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Temporary changes -
early release of super

 The Government’s temporary early access to super program for those financially affected by COVID-19 ended on 31 December 2020. You may still be able to access your super early, but only if you meet another condition of release.

To help people facing financial hardship due to Coronavirus, the Government temporarily changed the rules around accessing super where certain eligibility criteria was met.

The temporary condition of release allowed eligible people to apply to release an amount from super, up to $10,000. Two applications could be made:

  • The first application needed to have been made before 30 June 2020; and
  • The second application needed to have been made between 1 July 2020 and 31 December 2020.

If you decided to access your super early, it’s important you understand how it may affect your long-term retirement savings, and the insurance in super you may have.

Age Amount accessed early Estimated reduction in balance at retirement (age 67)*
30 $20,000 $43,032
40 $20,000 $35,024
50 $20,000 $28,506

*These results have been generated using the ‘Super withdrawal estimator’ available on the ASIC MoneySmart website at https://moneysmart.gov.au/covid-19/accessing-your-super. The estimates are based on assumptions including a retirement age of 67, a gross investment return of 7.5% pa, tax on earnings of 7%, investment fees of 0.85% pa, income of $50,000 and an initial inflation rate of 2.5% pa with a growth rate of 1.5% pa. All results are shown in today’s dollars. Additional assumptions are outlined in the ‘Super withdrawal estimator’. The above table is provided for illustrative purposes only and is not specific to the fees and costs of a particular financial product. Investment returns are not guaranteed.

FAQs

Coronavirus & early access to super

  • The amount paid reflects the available funds in your super account. The balance the ATO have for your account was correct at 30 June 2019, and your account balance may have changed since that date due to:

    • contributions added
    • tax applied
    • fees paid
    • any insurance premiums paid; and/or
    • market movements.
  • If the balance in any of your super accounts is less than $6,000, you won’t pay more than 3% pa in fees and costs. These fees and costs include administration fees, investment fees, and indirect costs. We’ll assess your balances at the end of the financial year (30 June each year) or when you exit, and if you’ve paid more than 3% pa in fees and costs on any account with a balance of less than $6,000, you’ll be refunded the difference.

    For more information about fees, check your Product Disclosure Statement.

  • If your account has a zero balance, your account will remain open for three months from the date of that payment.  At the end of the period, if neither you or your employer have made any contributions, rollovers or insurance premium payments, we’ll close the account and let you know.

    Please refer to the FAQs under Coronavirus & the impact to your insurance in super for the implications of a zero balance on your insurance in super.

  • Yes, the early access to super rules do not prevent you from applying under existing provisions such as severe financial hardship or compassionate grounds. If you meet the criteria for both, then you can apply to receive both. For further information on eligibility criteria to access super due to severe financial hardship or compassionate grounds, visit Conditions of release.

    Other services are also available to help people in financial stress.  

    National Debt Helpline

    The National Debt Helpline is a not-for-profit service that helps people tackle their debt problems. They’re  not a lender and don’t ‘sell’ anything or make money from you. Their professional financial counsellors offer a free, independent, and confidential service.

    If your matter is more complex, they can refer you to your closest face-to-face financial counselling service.

    They can also put you in touch with the right service you require, such as legal services, crisis food and accommodation services, and health services.

    See National Debt Helpline for more information or call them on 1800 007 007.

    Speak to your bank or insurance provider

    All banks have hardship programs under which some of your debts may be waived or reduced, or mortgages deferred.

    People with insurance policies should also contact their insurance policy and discuss the possibility of deferring insurance premiums.

    Renters rights

    State and territory governments have placed restrictions on evictions of people who may have fallen behind in their rent payments because of COVID-19.

    Terms and details vary by state and territory. For more information see:

Coronavirus & the impact to your insurance in super

  • Your insurance may be impacted. This is because your insurance premiums are paid from your MLC super account, unless your employer pays for the cost of your insurance cover. So, you must have enough super savings to pay for the cover.

    It’s important to take a moment and think carefully about whether you want to have insurance as part of your super.

    You can find out more about insurance in super here.

    And don’t forget, you can change or cancel your insurance at any time, by calling us.

  • If you are not receiving regular contributions and your account balance can no longer cover the cost of your premiums, your insurance may be switched-off.  Please refer to your insurance guide for more details on when your insurance cover may be switched-off as a result of this, and how to start it up again.

  • MLC is aware of current scam phone calls targeting Australians. The caller may claim to be from an organisation that can assist you to get early access to your superannuation. The caller may ask for your personal and superannuation details.

    If you ever have any concerns as to the legitimacy of a call, hang up and call the company back on a publicly listed number.

    If you have received this type of call and have provided information about your superannuation, please contact MLC immediately on 132 652.

    If you receive a text message saying your superannuation fund is going to release your super, and you did not request this, contact us.

    If you have provided personal or banking details, please also contact your financial institution.

    You can also read our article for more information, or visit the Scamwatch website for more information about this scam.