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COVID-19 and early access to your super

Last updated: 23 July 2020

Important: You will need to follow the same process to access your super early, even if the ATO already approved your early access application in the first round of the measure. Please recap on the process and other information as outlined below. If the ATO approves your early access to super application, there is no need to contact us. We will process your payment within 5 business days of the ATO letting us know, and the money will be in your bank account within a further 3 to 5 business days.

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Key points

  • If you are experiencing financial stress as a result of coronavirus, you may be able to access your superannuation.
  • You apply directly to the ATO through the myGov website.
  • You cannot apply through Sunsuper.
  • If you are eligible, you were able to withdraw up to $10,000 in 2019-20.
  • If you are eligible, you may also be able to access another $10,000 until 31 December 2020.
  • Early access payments won’t change the existing ways to apply for early access to your super.

Temporary early access to your super

While superannuation helps people save for retirement, the government has recognised that for those significantly financially affected by the coronavirus, accessing some of those savings today may outweigh the benefits of maintaining those savings until retirement.

If you are eligible, you can apply to the ATO through the myGov website to access up to $10,000 of your superannuation until 31 December 2020 (the measure originally ended on 24 September, but the government has announced that it is extending the measure until 31 December).

It is important to note, you cannot apply through Sunsuper directly.

 


Are you eligible for early access to your super?

To apply for early access to your super, you must certify to the ATO that you satisfy one or more of the following requirements.

Note that if you are applying to the ATO for early access to your super for the second time, you will need to re-certify to the ATO that you meet the eligibility criteria.

Please note: These criteria only apply if you are a citizen or permanent resident of Australia or New Zealand. If you are a temporary resident, you were only able to apply to access up to $10,000 of your super before 30 June 2020.

You are unemployed,

or

You are eligible to receive a:

  • job seeker payment, or
  • youth allowance for jobseekers, or
  • parenting payment (including the single and partnered payments), or
  • special benefit, or

On or after 1 January 2020, you:

  • were made redundant, or
  • had your working hours reduced by 20% or more, or
  • are a sole trader and your business was suspended or there was a reduction in your turnover of 20% or more.

Note the ATO advises that you should check your eligibility carefully before you apply for COVID-19 early release of super and keep records that demonstrate your eligibility. The ATO may take action if you apply and you're not eligible. Find out more from the ATO.

If you applied for COVID-19 early release of super but the ATO has decided you weren’t eligible, you should discuss your situation with the ATO.



What is the process for early access to your super?

If you are eligible, you could apply online through myGov for early access to your super from 20 April to 30 June 2020 for the 2019-20 year. Whether or not you were approved to access your super early in 2019-20, if you are eligible, you can now apply to access up to $10,000 until 31 December 2020 via the same myGov process.

Please note: you cannot apply through Sunsuper directly.

To help you with early access to your super, below are the steps in the myGov process. Even if you are applying to the ATO for the second time, it’s worth reminding yourself of the steps. And whether this is the first or second time you are applying, before you go ahead, are you aware of other immediate financial assistance that may be available and the effect accessing your super early could have on your retirement savings?

Chart process

Who Step Where  When
You 1.*Check your balance.               Member Online        Now
You 2. Visit the myGov website.   myGov    
You  3. Certify that you meet the eligibility criteria.  See eligibility criteria Now
You  4.* Choose which super account you want to access (or accounts if you have multiple accounts).   myGov   Now
You  5.*Specify the amount you wish to access from each super account you selected (up to a total of $10,000) and the bank account you wish the money to be paid into.   myGov   Now
ATO  6. The ATO will process your application. If approved, they will notify you via your myGov inbox. They will also notify us.    myGov   3-4 business days after you submit your application. 
Sunsuper  7. We will make the payment to you.                Bank account you specified through  myGov    

Within 5 business days of the ATO notifying us. Once we make the payment, the money will be in your bank account within a further 3-5 business days. 

 

1.* Please check your balance to make sure that you have enough funds to withdraw, as the balance you see in myGov is based on the last time Sunsuper reported to the ATO (which may have been up to 12 months ago). If you are applying to the ATO for early access to your super for the second time, it is vital that you check your current Sunsuper account balance in Member Online as the balance you see in myGov won’t reflect the early access payment we made to you earlier this year.

