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Home Advice & support COVID-19 resources COVID-19 early release of super

COVID-19 early release of super

The Federal Government will temporarily allow people who lose their job or have lower income due to the COVID-19 economic downturn to access their super.

From Monday 20 April 2020 temporary changes to legislation allows eligible members to access to up to $20,000 of their super - up to $10,000 by 30 June 2020 and up to $10,000 after 30 June 2020 until 24 September 2020.

Applications can only be made through the Australian Tax Office (ATO) via myGov and not with legalsuper.

Once the ATO approves your application it will inform legalsuper.  Once we have been informed, we will pay you as quickly as possible.

Eligibility

Eligibility criteria apply and can be viewed on the ATO website.  Please note that there are penalties for making false and misleading statements. 

How to apply

Applications can be made from Monday 20 April 2020 using the online application form which can be accessed in one of two ways:

  1. Via the myGov portal; or
  2. By calling the ATO.

This guide can help you navigate through the MyGov portal.

Please note that application cannot be made with legalsuper.  When you apply with the ATO you will need to verify your identity, confirm your eligibility and nominate bank account details.

Getting ready to apply

  1. Set up your myGov account and link it to the ATO
  2. Check your personal details in your myGov account (name, date of birth, phone number and address)
  3. Have your bank account details available – you will need this to complete your application
  4. Check your legalsuper account balance
  5. Check any insurance you have with us
  6. Check your personal details in your legalsuper account (name, date of birth, phone number and address).

Checking your account balance

We recommend you login to your legalsuper account to check your account balance before you apply. Please note, that if your super balance is less than the amount you have requested, you will only receive the available amount and will not be able to make another application for early access due to coronavirus this financial year.

Checking your insurance

Insurance is an important part of many members’ overall financial security. If you want to keep your insurance cover, check you have enough money in your super account to keep paying insurance costs after you have accessed your super.

  • If your early release payment is equal to your total account balance, this will close your legalsuper account and your insurance cover with us will cease. 
  • If your early release payment is a part of your total account balance, please check that your account has sufficient funds to pay your insurance fees. If your account doesn't have enough funds to pay insurance fees, your cover will be cancelled.

Checking your personal details

We recommend you verify that your personal details (name, date of birth, address and phone number) are correct and up to date in both your myGov and legalsuper accounts. If your details don't match, there will be delays in processing your payment.

What to expect

Your application via myGov

  • The ATO will send you confirmation of approval or rejection to your myGov Inbox within 4 business days of your application. 
  • If approved, the ATO will send us a notification to release your funds to your nominated bank account.

ATO notifies legalsuper

  • We will send you an SMS confirming receipt of instructions from the ATO to release your funds. 
  • Once we have processed your payment, we will send you a further SMS confirmation.

legalsuper makes a payment to your bank account

  • We anticipate that in most cases legalsuper will be able to make payment to your bank account within 5 days of the ATO notifying legalsuper. We can assure you we will be processing these payments as a priority.

Please note the ATO’s notification of approval will take up to 4 business days.  In most cases, it will take a further 5 days for legalsuper to process your payment.  It may also take a few more days before the payment appears in your bank account balance.

How many times can I apply?

You can make two applications:

  • one up to 30 June 2020; and
  • one from 1 July 2020 to 24 September 2020 (N.B. the end date of 24 September 2020 may change if the Government determines it is appropriate).

Each application is limited to a maximum of $10,000 ($20,000 in total) and only one application can be made in each of the financial years. To access the maximum amount, an application would need to be made prior to 30 June 2020 to access up to $10,000 in the 2019/20 financial year.

If you have more than one superannuation account, it’s possible to withdraw the maximum across multiple accounts in the one application as long as the total withdrawn does not exceed $10,000.

You can nominate an amount less than $10,000 if you wish.

This may apply if you hold less than $10,000 in superannuation at the time of your application. If you have $10,000 or more in superannuation but nominate a lower amount, it's not possible to request a top-up amount.

For example: if an application is made to release $8,000 in the 2019/20 financial year, it is not possible to make a second application in 2019/20 to top up this amount.

Also, any amount withdrawn less than the $10,000 in the 2019/20 financial year cannot be accessed as part of an application in the 2020/21 financial year. The maximum amount under each application is $10,000. 

Beware of phishing scams

There are currently COVID-19 phishing scams circulation. If you are approached about paying a fee to release your super, it's likely to be a scam. The ATO is managing all claims for the early release of super, you should not involve a third party or pay a fee to get access to this scheme.

FAQs

Should I access my super early?
There are many things to consider when deciding whether you should access your super. These include:

  • Your personal need for additional money
  • Other types of financial support you may be able to access
  • The long-term impact on your retirement savings
  • How your insurance cover may be affected

We understand that this is a really difficult time emotionally and financially for many people. If you need to access your super, we're here to help you however we can, now and in the future. We believe you should consider your own personal needs carefully and be aware of how this will affect you. While accessing your super early will impact how much you have in retirement, if you do need to access your super, we will do everything we can to work with you, to get you back on track to a comfortable retirement. 

You should consider whether you need to seek financial advice before submitting your application for early release of super.

My name has changed, what should I do?
If the details on your myGov account don't match your legalsuper account, there may be a delay in processing your payment. If you need to update your name on your legalsuper account, please contact us and we will assist you as quickly as we can.

Do I need to contact you after I have applied?
No. If your application was successful, the ATO will confirm this with you. If your application was successful, we will not be able to confirm this with you immediately.  Once we receive a notification from the ATO, if we need additional information to release the funds, we will contact you.  

I have two super funds. Can I apply for the early release from both funds?
If you have more than one superannuation account, it is possible to withdraw the maximum across multiple accounts as long as the total withdrawn does not exceed $10,000. For example, $2,000 is taken from one account and $8,000 from another. 

What if I have less than $10,000 in my account?
You can nominate an amount of less than $10,000 in your application through myGov. If you nominate to take the whole balance from your legalsuper account, your account will close and any insurance you have with us will be cancelled. 

Will I pay tax on the early release payment?
The payment made under this condition of release will be tax-free (i.e. classified as non-assessable and non-exempt income).  

I am a temporary resident, can I apply?
Yes. Eligible temporary residents will be able to access $10,000 of superannuation on compassionate grounds this financial year only. For additional eligibility criteria, visit the ATO website.

Eligibility is determined by the Australian Tax Office

You don't need to contact us to confirm your eligibility, or apply. legalsuper is not able to accept any applications directly, applications will be accepted online through myGov or by calling the ATO. 

Other options

If you are not eligible for the COVID-19 early release benefit or would like to explore other options for withdrawing your super balance,  read about Accessing your money.


This is general information only and does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. Accordingly, before taking any action, you should consider whether it is appropriate to you, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. You should obtain a copy of legalsuper’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) which is available by contacting legalsuper or via its website at legalsuper.com.au before making a decision.

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It may take us longer than normal to respond to you. We apologise for these delays and will continue to update information on our website to help with more common queries.