply to access your super under the early release changes from 2020, you may be able to access your super in some instances. 

Generally, you’re able to access your superannuation benefit if you satisfy a specific requirement, including:

  • You reach your preservation age and retire
  • You turn 65 
  • You have been given approval by the Government on compassionate grounds
  • You are in severe financial hardship, or
  • You meet other criteria set by the Government.

Read more about accessing your super or call us on 1300 360 149 and request a Claim your super form.

If you’re nearing retirement age and want to know more about your options, check out our Retirement Guide.

 

Key facts about the early release of super changes

  • If you were eligible you could apply to withdraw up to $10,000 from your super in the 2019/20 and a further $10,000 in the 2020/21 financial years (up to 31 December 2020).
     
  • Applications were open between 1 July 2020 and 31 December 2020 for the 2020/21 financial year. (Applications for the 2019/20 financial year closed on 30 June 2020.)
     
  • Applications needed to be made through your myGov account.
     
  • The ATO advised us if your application was successful within 4 business days. We then transferred your payment to the bank account you'd nominated through myGov as soon as possible.
     
  • Payments are tax-free and did not affect Centrelink or Veterans' Affairs payments.
     
  • More information can be found in our FAQs below, on the ATO website and at Moneysmart.
     
  • Consider all your options before making any decisions.
     
  • You might like to speak to a financial planner or financial counsellor.
  • Public holidays over the Christmas and new year period may affect the timing of your payment.

 

To help people access emergency funds, the government temporarily changed the rules around accessing super. In a nutshell, if eligible you could access up to $10,000 from your super in 2019/20 and a further $10,000 in 2020/21 (up to 31 December 2020) . See our FAQs for more details. 

Many members asked us if this is a good idea. Super is a long-term savings plan to set you up for a comfortable retirement, giving you an income when you're no longer earning one. While we understand withdrawing some of your super will help if you’re struggling right now, you need to consider the potential impacts of doing this, so you can make an informed decision in your best interests.

Before you do anything, consider the long-term consequences

If you’re 25 years old you could lose up to $95,696* in super savings by the time you retire, if you withdraw $20,000 now. Why? Because your $20,000 invested in super will grow over time, but if you take it out now, you’ll miss out on the compound interest and long-term growth. If you’re 35, it could be $65,868* you miss out on by the time you’re 67. The table below shows the impact on your retirement savings depending on how old you are now.

The difference $20,000 can make to your retirement

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

Source: https://www.industrysuper.com/campaigns/coronavirus-and-your-super/ Accessed 07/05/20. * Scenarios modelled by ISA Pty Ltd. See assumptions here.

We understand these are tough times

If you have serious, immediate financial needs and you need money to put food on the table, planning for retirement (that could still be 20 or 30 years away) probably isn’t your top priority right now. We get it. We wholeheartedly support this government initiative for those who need it. It’s important to consider all your options first and what’s best for you, not just for today, but tomorrow too. Our priority is, as always, our members and what’s in their best interests over the long term.

Need money now? You might have more options than you realise

There are several relief measures available to you if you’re experiencing financial difficulty.

  • Find out more about government assistance here.
     
  • Utility providers (gas, electricity and water etc…) may also help by offering payment plans and extensions, depending on your circumstances. You’ll need to speak to your providers individually.
     
  • You could also check with your health insurer if they are offering any financial hardship support.
     
  • Do a mini-budget to work out what you're spending right now. It could be a lot less than usual.

Make sure you consider all your options. This pandemic and its effects might last a few years, but hopefully you’ll get to enjoy your retirement for a few decades.

What else to consider

  • How you could build your retirement savings back up later: While you might need the money right now, you could consider contributing extra money into your super once you start working again and get back on your feet. That way you can continue to grow your super and make up for any amount you withdraw now. Also consider, if you’re 40 years old and you add an additional $20,000 to your super, this could result in $54,647* more super by the time you reach 67. However, there are annual limits on the amount you can contribute to super, referred to as ‘caps’. If you exceed your contribution cap you may end up paying additional tax. Find out more.
  • Your death, TPD and income protection insurance cover: Consider how taking out some or all of your super may affect your insurance cover (if applicable). If you want to keep your cover, you’ll need to ensure that your account stays open and you’ll have enough money remaining in your account to pay your insurance fees. You can check how much cover you have in MemberOnline or by contacting us. Read more about how your cover may be affected on our Covid-19 hub

 

Scams via SMS, email and phone
There are reports of callers pretending to be from the ATO, ASIC or myGov trying to steal your personal details and your super. Beware of anyone who calls and offers to help you set up your myGov account or access your super. If someone calls and says they are from a government department like myGov or the ATO, or a financial institution like us or your bank, hang up and call the organisation directly on the number you find independently on their official website or your last statement.

We’ll contact you if you’ve asked for a call from us or been in contact with us to submit a request. However, if you receive a cold call from someone claiming to be from CareSuper, ask for their details and let them know you’ll call back to confirm their identity. Then call us on 1300 360 149.