Note that you should only apply to access your own super fund and specify your own bank account for the funds to be paid into. Applying on behalf of someone else, even your spouse, may result in security checks that could delay the process.

4.* If you don't see your Sunsuper account in myGov, you should check that your date of birth and your tax file number are correctly recorded by myGov and by Sunsuper. You can check your details with Sunsuper through Member Online.

5.*  Make sure you double check that your bank account details are correct. Entering the incorrect bank account could result in your funds being paid to the wrong person.


Login to check your details and balance

 


 

Why is your super balance different in myGov?

The balance you see in myGov is based on the last time we reported to the ATO (which could be up to 12 months ago).

Since we last reported to the ATO, your balance will have changed as a result of any contributions made into your account, other super accounts consolidated into your Sunsuper account, recent investment market volatility, and administration fees and any insurance premiums deducted from your account. As noted above, if you are applying to the ATO for early access to your super for the second time, the balance you see in myGov will also not reflect the payment we made to you earlier this year.

You can see your current account balance in Member Online and you should use this amount as a guide to how much you can request to withdraw when you complete the application in myGov.

 


 

Why is your payment amount less than you expected?

If the amount we paid to you is less than you expected, it is likely because:

  1. If the ATO approves your application but your balance in myGov was higher than your account balance, we will only pay you the amount in your account.
    The balance you see in myGov is based on the last time we reported to the ATO (which could be up to 12 months ago). Since we last reported to the ATO, your balance will have changed as a result of any contributions made into your account, other super accounts consolidated into your Sunsuper account, recent investment market volatility, administration fees and any insurance premiums deducted from your account, and any payment we made to you if you applied to the ATO for early access to your super earlier this year.
  2. You may have entered a different amount to what you intended to withdraw from your Sunsuper account when you completed the myGov application. For example, you may have intended to withdraw $10,000.00 but instead entered $100.00.
    You can check the amount you entered in your application on your ATO determination letter in your myGov inbox.

If you think you have made an error or the ATO’s determination is incorrect, please contact the ATO on their Emergency Support Infoline: 1800 806 218.

If neither of these reasons explain why the amount we paid to you is less than you expected, please call us on 13 11 84.

 


 

What if the bank account you provided to the ATO is incorrect?

Once we let you know that we have received your early access payment approval from the ATO, we will generally make the payment to you within 2-3 days. However, it may take longer to reach your bank account, depending on your bank's clearance policies.

If the bank account details you provided to the ATO were incorrect, please call us on 13 11 84. We’ll try to stop the payment and help you to correct your bank account details so you can receive your payment as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, if we’ve already made the payment to the bank account you originally advised to the ATO, the bank will need to return the payment to us before we can re-process your payment to your correct bank account. When we receive the returned payment, we will process it to your correct bank account as quickly as possible.

 


Protecting your super from COVID-19 scams

The government has issued warnings of scams involving the COVID-19 early access to super scheme.

Important: If you are eligible, the only way you can apply for early access to your super is to the ATO through the myGov website. You generally won’t need a third party to assist with your application or the process, and you should be very cautious of anyone emailing or calling you to offer a service or charging a fee related to the early access process. Sunsuper hasn’t made any arrangements with or for third party organisations to help our members with their Sunsuper account or the early access process. 

If you call Sunsuper, we will ask you some questions so that we can verify your identity. We may also call to confirm your personal details if they are different to what you have provided to the ATO. However, we will never contact you to ask you for the login details for your super account. You should never share your Sunsuper or myGov account details with anyone who contacts you.

Read more about things you can do to protect your super and your online account.

 


Should you access your super early?

If you are experiencing financial stress as a result of coronavirus, you may have real and immediate need to access your super. We can help you with the process through myGov, but before you go ahead, are you aware of:


Will your insurance be affected?

If your account balance reduces to zero, you’ll keep any insurance cover you have for up to four months without receiving contributions to your account. Your weekly premiums will continue to accrue and be payable but won’t be deducted until you have an account balance. More information about keeping your insurance will be sent to you. Refer to your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for more details on insurance premiums.