Accessing your superannuation during COVID-19

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It is a stressful time for many people right now, with many Queenslanders facing money problems and concerns about how they are going to make ends meet.

People affected by the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21.

However, before deciding to withdraw any of your superannuation Moneysmart, a project of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), recommends you investigate other options.  Money you take out now will be money you don’t have in retirement.

Check to see if you can claim government payments

As part of the COVID-19 response, the federal government has announced specific payments to help people in need.

  1. Income support payments – crisis payments and a temporary fortnightly $550 coronavirus supplement
  2. Household support payments – two automatic $750 Economic Support Payments
  3. JobKeeper payment – $1,500 a fortnight for six months may be available to employers to keep paying eligible employees whose hours have been cut.

Additionally, if you are eligible, you will not need to pay child care fees when you access child care between 6 April and 28 June 2020 under the Child Care Subsidy.

Contact the hardship team

Many companies have special arrangements or hardship programs in place to help clients, including banks and lenders, energy companies and telecommunications companies. Call your service provider and ask for their financial hardship team. Find out more about hardship programs for different service providers here.

For home loans, you may be able to change the terms of your loan, or temporarily pause or reduce payments for six months. For more information, visit the Moneysmart website.

Check your entitlements

If you have lost your job, you may be entitled to final payments. Ask your employer or check your contract to see if you are entitled to redundancy or retrenchment payments, or annual leave and long service payouts. You can use the Fair Work Ombudsman’s Notice and Redundancy Calculator to work out what you are entitled to.

The Fair Work Ombudsman website has information on ending your employment, including what you are entitled to in your final pay.

Check your insurance and superannuation

If you have life insurance, check your policy for redundancy insurance. Some policies have an option for income protection, which may help financially in the short-term. You may also have income protection with your superannuation fund, so it is important to check with your fund.

According to Moneysmart, more than 70 per cent of Australians that have life insurance hold it through their super.

However, if your super balance falls below zero or is too low you may lose your life and income protection cover. Visit the Moneysmart website for more information.

Calculate the impact on your retirement savings

Your superannuation is your retirement savings. Money you take out now will be money you don’t have in retirement. To understand more about your personal income in retirement, use Moneysmart’s retirement planner.

Consider what impact drawing super today will have on your retirement with the Super withdrawal estimator.

Talk to a financial counsellor

The National Debt Helpline can provide free advice over the phone and, if necessary, refer you to a financial counsellor. A financial counsellor may assess your financial situation, give advice, directly advocate with financial and utility companies, SPER, Buy Now Pay Later companies (including payday lenders) and consumer lease companies, and give general advice options.  Call 1800 007 007.

For more information on what to do if you are struggling to pay a bill, visit the Community Door website.

If you need help now, visit Community Door’s Emergency Relief page.

20 April 2020