COVID-19: Your super and available assistance

Last updated: 13 August 2021

Withdrawing your super

The Government has made it easier to access super early if you need financial relief as a result of the disruption caused by COVID-19. A tax-free withdrawal of up to $10,000 was available from 20 April until 30 June 2020 and another $10,000 is available from 1 July until 31 December 2020.

Treasury has released a detailed fact sheet outlining the process for claiming early access to super

Early release processing times

We are processing your requests as quickly as possible. Withdrawals are generally processed within 5 to 10 working days from the date your application has been approved by the ATO. 

Eligibility for early withdrawal 

You will be eligible for Early Release under the new rules if you are a citizen or permanent resident of Australia and New Zealand and:

  • you are unemployed; or
  • you are eligible to receive a job seeker payment, youth allowance for jobseekers, parenting payment, special benefit or farm household allowance; or
  • on or after 1 January 2020:
  • you were made redundant
  • your working hours were reduced by 20% or more, or
  • you are a sole trader whose business was suspended or your turnover reduced by 20% or more.

Withdrawals will be tax-free and will not affect Centrelink or Veteran's Affair's payments.

Treasury has released a detailed fact sheet outlining the process for claiming early access to super.

View fact sheet

Important considerations before you apply

Before applying for early release, you need to check your: 

  • eligibility, and
  • insurance cover.

You also need to consider the potential effect of a withdrawal on your retirement savings. 

Your eligibility

To apply for early release through the ATO as a result of COVID-19, you will need to self-certify with the ATO that you have lost income due to at least one of the eligibility criteria listed above.  You should check your eligibility before you apply.

Your insurance cover

If you have insurance cover attached to your super account, that cover will cease if you close your account (due to withdrawing all the funds) or you no longer have a high enough balance to pay the premiums (fees). Many TWUSUPER members have automatic Death and TPD cover through their super, and some have Income Protection cover. You can check your current insurance arrangements, and your balance, by logging in to Member Online.

Your retirement outcome

It's also important to understand that withdrawing your super early may mean that you miss out on longer-term compound interest, which could put you at greater risk of falling short when you need the money later on. 

If you're concerned about how withdrawing super early might affect your retirement balance in the years to come, you can discuss it with us. We can give general advice over the phone. Call 1800 222 071 between 9am and 5pm (AEST/AEDT weekdays). Please note that calls may take longer to answer than usual at this busy time.

How to apply 

Since 20 April 2020, the Government has been accepting applications for early release online through myGov

COVID-19 and your insurance

Most TWUSUPER members have death and total and permanent disablement (TPD) insurance cover included with their super. If you have insurance cover on your account, there are some important things you need to remember at this time.

Find out more about end-of-cover conditions and how Income Protection cover may be affected if you're not working.

Find out more

Pandemic cover

As a result of TWUSUPER's discussions with TAL on behalf of our members, the insurer has removed the pandemic exclusion from the Fund’s Insurance Policy. This means members who have insurance with TWUSUPER are covered for pandemics - including COVID-19. Note that conditions apply.

Find out more about your insurance with TWUSUPER.

Insurance and COVID-19

Market returns and your super

Sharemarkets remain volatile, with investors uncertain about how long it will take for things to return to normal.

It’s normal for investor sentiment to change – investors who are confident about financial markets can quickly become nervous about them. The opposite is also true. Recoveries can sometimes happen very quickly, and we’ve possibly seen some of that recovery already.

TWUSUPER will continue to monitor investment markets and work with our asset consultant to update our investment strategy and identify any opportunities that may arise.

Latest update

Super Pensions

The Government has temporarily changed the deeming and minimum drawdown rates for everyone with an account-based pension (Retirement Super Pension). This also applies to account-based pensions drawn as part of a Transition to Retirement Strategy (Pre-retirement Super Pension).

Drawdown rate reduced by 50%

The minimum drawdown requirements for all TransPension accounts has been reduced by 50% for 2019-20 and 2020-21. This measure may benefit retirees by reducing the need to sell investment assets to fund minimum drawdown requirements. For the full list of drawdown rates, see Working out your pension payments.

See drawdown rates

Changes to the deeming rate

Deeming is the way the Government calculates income from financial assets. Deeming assumes that money you have invested in financial assets is earning a certain amount of income regardless of the actual return. 

As of May 2020, the upper deeming rate is 2.25% and the lower deeming rate is 0.25%. The reductions reflect low interest rates and the impact on savings income. According to Treasury, around 565,000 people on the Age Pension will, on average, receive around $324 more from the Age Pension in the first full year that the reduced rates apply.

Treasury has provided worked examples on how these changes could help a single on a part-pension, and a couple on the full pension.

See worked examples