Early release of super for financial difficulty from COVID-19

Since 20 April 2020, the Federal Government has allowed the temporary early release of super for those experiencing financial difficulty as a result of COVID-19. Below is everything you need to know to access your super.

We’re here for our members. Especially when they need us most.

We’re aware that some of you are experiencing financial difficulty in these challenging times. And we want you to know we’re here to help you with any decisions you need to make about your super.

If you are considering early release of your super due to financial difficulty, please note:

  • Energy Super allows for the early release of super for members in financial difficulty as a result of COVID-19
  • You need to apply to the Australian Taxation Office – not to Energy Super

To help manage your expectations, here's a quick snapshot of the expected time frame for early release payments:

FAQs for Early Release of Super (COVID-19)

  • When can I apply

    You can apply for the early release of your super from Monday 20 April 2020.

  • Do I apply with the ATO or Energy Super?

    You need to apply directly to the ATO through MyGov – not to Energy Super.

  • Am I eligible?

    To be eligible to claim for the early release of super, you’ll need to be one or more of the following:

    • unemployed; or
    • eligible to receive a job seeker 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 per cent or more; or
      • if you’re a sole trader – your business was suspended or there was a reduction in your turnover of 20 per cent or more.

  • Where do I apply?

    Applications for early release of super will be accepted via www.my.gov.au

  • What’s the application process?

    Step 1
    Go to mygov.au and create an online account (if you don’t already have one).

    Step 2
    Log in to your myGov account to complete the online application in the ATO portal.

    Step 3
    Once you’re in the ATO portal, you’ll be asked to certify your eligibility for early release of your super.

    Step 4
    After the ATO has assessed your application, it will advise Energy Super directly if you’ve been approved and instruct us to pay your early release. You'll receive an SMS from Energy Super when the instruction has been received.

  • What happens after I apply?

    After the ATO has assessed your application, it will advise Energy Super directly if you’ve been approved and instruct us to pay your early release. You don't need to contact Energy Super about this. All enquiries about the progress of your payment should be directed to the ATO.

  • How long will it take to receive my payment?

    The Federal Government provides a regular file to Energy Super to process early release payments, and we report weekly to the regulators to ensure we're paying members within an acceptable time frame.

    Conservatively, we estimate payment from Energy Super to take 5 to 10 business days after the ATO advises us you’ve been approved for your early release super payment.

    However, since the introduction of the early release scheme, Energy Super has paid at least 96% of early release payments within 5 days; on some days it has paid out 100% of the applications within this time frame. Generally the reasons for payment delay have been data errors such as incorrect bank account details provided to the Fund. Additional fraud checks may also delay payment.

  • Will I be taxed on my withdrawal?

    No. You won’t need to pay tax on the money released and it won’t affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.

  • Should I be aware of scammers?

    The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has issued a warning following reports people were being cold-called by scammers offering to help them with their early release application. And in May 2020, the ATO suspended sending files to super funds due to the Australian Federal Police investigating instances of fraud. Protect yourself: never give out any information about your super or bank accounts to someone who has contacted you, even if they claim to be from a government authority asking about your super.

  • What other financial options are available?

    The Australian Government is providing other assistance to those who have been financially affected by COVID-19. You can read more about this here

  • How will withdrawing some of my super now affect my future super balance?

    Withdrawing any sum from your super is naturally going to reduce your future super balance. However, given everyone’s circumstances are unique we can’t answer your question specifically. We suggest you read this 3 things to consider before you access your super early which looks generally at the kind of impact a withdrawal might have on a member’s future super balance. If you’re after personal advice, Energy Super members have access to financial advisers from ESI Financial Services*. Find out more here.

  • Will this affect my insurance cover?

    Withdrawing your super may affect your insurance cover. If you don't leave enough in your account to pay your premiums or if you have income protection insurance and your account balance falls below $2,000, your insurance cover may cease automatically.

Apply directly to the ATO

#Financial advice is provided by ESI Financial Services Pty Ltd (ABN 93 101 428 782 AFSL 224952), a wholly owned entity of Energy Super.

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