Get the Finder app 🥳

Connect your accounts & save

Coronavirus early access to super

If you've lost work or been made redundant due to coronavirus you could be eligible to access up to $20,000 from your super tax free, but should you?

Updated . What changed?

Fact checked

Australian workers and sole traders who've lost part or all of their income due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic could be eligible to access up to $20,000 from their superannuation early. This includes up to $10,000 this financial year (before June 30 2020) and another $10,000 next financial year.

This page will explain who is eligible to withdraw their super early, how to do it and the risks that come with doing so. We'll also answer some of the most common questions you're asking about this scheme.

warningBeware of scams! Scammers are cold-calling Australians and sending unsolicited emails and text messages about accessing their super early. The ATO and your super fund will never contact you out of the blue about accessing your super early. Don't give your personal super details out and don't click on any links claiming to be taking you to the myGov site or your super fund's site.

Who can access their super early due to Coronavirus?

This initiative is intended for Australians who are either already unemployed and struggling to find work, or have recently lost a job or income as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic. If you're a New Zealand citizen or a temporary resident in Australia you could also be eligible.

Australian and New Zealand citizens

Citizens and permanent resident of Australia and New Zealand need to meet at least one of the following eligibility criteria to access your super early as part of this scheme:

  • You're unemployed
  • You're eligible to get a job seeker benefit, youth allowance for jobseekers, parenting payment or farm household allowance
  • You've been made redundant or had your working hours reduced by 20% or more since 1 January 2020
  • You're a sole trader and you've had to pause your business operations, or your turnover has fallen by 20% or more, since 1 January 2020

Temporary residents

If you're not a permanent resident or Australian citizen, you could still be eligible to access your super early under this scheme. According to the ATO, temporary residents who can't meet immediate living expenses also need to meet at least one of the following eligibility criteria to access their super early:

  • You're on a student visa that you've held for more than 12 months
  • You're on a temporary skilled work visa and still employed
  • You're on a temporary resident visa

How much of your super can you access?

If you're eligible, this package allows you to access up to $20,000 from your super. You can access $10,000 from your super this financial year before 1 July 2020. You'll also be able to access an additional $10,000 after 1 July 2020 until 24 September.

Note that these are the top limits of how much you can access if you need to, but you don't need to withdraw the full amount. If you only need to access a few thousand dollars, for example, you can apply to withdraw this amount instead of the full $10,000 each financial year.

How do you apply to access your super early?

Follow these four steps to apply:

  1. Go to MyGov. Log into your MyGov account online and select the options to apply for early access to your super.
  2. Complete the application. Complete the application for online to determine your eligibility and how much you'd like to access from your super.
  3. Assessment. The ATO will assess your application and, if you're eligible, the ATO will advise your super fund that it can release that money to you.
  4. Receive your money. Your super fund will then need to release the money into your nominated bank account.

Should I access my super early?

Accessing your super early as part of this scheme is completely voluntary, and you're not forced to do it unless you feel it's necessary. While there may be benefits to doing this there are also significant risks.

CEO of The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees Eva Scheerlinck fears that accessing super now will have a bigger impact on someones retirement than they may realise. "Accessing super when markets are low will crystallise losses and represents minimal short-term gain with a significant long-term cost."

Potential benefits

  • If you're in severe financial hardship, accessing a small part of your super now could help you stay on top of your bills and repayments.
  • Withdrawing your super is tax free.
  • If you don't end up needing the money you can add it back into your super via a voluntary contribution later.

Risks

  • Your superannuation is there to help fund your retirement and by accessing some of it now, you're taking that money (and more) away from your future self. The money in your super benefits from compounded investment returns over the long term. That $10,000 today could be worth several times that by the time you retire. If you're in your 20s, it could be worth more than $100,000 by retirement.
  • Super funds have fallen this quarter because of the huge losses we're seeing in the stock market. However, these losses are 'on paper' at this stage, and only realised when you sell. Anyone planning to switch their super investment options or withdraw some of their super now is locking in that loss of capital.
  • Taking that money out of your super now means you also risk missing out on the potential market rebound that could see the money grow well over $10,000.

What other options do I have?

If you're struggling financially because of the coronavirus pandemic but you don't want to withdraw from your super, there are some other initiatives in place. Check if you're eligible for mortgage repayment support, help with your utility bills, support for casual workers, and see if any of these financial support measures can help.

Does this affect my credit score or future borrowing power?

The money you withdraw from your super isn't a form of credit, so it won't be included in any official credit report. If you apply for a home loan in the near future, the lender may potentially be able to see that you've accessed the money from your super if they look at your transaction history. However, it's highly unlikely that lenders will look poorly on anyone who has accesses their super early to pay for essential bills and expenses.

"It is highly unlikely that withdrawing money out of superannuation will impact future loan applications. The banks are well aware of the financial impact during COVID-19 and will make exceptions for temporary solutions that had to be put in place by customers during this difficult time," said mortgage broker Marissa Schulze.

