On 22 March 2020 the Australian Government announced changes to provide financial assistance to Australians to support them through the Coronavirus. Part of this assistance includes temporary early release of superannuation.
Compulsory Preserved Accounts (CPA), Investment 12 accounts and CPA12 accounts are the only RBF account types that are eligible for COVID-19 early release payments.
If you are an active contributor to your defined benefit account or hold a Family Law non member spouse entitlement, then you are not eligible for early release, and any approval provided by the ATO will not be valid and RBF will decline your application.
Active members of the Contributory Scheme, the Fire and Ambulance Schemes and our life pensioners are not eligible to access any of their benefit under these arrangements.
If you have superannuation separate to RBF, then provided you meet the eligibility criteria, you may be able to access some of your benefits from those funds under these new rules.
Eligible RBF members are to apply for early release through the myGov website www.my.gov.au.
When you start the application process on the myGov website, you are required to confirm that you have checked that your fund will allow an early release of your super.
Members who satisfy the eligibility criteria are able to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation for the 2019-20 financial year (applications closed 30 June 2020) and an additional amount of up to $10,000 during 2020-21 (applications made from 1 July 2020 until 31 December 2020 - this was originally ending 24 September 2020 and has been extended by the Australian Government).
To be clear, we are not able to take direct applications from eligible members - this will need to be done through the myGov website. We will act on instructions from the ATO in releasing these payments to eligible members - it is the ATO that approves the payments.
Please note that any CPA12 members that seek to access a portion of their entitlements through this measure will forfeit the right to use the pension conversion factor of 12.
As always, we strongly encourage members to seek advice from a licensed financial planner who is authorised to provide personal financial, superannuation and retirement planning advice that has regard to your personal circumstances.
For further details about this Australian Government response: