The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has set out new guidelines for the early release of superannuation for Australians financially impacted by COVID-19.
In a statement, Assistant Minister for Superannuation, Financial Services and Financial Technology Jane Hume said the government applauds APRA for directing super funds to make early release payments to members as soon as practicable, after approval and direction from the ATO.
In the vast majority of cases, this should be no longer than five business days.
“I welcome this guidance from APRA. Given the importance of cash flow for many people at this critical time, the Morrison government expects super funds to be paying members their money as quickly as possible, and within five business days,” Ms Hume said.
“We understand this is a very challenging time for all Australians. These measures will ensure that Australians impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic will receive this vital financial support as quickly as possible.”
Ms Hume opined that this is an opportunity for the super funds to demonstrate their commitment to their members at the time they need it the most.
Australians can access up to $10,000 of their superannuation before 1 July 2020, and a further $10,000 from 1 July until 24 September 2020, under the government’s early release of super scheme.
According to eligibility criteria published by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), individuals who seek access to the scheme must be either unemployed; eligible for some type of government assistance (JobSeeker); made redundant on or after 1 January 2020; had their hours reduced by at least 20 per cent; or are a sole trader with a drop in turnover of 20 per cent or more.
Early registrations of interest can be made via my.gov.au while formal applications will open on 20 April.
Eligibility and access information is available here.