Early access to your super

August 20 | 5 min read

Updated 31 December 2020

Applications to the ATO for early release for your super due to coronavirus closed on 31 December 2020. Other grounds for early release, like financial hardship, may be available to eligible members.

Updated 20 August 2020

Updated 24 July 2020

Government announcements

The Government announced that individuals affected by the Coronavirus will be allowed to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and can make a second application of up to $10,000 in 2020-21 prior to 31 December 2020. The measure was due to end on 24 September 2020 originally but the Government has announced that this measure will be extended until 31 December 2020.

To date the scheme has been well received by Australians with more than 2.1 applications received and $14.8b of payments.

ATO takes firm stand on Early Release compliance

The ATO will be acting where people deliberately exploit the system and access superannuation under the early release measures when they should not.

The ATO has stated it has a variety of data sources to check for claims that were made incorrectly including Single Touch Payroll (STP), income tax returns and information reported by super funds.

Behaviours that attract the ATO’s attention include:

  • applying when there is no change to your regular salary and wage, or employment information
  • artificially arranging your affairs to meet the eligibility criteria
  • making false statements or fraudulent attempts to meet the eligibility criteria
  • withdrawing and recontributing super for a tax advantage.

The ATO has updated it’s early release web content with compliance information stating that those who provide false or misleading information could face penalties of more than $12,000 for each false and misleading statement.


Updated 1 May 2020

Who’s eligible

To apply for early release, you must satisfy any one or more of the following requirements:

  • you are unemployed; or
  • 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; or
  • 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.

Vision Super is not required to make Early Release payments from defined benefit accounts under the law. However, these will be treated on a case by case basis and all members will be contacted to discuss available options.

Those who do access their super won’t pay tax on the amounts released, also the money withdrawn will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.

Please note: if you wish to access your super you need to apply to the ATO. You will not be able to apply through Vision Super directly.

It is important, however, we have your correct contact details. You can check and update your details by logging in to Members Online or the Vision Super app.

Superannuation was introduced to help us save for retirement but irrespective of how far away retirement might be for you (a long way away or just around the corner), you need to consider the real cost to your future before you dip into your super.

Before you make a decision, it is important to understand that $20,000 in your super today will likely be worth more than $20,000 by the time you retire. Why? Because of compound interest. Compound interest is interest that includes “interest on the interest” previously earned. This is where interest earned is added to the balance so that when interest is applied next it’s calculated on a larger balance.

Try our Super modeller calculator first

If you’re considering withdrawing money from your superannuation, have a look at our calculator first. After putting in some personal details into the Super Modeller calculator, you can see how taking a lump sum out of super will affect your account over the long term.

Super modeller calculator >

Remember, super is a long-term investment and any changes or withdrawals you do today, may affect your balance upon retirement, regardless how far away that is!

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