What are the tax implications?

You won't need to pay any tax on the money you withdraw from your super, as it's already been taxed at the concessional tax rate of 15%. Therefore you don't need to include this money in your taxable income when you lodge your tax return this year.

However, if you deposit the money into a savings account that you then earn interest on, you will be required to pay tax on the interest earned.

Related Posts

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.

63 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    BenJuly 1, 2020

    Question, I started up a partime business and also have a full time job. I have an ABN and bought stock, ect and started to operate but closed down/suspended the business due to Covid. but I am working on a full time basis in my day job. Am i classified as a sole trader that lost 20% income (as i don;t receive any income in my business)

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      FayeJuly 2, 2020Staff

      Hi Ben,

      Thanks for reaching out to Finder.

      Sorry to hear that your business has to closed down due to COVID-19. Kindly refer to the eligibility criteria listed above. If you satisfy one of the circumstances outlined in the criteria you will be eligible for the early release of super.

      If you are eligible, you can can submit an application between 1 July 2020 and 24 September 2020 through ATO online services in myGov.

      I hope this helps.

      Keep safe!
      Faye

  2. Default Gravatar
    AndrewJune 27, 2020

    My hours have been cut by 40% but I’ve been using annual leave to top up my wage can i still access my super through covid19 crisis ?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JackieJune 29, 2020Staff

      Hi Andrew,

      Thanks for your inquiry.I hope all is well for you.

      Generally, if you are an Australian citizen, you can apply for the early release of superannuation due to COVID-19 provided you satisfy one or more of the following requirements:

      • You are unemployed.
      • You are 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.
      • On or after 1 January 2020, either
      – you were made redundant
      – your working hours were reduced by 20% or more
      – if you were a sole trader, your business was suspended or there was a reduction in your turnover of 20% or more.

      As a reminder, super is designed to help you save for retirement. Please consider all your options and check if there are other financial assistance that may be available to you before you apply for COVID-19 early release of super.

      Hope this helps.

      Regards,
      Jackie

  3. Default Gravatar
    LornaJune 15, 2020

    Can you help me how to apply early release from my super. Though I am still working I am still behind my bills.Is there any possibility for me to apply early release
    from my super?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoyceJune 16, 2020Staff

      Hi Lorna,

      I hope this email finds you well. I understand you would like to know how to apply for an early release of your super.

      Early release of super is an initiative to help people who are financially affected by COVID-19. You can apply for early release of super provided you are an Australian or New Zealand citizen or a permanent resident and you satisfy one or more of the following requirements:

      -You are unemployed
      -You are eligible to get a job seeker benefit, youth allowance for jobseekers, parenting payment or farm household allowance
      -You have been made redundant or had your working hours reduced by 20% or more since 1 January 2020
      -You are a sole trader and you had to pause your business operations, or your turnover has fallen by 20% or more, since 1 January 2020

      As a reminder, super is designed to help you save for retirement. Before you apply to access your super, please consider all your options and check if there are other financial assistance that may be available to you.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,

      Joyce

  4. Default Gravatar
    PatiJune 10, 2020

    Hi! Some of my friends claim part of the $10,000 of super but they are still working 40 hours and overtime. Is this possible?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MaiJune 11, 2020Staff

      Hi Pati,

      Thank you for reaching out to Finder.

      Please note that only one of the below needs to be meet to be eligible to receive super early.

      * You’re unemployed
      * You’re eligible to get a job seeker benefit, youth allowance for jobseekers, parenting payment or farm household allowance
      * You’ve been made redundant or had your working hours reduced by 20% or more since 1 January 2020
      * You’re a sole trader and you’ve had to pause your business operations, or your turnover has fallen by 20% or more, since 1 January 2020

      If your friends are able to receive their super early despite not having reduced working hours and still working overtime, possible that they were able to meet other eligibility.

      For more information about early access to super, you may refer to ATO as well.

      Hope this helps and stay safe.

      Kind Regards,
      ​Mai

  5. Default Gravatar
    CherylJune 9, 2020

    Hi, my husband’s employment has been impacted by the virus, am I able to withdrawn from my super to aid in the support of our family?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      FayeJune 10, 2020Staff

      Hi Cheryl,

      I am sorry to hear that your husband’s employment was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

      Early release of super is a measure to specifically help people who are financially affected by COVID-19. You can apply for early release of super provided you are an Australian or New Zealand citizen or a permanent resident and you satisfy one or more of the following requirements mentioned above.

      As a reminder, super is designed to help you save for retirement. Before you apply to access your super, please consider all your options and check if there are other financial assistance that may be available to you.

      I hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Faye

  6. Default Gravatar
    Meskel AssefaJune 7, 2020

    Can I apply for the temporary early release of super while I’m stuck overseas due to the coronavirus pandemic?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MeiJune 7, 2020Staff

      Hello Meskel,

      I see you’re checking if you can have early access to your super while overseas.

      If you’re an Australian citizen or permanent resident, your super will remain subject to the same rules. What that means is that in most instances you generally won’t be able to access your super until you reach your preservation age, which will be between 55 and 60, depending on when you were born.

      ATO stated that Australian and New Zealand citizens and permanent residents, as well as temporary residents, are eligible for early access to super. Provided that they meet other criteria under these very limited circumstances. These circumstances are mainly related to specific medical conditions, severe financial hardship, COVID-19, or the First home super saver scheme.

      Since the reason for early access is due to the pandemic, it’s recommended for you to directly get in touch with your super fund provider for clarification, more so if you are an Australian citizen overseas.
      You can read more about who can have early access to super and how here on Services Australia’s page.

      Hope this helps. Feel free to contact us back for further inquiries you may have.

      All the best,
      Mei

  7. Default Gravatar
    MariaJune 7, 2020

    Under the new COVID-19 Super release, how do they determine if you’re eligible? I have lived overseas for 8 years so haven’t submitted a tax return in awhile etc. I want to make sure I can get the required paperwork to prove I meet the criteria before I bother trying to do it.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoyceJune 7, 2020Staff

      Hi Maria,

      I hope all is well with you. I understand you would like to know if eligibility requirements for early access to your super.

      Generally, if you are an Australian citizen, you can apply for the early release of superannuation due to COVID 19, provided you meet the following requirements:

      -You are unemployed.
      -You are 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.
      -On or after 1 January 2020, either you were made redundant; your working hours were reduced by 20% or more; if you were a sole trader, your business was suspended or there was a reduction in your turnover of 20% or more.

      According to ATO, you will need an Australian bank account and only Australian bank accounts are accepted.You will not need to pay tax on amounts released and will not need to include it in their tax return. The application is available through ATO online services in myGov.

      Hope this helps.

      Regards,

      Joyce

  8. Default Gravatar
    VirginiaJune 1, 2020

    Hello – Is a person on Carer’s Payment deemed “eligible” for Jobseeker, as per the listed conditions for early release of super? I am on a carer’s payment as I care full time time for my elderly parents and was hoping to find casual work this year but COVID-19 has made that impossible (I am not currently registered on Jobseeker). I have relied on my partner’s income to support us up until now as the carer’s payment in insufficient to pay bills but he will be unemployed in a few weeks. Can I apply for early release of super due to COVID-19? I am the one with superannuation.

    • Default Gravatar
      RestyJune 3, 2020

      Hi Virginia,

      Thanks for reaching out to Finder.

      As long as you are an Australian or a New Zealand citizen, you may be eligible as long as you meet at least one of the eligibility criteria for early release.

      – You’re unemployed
      – You’re eligible to get a job seeker benefit, youth allowance for jobseekers, parenting payment or farm household allowance
      – You’ve been made redundant or had your working hours reduced by 20% or more since 1 January 2020
      – You’re a sole trader and you’ve had to pause your business operations, or your turnover has fallen by 20% or more, since 1 January 2020

      To apply for the early release of Super, you may go to your MyGov account online and select the options to apply for early access to your super complete the application form, then ATO will assess your eligibility and will advise you of the release if deemed eligible.

      I hope this helps. Stay safe.

      Best regards,
      Resty

  9. Default Gravatar
    AlexMay 24, 2020

    I have not worked for the past five years due to being a stay at home parent while my partner has been employed full time. I have some Super available that I would like to access. Am I eligible even though I was unemployed before the COVID-19 pandemic?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MeiMay 24, 2020Staff

      Hello Alex,

      I see you want to know if you’d be able to have early access to your Super though it is not brought about by the pandemic.

      You normally can’t use your super until you reach your preservation age. Read about preservation age on the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website.

      To get your super released early you must meet 1 of these eligibility requirements:

      (A) be in severe financial hardship
      (B) have a terminal illness
      (C) be a temporary resident
      (D) have less than $200 in your super fund
      (E) meet compassionate grounds

      Read the full details about early access to super on the ATO website.

      You can also use this Services Australia‘s page for additional reference.

      Hope this helps. Feel free to contact us back for further inquiries you may have.

      All the best,
      Mei

  10. Default Gravatar
    RobMay 20, 2020

    Would I be eligible for 10,000 from my super fund? My salary has been reduced by more than 20% from January 1, 2020 because of overtime hours being cut. However, my work hours are not less than 20%.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      EmilyMay 21, 2020Staff

      Hi Rob,

      Thanks for reaching out to Finder. I hope you’re doing well. I understand that that you want to know if you are eligible to access your super early because your salary has been reduced by 20% due to the overtime hours being cut off.

      Generally, one of the requirements needed to get your super early is you should have been made redundant or had your working hours reduced by 20% or more since 1 January 2020. Since you want to know if the 20% can also be associated with the reduction in salary, it would be better to contact ATO directly to know your eligibility.

      For applying in getting your super early, it’s important to remember to keep documentation to support your claim if you are asked in the future, to demonstrate this decrease in your hours.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Regards,
      Ems

Ask a question
Go to site