New super rules to support members affected by COVID-19
The Australian Government has made several changes to super as part of their economic response to COVID-19. Details of these changes are listed below.
Temporary early access to super
The Government is temporarily allowing people 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.
Applications for early release of super open on 20 April 2020. See How to apply for details.
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
The temporary early release of super scheme is being run by the ATO, not super funds.
If you are eligible, from 20 April, you can apply 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
After the ATO has processed your application, it will contact us within 1 or 2 business days, asking us to release your super payment. We will then process your payment as soon as possible.
For more information about this measure, go to ato.gov.au.
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.