Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic impact on superannuation balance

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has led to global investment markets deteriorating rapidly, and this has impacted super account balances.

During this time of uncertainty, it’s important to remember that market fluctuations are a normal part of investing. Overtime markets generally recover, and that by staying invested, members will benefit from any rebound.

Under AFCA’s rules, we cannot handle complaints solely about the investment performance of a financial investment, unless the complaint is about non-disclosure of information or misrepresentation. AFCA is also required to exclude complaints that relate to the management of the fund as a whole.

The best way to submit a complaint to AFCA is through our easy to use online form. If you have any questions or can't access the form, call our hotline on 1800 337 444.

More information on making a complaint to AFCA about superannuation

Early release of superannuation

The Government is allowing individuals affected by the coronavirus pandemic to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in the 2019-20 financial year and a further $10,000 in 2020-21.

Can I get early access to my super?

To apply for early release, you must satisfy 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
    • your working hours were reduced by 20 per cent or more
    • you're a sole trader and your business was suspended or there was a reduction in your turnover of 20 per cent or more.

You won't pay tax on super you withdraw and it won't affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.

When can I apply for access to my super?

Applications for early release of super are accepted through myGov.

More information is available on the ATO website.

What are the application periods? 

Applications can be made until 30 June 2020 for this financial year and from 1 July 2020 until 24 September 2020 for the next financial year.

For the latest information on the application process, visit the ATO website.

When will I get the money?

If the ATO approves your application for early release, the ATO will send you a letter of approval (usually through your myGov account) and upload an electronic file for your super fund to access by 11am the next business day. Your super fund will usually be able to process payment of your approved release within 5 business days of your file being available. 

In some cases, it may take a few days longer; for example, if the information on the ATO file does not match the super fund’s records about you. In these situations, the super fund may need to seek clarification to make sure it is paying the money to the right person. 

The super fund will release the money to the bank or credit union account you nominated in your ATO application (unless there is a problem with the account). Some super funds will let you know when the money has been paid to your account or you can check with your nominated bank or credit union.

What if the super fund is taking too long?

You can complain to AFCA if you think your super fund is taking too long to pay the money to your bank or credit union account. Before complaining to AFCA, you should allow at least 5 business days from when your electronic approval file was available for the trustee to access from the ATO.

Use our online form to make a complaint.

Can I still get access to my super direct from my super fund? 

The current processes for existing categories of compassionate release of super and severe financial hardship will continue as is and are unaffected by the coronavirus changes in process.

Can I claim an income protection benefit through my super fund because I can’t work due to coronavirus?

Generally cover is limited to ceasing work due to injury or illness. You can contact your super fund to discuss your circumstances and any possible claim.

Useful links