COVID 19: Early release of superannuation

People in financial distress as a result of the coronavirus pandemic can apply to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and again in 2020-21.

What can you access

If you are eligible, you are able to apply to release up to $10,000 of your superannuation once between 25 March 2020 and 30 June 2020, and again between 1 July 2020 and 24 September 2020.

If you have an SMSF, you cannot withdraw any amounts from the fund until your SMSF receives a release authority from the ATO enabling you to make the withdrawal. 

Who is eligible?

Australian citizens, permanent residents and New Zealand citizens with Australian held super are eligible if at the time of applying to release your superannuation:

  • You are unemployed; or
  • You are eligible to receive a jobseeker payment, youth allowance for jobseekers, parenting payment (which includes 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% or more from 1 January 2020*; or
    • You are a sole trader and your business was suspended or there has been a reduction in your turnover of 20% or more from 1 January 2020*.

Temporary residents are eligible to apply to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation once up until 30 June 2020 if the following conditions are met:

  • Student visa holders (subclasses 500, 570-576) if you have held the visa for 12 months or more and are unable to meet your living expenses; or
  • Temporary skilled work visa holders (subclasses 457 and 482) if on or after 1 January 2020 you had your working hours reduced to zero by your employer and you are still employed by that employer; or
  • All other temporary visa holders (including working holiday makers and other working visas) if you are unable to meet your living expenses 

 

How to access your superannuation early

For Industry & retail funds:

    1. Check your superannuation balance – if you make an application for more than you have you will not be able to make another application this financial year
    2. Apply to the ATO through your myGov account (you will need to link the ATO to your account if you have not already)
    3. The ATO will issue a release authority to you and your fund
    4. The fund will then release the amounts to you

 For SMSFs:

    1. Check your trust deed for any specific provisions relating to the early release of superannuation
    2. Apply to the ATO through your myGov account (you will need to link the ATO to your account if you have not already)
    3. The ATO will issue a release authority to you and your fund
    4. The trustees must self-assess the criteria (ensure you document this process and have the member’s documentation or a declaration from them)
    5. The SMSF will then release the amounts to the member

If you withdraw too much, you can recontribute the amount under the normal contribution rules.

As access to your superannuation is self-assessed, it’s important that you keep copies of the documentation that substantiates your eligibility in case the ATO queries you.

*Compare the reduction from a month or period from 1 January 2019 to a period on or before 30 December. For example, you might compare April 2020 to average monthly turnover between July 2019 and December 2019.