Messages and emails that look legitimate but aren’t, have also been circulating. Don’t click on any links or attachments sent via SMS or email and don’t provide your personal details. In a recent example, scammers used fake Coles and Woolworths messages to offer free vouchers if you provided your details. If in doubt, contact the organisation directly via their official website or phone number.

Check your myGov account to see if any unexpected applications for early release of super or financial relief have been made fraudulently on your behalf. Also check your contact details have not been changed (by someone else). Remember, if you receive any notification about an early release application that you have not made, contact us immediately.
Eligibility
What was the change to early access of super?

Recognising the significant financial impact of COVID-19 on individuals, the Federal Government made a temporary change to early release conditions of super.

If you were experiencing financial difficulties as a result of COVID-19 you may have been eligible to access up to $10,000 of your super in 2019/20 and a further $10,000 in 2020/21 (up to 31 December 2020). 

Who was eligible to claim for early release of super?

To apply for early release of your super, one or more of the below eligibility criteria needed to apply to you:

  • You were unemployed; or
  • You were eligible to receive a JobSeeker payment, Youth Allowance for job seekers (unless you were undertaking full time study or were a new apprentice), Parenting Payment (including the single and partnered payments), Special Benefit or Farm Household Allowance; or
  • On or after 1 January 2020: you were made redundant; or your working hours were reduced by 20 per cent or more (including to zero); or if you were a sole trader — your business was suspended, or there was a reduction in your turnover of 20 per cent or more (partners in a partnership were not eligible unless the partner satisfied any other of the eligibility criteria).

Temporary residents were not eligible to apply in the 2020/21 financial year.

For more information visit the ATO website.

 

I'm a temporary resident. Did I need to be an Australian citizen or permanent resident to claim under this option?

The ATO confirmed that temporary residents were not eligible to apply in the 2020/21 financial year.

Australian citizens and permanent residents were eligible to apply for the scheme.  

New Zealand citizens who had super in Australia were also eligible.

 

 

Will the ATO be applying penalties for ineligible applications?

Yes. Don’t risk penalties – the ATO’s cracking down.

The ATO has announced how it will be detecting ineligible applications, and the penalties that will apply to anyone who deliberately exploits the system. 

Applying for a payment
How to apply

Applications are now closed.

What did I need to provide?

The ATO notified us directly within 48 hours if your application was successful and if you were eligible for a payment.

Generally, you didn't need to provide us with any other details. If you applied for a second early release claim and you changed your bank or personal details since your first claim, we may need to ask you for ID. 

Once your application was approved, we deposited your payment directly into your bank account as soon as possible. There were some longer timeframes from 20 December 2020.

How long did the process take?

The ATO aimed to reach a decision on applications within 4 business days. Once the ATO reached a determination, they notified you in your myGov inbox and may also have sent you a text message. They also let CareSuper know to make your payment.

CareSuper then aimed to process the payment within 5 business days. It may have taken a little longer to appear in your bank account, depending on your financial institutions processing times. Public holidays over the Christmas and new year period may affect the timing of your payment.

If you applied for a second early release claim and you changed your bank or personal details since your first claim or if the details we had recorded for you didn't match the details we received from the ATO, we’ll need some additional info from you before we can make your payment. 

Why is my account balance in myGov different to my account balance in MemberOnline?

The balance shown in MemberOnline is the best indication of your account balance with CareSuper. The ATO’s data typically showed your account balance as at 30 June 2020, and the value of your account would have changed daily since then. We explained more about how market volatility affected our members’ account balances on our COVID-19 hub.

What is CareSuper’s ABN?

You’ll need the CareSuper fund ABN for your application. It’s 98 172 275 725.

If you need our USI, it's CAR0100AU. There’s more information on our ID numbers page.

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

We can only pay you money you had in your CareSuper account. Check your account balance online so you know how much super you have with us. If you had an account with another fund(s), and your CareSuper balance wasn’t enough to cover what you needed, you could have elected for up to five of your other fund(s) to pay you too. This needed to be done in one application.  

If you had insurance with us and you applied for your full account balance, we closed your account and you lost any insurance cover you had with CareSuper.

What’s the difference between early release types?

The early access to super payment announced as part of the Government’s response to COVID-19 was in addition to existing early release options such as severe financial hardship and compassionate grounds. You may be eligible to claim under more than one release type but will need to separately meet the eligibility criteria of each.

For more information on other release options, visit accessing your super.

What happens if someone makes a false declaration?

The ATO has been verifying all applications against government databases to make sure they’re accurate.

Any false applications will be identified (even after the fact), and penalties will apply to anyone who makes a fraudulent request.

Can I apply to access money from my lost or unclaimed super held at the ATO?

No. You can only apply to access money held by a super fund – not lost or unclaimed super held by the ATO. If you have any questions about lost super, contact the ATO. Learn more about how to find and consolidate your super into CareSuper.

Can my withdrawal be paid from my investments in the Direct Investment option (DIO)?

No. We can only pay your withdrawal from the non-DIO part of your account. If there’s not enough money in your non-DIO investments to fund your payment and you want to proceed with your withdrawal, you’ll need to decide which of your DIO investments to sell down and transfer to non-DIO assets to make up the difference.

