accessing your super

Super is your savings for your future, so there are some rules around when you can access it. Generally you need to wait until retirement, but sometimes (if you really need it) you can access it sooner.

Coronavirus and early access

 

From 1 July 2020 until  31 December 2020, you can apply through myGov for early release of up to $10,000 from your super for the 2020/2021 financial year. 
 

 Applications will be assessed by the ATO for eligibility in line with the criteria set by the government - you need to apply through myGov.

 

 

Processing your payment safely

We understand this is a very difficult time for everyone in our community.  Please know our staff are doing their best to support you. We expect everyone, including our staff, to be treated with courtesy and respect, and will terminate any abusive calls to our contact centre. By working together, we can support each other through this time.

You may have seen recent media coverage of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) detecting a small amount of alleged fraudulent activity related to early access to super. The ATO says this activity was stopped and those affected contacted. 

We understand members accessing their super early are facing financial difficulty. We’re working as quickly as possible to ensure you receive your money safely.

We’re paying most applications within five business days. Where this may have taken longer, it’s been to ensure we have checked data and conducted further verification to safeguard members’ super.

 

Before you apply

Help us ensure you receive your payment quickly, safely and correctly.

Make sure:

  • your personal details are updated with HESTA before you lodge your application with the ATO. If these are changed after we receive the ATO approval, we’ll need to complete additional security checks and this will delay your payment
  • the bank details you enter on your ATO application are exactly as they appear on your bank statement (including your account name). Our system automatically loads the data we receive from the ATO and payments are transferred using this data. If details are not exact, your bank will reject the payment and send it back to us
  • the account you want your payment made to can accept external funds. Term deposits cannot accept extra money during the term of the account and many online or incentive saver accounts can only accept transfers from other accounts in your name held with the same banking institution. If you ask us to pay into an account that doesn’t accept external funds, your bank will reject the payment and send it back to us.

 

What happens if my payment is rejected? 

HESTA submits payment to bank Bank rejects payment and notifies HESTA  HESTA resubmits payment to bank Bank deposits
payment into
your account
2 business days 7 business days 5 business days Minimum 1-3
business days (can be longer for building
society or credit union)

We want all our members to receive their payments as quickly as possible. Making sure all your details are correct is essential to receiving your payment.

 

Am I eligible?

The ATO decides who is eligible, not HESTA.

If your application is approved, the ATO will let us know.

To be eligible to apply for early release on compassionate grounds under the temporary changes, you must meet any one or more of the following requirements:

  • be unemployed; or
  • be 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; or
  • on or after 1 January 2020, you were made redundant; or had your working hours reduced by 20 per cent or more; or
  • you're a sole trader and your business was suspended or there was a reduction in your turnover of 20 per cent or more.

 

 

Can temporary residents apply?

No, temporary residents can no longer apply.  They were eligible to apply for up to a $10,000 release for the financial year 2019/20 only.

 

How do I apply?

You need to apply online through myGov and certify you meet the eligibility criteria. If your application is approved, the ATO will let us know.

Check we have your correct details via your online account (you can also update your name using the Change of member details form).

We recommend you seek advice before you decide whether to apply.

 

How long will it take to receive my super payment?

When your payment is approved by the ATO, they will let HESTA know the next business day.

Allow 5-7 business days for HESTA to process the payment and another 2-3 business days for payments to be electronically deposited, depending on your bank.

ATO 2 days
HESTA 2-5 business days
Your bank - 2 business days

This information is current as at 20/4/20. While every attempt has been made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information, it is not guaranteed in any way.

 

 

 

Why does it take this long?

Our standard Proof of ID for payments has been waived on these claims. But we still need to make sure the money is paid safely to our members, and no one else. So we run Fraud Prevention checks to keep your payment safe.

As added protection, we'll send you an SMS when we receive notice from the ATO. You'll then have 24 hours to alert us if you didn't request the  payment.

 

 

Will I need to pay tax on the withdrawal?

No. Benefits released on compassionate grounds - coronavirus - are not taxed and the funds withdrawn will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.

 

 

What if I have already made a claim for financial hardship or compassionate grounds?

There are different tax treatments to benefits paid on financial hardship to those under the temporary Compassionate Grounds – coronavirus. 

If you have already made a claim for financial hardship with your Fund, you should consider whether you should make a claim under the new rules.

Payments under the new rules are tax free. Payments under financial hardship may be subject to tax.

If you have already made a claim for compassionate grounds with the ATO you should contact them on 13 10 20 to understand how the new rules may impact your claim. 

 

 

Insurance and coronavirus

Your insurance through HESTA covers you for pandemics including the coronavirus. So, if you currently have death, TPD or income protection within your HESTA super account, we’ve got you covered.

Remember, if you apply for early release of super and withdraw your whole balance, your account will close and you'll lose any insurance cover you have with us. Check your cover now in your online account.

Here are some other things you need to know.

 

Your insurance cover will continue for as long as you have enough money in your account to pay the insurance fees, and you are not inactive. You are considered inactive if no contributions or rollovers are received for 16 consecutive months. This means your insurance cover will stop, unless you’ve told us you want to keep it.

If your account balance reduces to zero, you’ll lose any insurance cover you have with us.

You can check how much insurance cover you have and tell us if you want to keep your cover if you become inactive in your online account.

 

Yes, you can. If your insurance cover ended because you didn’t have enough money in your account to pay the insurance fees, you can reinstate cover by making a contribution into your account that will cover the insurance fees. However, you must make a contribution or receive a rollover within 7 months of having a nil balance otherwise your account will be closed. Read more about when we will close an account in Other Information.

The cover that is reinstated is Standard Cover: two units of Income Protection Cover and two units of Death Cover with New Events Cover restriction.

The New Events Cover restriction will apply for two years if you are under age 55 and a HESTA super member (those who joined through a Fund Employer). If you’re a HESTA Personal Super member or are aged 55 or over, New Events Cover restriction will continue unless you apply to remove it.

You can apply to remove the New Events Cover restriction through your online account. Removal of the restriction is subject to the approval of our insurer. Read Insurance Options for details.

 

New Events Cover means you are only covered for claims arising from a sickness which first becomes apparent, or an injury which first occurs, on or after the date cover last commenced, or was reinstated. Read more about this in Insurance Options.

 

Unfortunately no. Income Protection Cover protects your income when you are temporarily or permanently unable to work due to injury or illness. Changes to employment for other reasons aren’t eligible to be claimed.

Yes, you can submit a claim on your Income Protection Cover to help you through this period if your cover is current and you’re unable to work due to illness. There are no specific exclusions on your cover because of COVID-19.  

Your eligibility to claim will depend on your personal circumstances, for example, how long you have been actively employed before being diagnosed and ceasing work due to your illness.

Our insurer has confirmed there will be no impact on claims decisions due to COVID-19. You still need to meet the relevant policy terms to be eligible for the income protection benefit, including satisfying the appropriate waiting period before any payments can commence.

 

Yes. Our insurer will not assess your claim any differently if you pass away because of coronavirus.

 

Our insurer has confirmed that if you lose your job, are stood down or have reduced working hours due to COVID-19, your TPD Cover will not be affected if you need to make a claim.

This aims to help our members who:

  • were working in their normal capacity on 11 March 2020 (when the COVID-19 pandemic was declared)
  • have had reduced working hours or lost their job due to COVID-19 since 11 March 2020
  • became totally and permanently disabled as a result of an illness or injury between 11 March 2020 and 27 September 2020 inclusive
  • have maintained their TPD Cover at the time they become totally and permanently disabled, and
  • lodge their completed claim form on or before 1 January 2021.

If you meet these criteria, we’ll assess your TPD claim against the disability definition that would have applied based on your working arrangements as at 11 March 2020.

 

Having the right level of insurance cover can give you and your family peace of mind about your financial future. You can apply for insurance cover at any time by completing the insurance cover application through your online account.

You will be asked questions about your past and current health and your health in relation to the coronavirus. All applications for insurance are subject to the approval of our insurer and the terms and conditions they place on the cover. The insurer may also reject your application based on your occupation, your health or your medical history.

 

We recognise some people may find it difficult right now to obtain proof of medical requirements.

If you have difficulty meeting our routine evidence requirements, our insurer has developed principles and guidance on how to progress the assessment of your claim without further delay.

 

Our insurer provides health coaching to support you if you’ve been impacted by COVID-19. Here are some new ways our insurer AIA’s rehabilitation programs can help you when making an insurance claim.

 

CancerAid

  • To address the mental health impact caused by pandemic-related anxiety, the CancerAid Coach Program now provides all new, ongoing and past program participants with in-app and email messages from CancerAid. They provide peer-reviewed and medically reliable information from peak bodies about COVID-19, including practical tips and information from Cancer Australia.
  • This information can help patients receiving or recovering from treatment to better manage their care and reduce the risk of infection. In addition to this, CancerAid has provided a COVID-19 module to the program.

 

Mind Coach

  • AIA has developed a COVID-19 module in their Mind Coach program to help members who are feeling overwhelmed.
  • The Mind Coach program gives you your own personal health coach, who uses Cognitive Behavioural Therapy-based principles to help you with your recovery.
  • You can access seven weekly telehealth sessions if you’re struggling with depression and/or anxiety.
  • This program is for all members whether you have an existing claim or a new one.

