If you have been financially affected by COVID-19, you may be able to access some of your superannuation early. Eligible citizens and permanent residents of Australia or New Zealand can both:
- apply for up to $10,000 in 2019–20
- apply again for up to a further $10,000 in 2020–21.
Eligible temporary residents can apply once to access up to $10,000 of super in 2019–20. Temporary residents cannot apply after 30 June 2020.
Applications can be submitted online through myGov:
- until 30 June 2020 for the 2019–20 year
- between 1 July 2020 and 24 September 2020, for the 2020–21 year.
You will not need to pay tax on amounts released under COVID-19 early release of super and will not need to include these amounts in your tax return – amounts released under other compassionate grounds must be included
- Citizens and permanent residents of Australia and New Zealand
To be eligible, a citizen or permanent resident of Australia and New Zealand
must require the COVID-19 early release of super to assist them to deal with the adverse economic effects of COVID-19.
In addition, one of the following circumstances must apply:
- you are unemployed
- you are eligible to receive one of the following:
- jobseeker payment
- youth allowance for jobseekers (unless you are undertaking full-time study or are a new apprentice)
- parenting payment (which includes the single and partnered payments)
- special benefit
- farm household allowance
- on or after 1 January 2020 either:
- you were made redundant
- your working hours were reduced by 20% or more (including to zero)
- you were a sole trader and your business was suspended or there was a reduction in turnover of 20% or more (partners in a partnership are not eligible unless the partner satisfies any other of the eligibility).
- Temporary residents
Temporary residents can only apply for a COVID-19 early release of super in 2019-20. Applications close on 30 June 2020. To be eligible, temporary residents must require the COVID-19 early release of super to assist them to deal with the adverse economic effects of COVID-19.
In addition, they must be in one of the following circumstances:
- You hold a student visa that you have held for 12 months or more and you are unable to meet immediate living expenses.
- You are a temporary skilled work visa holder and still employed but unable to meet immediate living expenses.
- You are a temporary resident visa holder (excluding student or skilled worker visas) and you cannot meet immediate living expenses.
Temporary residents cannot be eligible for COVID-19 early release of super and the Departing Australia Super Payment (DASP) at the same time. COVID-19 early release of super eligibility requires temporary residents to be on a current valid visa; DASP is only available once their visa has expired and they have left Australia.
Assessing your eligibility
You do not need to attach evidence to support your application. However, you should keep records and documents to confirm your eligibility as we may ask you for this information. You can only submit one application for COVID-19 early release of super per financial year (temporary residents can only apply until 30 June 2020).
If you’re eligible and you want to access COVID-19 early release of super in the 2020-21 financial year, you need to apply in that financial year -between 1 July and 24 September- even if you have applied in 2019-20. Applications cannot be submitted after 24 September 2020.
You can apply for COVID-19 early release of super even if you have previously accessed your super early in other circumstances.
You can’t access your super early for a dependant. If your dependant is financially affected by COVD-19, they must apply themselves.
Edward’s employer temporarily closes her shop in late March 2020 following a downturn in trade due to COVID-19. Edward is stood down and applies for and receives $8,000 of his superannuation under COVID-19 early release of super in May 2020. By mid-June shops have reopened and Edward recommences work. When we contact Edward, he uses his payslips to show his work hours decreased by at least 20% from March to May. Edward’s eligibility is confirmed, and no further action is taken.
Audrey runs her own business as a sole trader in the fitness industry. Due to COVID-19, Audrey has a lot less work and she decides to temporarily shut down her business. Due to the financial impact, Audrey decides to apply for $7,000 from her super to help with immediate living expenses. When we contact Audrey to confirm her eligibility, she provides a link to her website and business bank records to show that her business had temporarily been suspended. Audrey is eligible for COVID-19 early release of super because her business temporarily ceased operating and she suffered a financial impact due to COVID-19.
Implications of accessing your super early
Accessing your super early will affect your super balance and may affect your future retirement income.
Withdrawing superannuation may also affect your:
- income protection insurance
- life and total permanent disability insurance cover
Insurance may not be available on accounts that have a low balance.
You should consider whether you need to seek financial advice before submitting your application for early release of super.
Before you apply
Before you start the application process, you should:
- set up your myGov account and link it to the ATO
- have your Australian bank account information available; you will need this to complete your application. Only Australian bank accounts are accepted
- check your super balance; your actual account balance may be higher or lower than that shown in ATO online or in the early release application form.
There are several ways you can check your super balance:
Check your total superannuation balance in ATO online services. There will be an ‘as at’ or ‘effective’ date for the balance. In most cases, it will be 30 June 2019 as funds are only required to report to us once a year. This means your account balance may have changed since it was last reported to us; it may be higher or lower than shown on ATO online or in the early release application form.
If you have access to your super fund’s online member portal, you can log on and check your current account balance there. It might be a good time to establish a login to your fund portal if you haven’t already.
Check the last statement that your fund issued to you. This might be by paper or email.
Call your fund but understand that they have had a large increase in members calling and there could be delays in having your call answered.
If your fund is a state-administered fund, or you’re a member of an exempt public sector super scheme (EPSSS), you will need to confirm whether they are allowed to release super due to COVID-19, before you submit an application.
Submit an application
Applications for early release of superannuation are accepted through ATO online services via myGov.
You can only submit one application for COVID-19 early release of super in each financial year:
- 2019–20, between 20 April and 30 June 2020
- 2020–21, between 1 July and 24 September 2020 (Australian and New Zealand citizens and permanent residents only).
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This reading material was extracted from Australian Tax Office (ATO) website on 24 June 2020. This post and the information therein is for general information only and does not constitute legal, financial or taxation advice from PTB. Other requirements under tax law may apply and may change. If you wish to act on any of the material in this video, you should contact PTB for professional advice that takes into account your own specific circumstances.