Selling your investments and allowing time for trades to settle will delay your payment, as we cannot pay you until this process is complete.

If you applied to access your super and you were invested in the DIO, you need to check if you have enough funds in your non-DIO investments. View your latest balance by logging in to MemberOnline then click through to your DIO account from ‘My investments’.

If you need to close your DIO account, the Exiting the Direct Investment option fact sheet outlines the steps you’ll need to follow.

Once you’ve applied to the ATO
The ATO approved my request. When will CareSuper be making my payment?

Once the ATO notifies you that they have approved your application to access your super, CareSuper processes your payment into the bank account you provided to the ATO as quickly as we can. We aim to make your payment within five business days. It may take longer to reach your bank account depending on your bank. Public holidays over the Christmas and new year period may affect the timing of your payment. 
 
If the details we have on file for you don’t match the ATO’s records or if you applied for a second early release claim and you’ve changed your bank or personal details since your first claim, we’ll need some additional info from you before we can make your payment. We know providing this additional info is frustrating, but it’s an important way we can make sure we're sending your money to the right place.  
 
We'll let you know what you'll need to provide when we speak with you. 
 
Once we process your payment, we’ll send you written confirmation. You’ll be able to view the withdrawal and your updated account balance in MemberOnline. If you withdraw your full account balance, we'll let you know when we close your account. 

It’s been more than five business days and I still haven’t received my funds. What’s happening?

Public holidays over the Christmas and new year period may affect the timing of your payment.

If the details we had on file for you don’t match the ATO’s records or if you applied for a second early release claim and you changed your bank or personal details since your first claim, we’ll need some additional info from you before we can make your payment.

We'll let you know what you'll need to provide when we speak with you.

 

Why do I need to confirm my bank details or provide CareSuper with additional information?

Unfortunately, there have been instances of fraudulent payments across the super industry.

As a prevention against fraud, when members' details don't match what we received from the ATO or when there's been a change of bank account/personal details, we're checking with them to confirm they've requested a payment.

That's why we may ask you for extra information before processing your payment. We know providing this additional information can be frustrating - but it's a key way we can make sure we're sending your money to the right place.

To keep your request moving as fast as possible, and to avoid the hassle of having to certify printed documents and post them into us, we’re asking members to send their information electronically. 

Which bank account is my payment being made to?

We’ll be paying your withdrawal into the bank account you provided to the ATO. If you made a mistake and need to change your bank details, please contact us immediately. We’ll need you to provide additional documentation before we can update your bank account, which will delay your payment.

If you’re applying for a second early release claim and you’ve changed your bank details since your first claim, we may need you to provide some additional information

Can I reduce my payment amount?

If you would like to reduce the amount you requested, call us on 1300 360 149. We may be able to help you depending on the stage your application is at.

I want to cancel my original request to the ATO. How can I do that?

Depending on where your application is at you may be able to cancel your payment. Please call us on 1300 360 149 as soon as you can. Please note you will not be able to make another request if you cancel your ATO approved payment.

Why was my payment amount different to the amount I requested?

If you received less than you requested, it could be because your account balance with us was less than the amount you asked for. We can only pay you the money that was in your account at the time you applied. If you still have an account with us, you can check your latest balance in MemberOnline.

I received a notification from the ATO that my payment has been approved – but I didn’t request a payment. What should I do?

If you did not make a request to the ATO to access your super, call us on 1300 360 149 immediately and contact the ATO to advise your myGov account may have been compromised.

Which investment option was my payment deducted from?

We made your payment in proportion from your investment options. If you were only invested in one option, your entire payment came from that option. This does not include any investment in the Direct Investment option.

If you were invested in two options, we took money from those options in the same proportion that you held them. So if you had 60% of your super in the Balanced option, and 40% in the Fixed Interest option, we drew 60% of your payment from the Balanced option and 40% from the Fixed Interest option.

General questions
Should I apply for early release of my super?

Accessing your super early is a big decision, and it’s one you don’t have to make on your own. If you want a hand to figure out whether you’ll need to access your super, how much to take and the best time to make another withdrawal, speaking to a Financial Planner can help.

Financial advice over the phone is included as part of your membership, at no extra cost.* Find out more and book a callback

Taking money out of super now might affect how much you end up with when you retire. It’s also important to keep in mind that if you have insurance with us and you apply for your full account balance, we’ll close your account and you’ll lose any insurance cover you have with CareSuper.

*Financial advice obtained over the phone or through MemberOnline is provided by Mercer Financial Advice (Australia) Pty Ltd (MFAAPL) ABN 76 153 168 293, Australian Financial Services Licence #411766

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

Contributions back to your super account would be subject to current contribution caps.

Did CareSuper charge me any fees to access my super?

CareSuper doesn’t charge any fees for members who are withdrawing money from their account. Find out more about what it costs to be a CareSuper member

Will I pay any tax on the claim?

The Federal Government announced tax did not apply to the temporary early release payment type.