 

Mentemia

  • Mentemia is a wellbeing app for everybody, every day. It’s been developed to help manage stress, anxiety, and worries we might be experiencing during these challenging times.
  • The app provides a range of tools full of practical tips and techniques to help support mental wellbeing – so you can function well and thrive.
  • AIA has provided funding to allow Mentemia to be available for free for all Australians for the next six months.
  • Download Mentemia for free from the App Store and Google Play.

 

In development – Health Coach

To support members who experience chronic lung disease as a result of COVID-19, AIA will provide seven tele-health coaching sessions delivered via exercise physiologists.

This will include education on available support, including Lung Foundation Australia resources, the importance of exercise and an exercise prescription.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Are you facing financial hardship?
 
You might be eligible to claim some of your super.
 
Who can apply?


You can apply for one payment of up to $10,000 gross (which is before tax) in a 12-month period if:

  • you’ve received eligible Commonwealth Government income support payments for at least 26 continuous weeks
  • are currently receiving these payments
  • you are unable to meet reasonable and immediate living expenses.

You can apply for any amount if:

  • you’ve reached your preservation age plus 39 weeks
  • you’ve received eligible Commonwealth Government income support payments for at least 39 cumulative weeks since reaching your preservation age
  • you are currently either unemployed, or you are employed for less than 10 hours a week.
 
 
 

 

Do you have compassionate needs?
 
There are 'compassionate grounds' on which super can be released early. They relate to medical treatment, funeral assistance, and palliative care.
 
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) deals with the early release of super on compassionate grounds.
 
To access the ATO application form, go here or visit ato.gov.au linked services in myGov. Alternatively call the ATO on 13 10 20.
 
 
 
 

 

Eligibility comparison table

 

Compassionate grounds due to coronavirus

Compassionate grounds for medical reasons

Financial hardship

Eligibility criteria

To apply for early release of super to help you through the coronavirus pandemic you must meet any 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: you were made redundant; or your working hours were reduced by 20 per cent or more; or if you are a sole trader - your business was suspended or there was a reduction in your turnover of 20 per cent or more.

To access your super for medical reasons you’ll need to prove you’re unable to meet the expenses for one or more of the following:

- medical treatment and medical transport for you or a dependant

- palliative care for you or a dependant

- making a payment on a loan or council rates so you don't lose your home

- modifying your home or vehicle, or buying disability aids for you or a dependant because of a severe disability

- expenses associated with a death, funeral or burial for a dependant.

 

1. You can apply for up to $10,000 once every 12 months if:

- you’re currently receiving an eligible income support payment, and

- have received it for 26 continuous weeks, and

- are struggling to meet reasonable and immediate family living expenses including housing or accommodation costs, outstanding bills and food expenses.

2. You can apply for any amount if:

- you’ve reached your preservation age plus 39 weeks, and

- you’ve received eligible Commonwealth Government income support payments for at least 39 cumulative weeks since reaching your preservation age, and

- you’re currently either unemployed, or you are employed for less than 10 hours a week.

Maximum amounts and periods

$10,000 in the 2019/20 financial year and a further $10,000 in the 2020/21 financial year.

The Australian Tax Office determines the amount to be released from your super fund.

$10,000 once every 12 months if you meet eligibility criteria in point 1 (above).

Any amount if you meet eligibility criteria in point 2 (above).

Who decides

The Australian Tax Office

The Australian Tax Office

HESTA

Tax/ Centrelink implications

These amounts are tax free and the money withdrawn will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.

The amount is paid and taxed as a lump sum. If you’re aged under 60 the amount will be taxed between 17% and 22%. If you’re aged over 60, the amount will be tax-free.

The amount is paid and taxed as a lump sum. If you’re aged under 60 the amount will be taxed between 17% and 22%. If you’re aged over 60, the amount will be tax-free.

Where to apply

The Australian Tax Office via myGov

The Australian Tax Office via myGov

HESTA

 

 

 

 

Are you are a temporary resident?
 
If you're a temporary Australian resident, you can claim your super when you permanently leave the country.
 
Temporary Australian residents can also access super before they leave, but only under certain conditions.
 
Go to the ATO's Departing Australia Superannuation Payment (DASP) online application system for more information.
 
 
 
 

 

Have you been affected by the recent bushfires?
 
If you've been affected by the recent bushfire crisis and need to discuss your super, we're here to help.
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

When can you access your super?

One of the first things to understand about accessing your super are the 'preservation rules' which the government has put in place.

One of these rules is that contributions and investment earnings added to your super after 1 July 1999 are preserved (meaning you can't touch it) until certain conditions are met.

We suggest you seek financial advice before accessing your super. That way, you can get the information you need to make the right financial decisions.