Temporary early access to super for people in financial distress

The Federal Government has passed legislation to allow temporary early access to super to assist members experiencing financial distress due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Members who meet the eligibility criteria can access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in the 2020/2021 financial year.

Members need to apply online through myGov and the ATO will assess their eligibility. If members are eligible, the ATO will advise LGS to release the amount requested to the member.

No tax will be payable on the money withdrawn from the member’s account.

Applications for the 2020/21 financial year, can only be made in the period between 1 July and 31 December 2020.

Members of the LGS Retirement and Defined Benefit Schemes who are experiencing financial distress may be able to access some parts of their super benefit. These members need to contact LGS to ascertain how much and what part of their benefit they are eligible to access.

Members need to carefully consider how much money they need and the long-term impact on their retirement savings before accessing their super.

If unsure about accessing their super, members can request a request a phone appointment with an LGS financial planner.

Frequently asked questions

How do I know if I’m eligible to access my super?

You can access your super if you are experiencing genuine financial distress due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Federal Government has established the eligibility criteria and the details are available on the Australian Taxation Office website.

Please note that the ATO has strengthened its integrity and compliance measures to ensure that only eligible people are able to access their super. There are penalties for people who provide false or misleading information in their application.

I need money to get through the next few months but I’m not sure whether I should access my super. Are there any other options?

If you’re in financial distress, you may be able to access your super early but it should be done as a last resort as it will have an impact on your retirement savings.

Before you consider accessing your super, you should see if you are eligible for any of the following government assistance:

  • JobSeeker: the $550 COVID-19 supplement if you’ve lost your job and receiving the JobSeeker payment (formerly Newstart).
  • JobKeeper: employers can claim a taxable fortnightly payment of $1,500 per eligible employee for up to six months, which they must pass on to employees.
  • Two sets of $750 economic support payments aimed at households struggling to stay afloat, specifically those people on certain types of welfare payments such as the Age Pension. If you’re eligible, you will receive these payments automatically.

Take a look at the government’s MoneySmart website, for more information on the assistance available together with advice on how to live on a reduced income, deal with your mortgage, make investment decisions and get urgent help.

Please note that the Federal Government has announced upcoming changes to these assistance measures. Find out more about the planned changes to the COVID-19 supplement and the JobKeeper payment.

I’ve made an application to access my super. How long will it take for the money to be in my bank account?

Starting from the date that you receive an SMS from the ATO confirming that your application has been processed, you should allow 10 business days for the money to be deposited into your bank account.

However, the processing time may be longer if additional verification or information is required to complete the transaction.

Do I have to pay tax on any funds I withdraw from my super?

There will be no tax payable on any withdrawals approved by the ATO under these temporary changes.

How will accessing my super now affect my retirement savings in the long term?

It’s important to carefully consider the impact on your retirement savings before withdrawing any money from your super.

Taking money out now can significantly reduce the balance of your super when you retire. In fact, over periods of 10, 20 or 30 years, the difference can be quite significant.

It’s important to know all your options before accessing your super. You may be eligible for government assistance and help from your financial institution to meet your current obligations.

For information on the steps you should take before applying to access your super, take a look at the Government’s Moneysmart website.

You can use our Retirement Projection calculator to estimate the likely impact of withdrawing money from your super on your long-term retirement savings.

Will accessing my super affect my insurance?

If you have insurance through your super, you will need to make sure you retain enough funds in your super account to meet your regular premiums. Otherwise your insurance cover may be cancelled.

More details about COVID-19 and insurance cover.

I’m a member of the LGS Retirement or the Defined Benefit Scheme. Can I withdraw money if I need it?

You may be able to withdraw money from your super if you are in financial distress and meet the ATO’s eligibility criteria.

However, if you are a member of the LGS Retirement Scheme or the Defined Benefit Scheme, you can only withdraw money from specific parts of your super.

You will need to contact us for more information.

Can I cancel my payment if I change my mind?

Yes, if you contact us before the payment is made, we can cancel the payment and retain the funds in your super account. However, you will not be able to re-apply for temporary early release of your super.

Can I re-contribute any money I don’t spend back into my super?

You can re-contribute some of these funds back into your super but it’s important to remember that the normal concessional and non-concessional contribution caps will apply.

The information on this website is of a general nature only and does not take into account your personal objectives, situation or needs. You should consider obtaining professional financial, taxation and or legal advice tailored to your personal circumstances prior to making any financial decision.