The Government is temporarily allowing people financially affected by COVID-19 to access up to $10,000 of their super in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21.
While super is designed to help you save for retirement, the Government has decided that those significantly financially affected by the COVID-19 may benefit from accessing some super now.
What you can apply for
Before 1 July 2020, you can apply to access up to $10,000 of your super.
Between 1 July 2020 and 24 September 2020, you can apply to access up to a further $10,000.
To apply, you must meet at least one of the following conditions:
you are unemployed
you are eligible to receive a job seeker payment, youth allowance for jobseekers, parenting payment (including single and partnered payments), special benefit or farm household allowance
on or after 1 January 2020:
you were made redundant
your working hours were reduced by 20 per cent or more
you are a sole trader and your business was suspended or there was a reduction in your turnover of 20 per cent or more.
You don’t need to pay tax on any super you access under these arrangements. These payments will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.
How to apply
Applications need to made directly to the ATO through the myGov website at my.gov.au.
If you are unable to access online services, you can call the ATO to confirm your identity and complete the application over the phone.
During the application process you will need to:
provide evidence that you meet the eligibility criteria
review a list of your open super accounts
input the amount you would like to release from each account (up to a total of $10,000)
provide your bank account details (account name, BSB and number) of the account you want your super paid into
authorise the ATO to provide these details to us and for us to release the money into that account
The ATO will let you know if your application is successful within 2-3 business days.
If the ATO accepts your application, it will contact us to release your super payment.
We will then process your payment normally within 7 business days.
Note: we are experiencing a high number of calls to our call centre. Please wait until after the 7-day processing period (post notification from the ATO) before calling to check on your payment status.
For more information about this measure, go to ato.gov.au.
CAUTION: Things to consider before accessing super early
Super is designed to help you save for retirement. You should weigh up the benefit of other financial assistance options against withdrawing your super early before applying to access your super.
Withdrawing some or all your super early can significantly reduce your super balance when it comes time to retire.
Super grows through the principle of compound interest, where your super’s investment returns are reinvested to grow your balance over time.
Super Consumers modelling found that for the average 30-year-old, withdrawing $20,000 of super now could reduce your super balance by about $50,000 at retirement. For the average 50-year-old, it would be about a $30,000 difference1.
Impact on balance at retirement of $20,000 withdrawn from your super
Accessing super early may also impact your insurance cover. If your super balance drops below $6,000 or if your account becomes inactive for 16 months or more, your cover may be cancelled.
Temporary reduction in super minimum drawdown requirements
The Government is temporarily reducing super minimum drawdown rates for account-based pensions by 50 per cent for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 financial years.
The reduced minimum drawdown rates are shown in the table below.
drawdown rates (%)
New reduced rates for
2019-20 and 2020-21 (%)
95 or older
This measure may benefit retirees with account-based pensions by reducing the need to sell investment assets to fund minimum drawdown requirements. By reducing how much you are drawing down on your pension, you can preserve capital in your account while still drawing an income.
Changes to social security deeming rates
From 1 May 2020, the Government will reduce the upper and lower social security deeming rates by 0.25 percentage points. This in addition to the 0.5 percentage point reduction to both rates announced on 12 March 2020.
As of 1 May 2020, the upper deeming rate will be 2.25 per cent and the lower deeming rate will be 0.25 per cent.
What are deeming rates?
Deeming rates are used by Centrelink for income test calculations. It is a key consideration in the Age Pension income test, which you must pass to access this payment.
How will changing deeming rates help?
The change will benefit around 900,000 income support recipients. This includes around 565,000 people on the Age Pension, who will receive around $105 (on average) more from the Age Pension in the first full year that the reduced rates apply.
For more information on the Australian Government’s Economic Response to the Coronavirus visit The Treasury's website.