Can COVID-19 Patients Avail Themselves of Superannuation?

For those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, superannuation may be a viable alternative to regular wages.

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to affect millions of people financially, many are left with no choice but to seek out other options to support their livelihood. This becomes even more apparent for those who test positive for the virus. They may need to stop working, which can be problematic if they are their household’s main or sole earner of income. One of the options that COVID-19 patients can look into is superannuation.

What is Superannuation?

Superannuation is a regular payment that an employee makes to a fund for their future pension. Ideally, it is paid out when the contributor retires. However, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the government made recent changes that allow those impacted by the virus to apply for an early release of their superannuation.

Depending on your eligibility, you can get as much as $10,000 from April 20 to June 30, 2020, and another $10,000 from July 1 to September 24, 2020. Each person can make one withdrawal for each financial year.

How to Know If You Are Eligible

In order to qualify, you must meet one or more of the following eligibility requirements:

  • You are currently unemployed;
  • You are qualified to get a jobseeker payment, parenting payment, youth allowance for jobseekers, or special benefit or farm household allowance;
  • On or after 1 January 2020, your working hours were reduced by 20% or more, or your role was made redundant. If you are a sole trader, you had your business suspended, or there was a reduction of 20% or more in turnover.

Superannuation is a regular payment that an employee makes to a fund for their future pension.

What Steps Should I Follow?

You can start the process by applying via your government’s taxation office. Once you are approved, you can receive confirmation. The approval process lasts for four days. Remember that you cannot directly apply to your super fund. Your taxation office will then send your insurance provider with the approved request so you can receive your payment. Ideally, you should receive your money within five days from the initial approval. If you encounter problems with your superannuation release, you can connect with lawyers who understand your claim.

How Do I Know My Super Balance?

Generally, you should verify if your super balance is enough before making your claim. You can check your super balance via online services. Note that your balance will be indicated as an “as at” or “effective” date of the balance. When you see this, it may mean that there were changes to your account balance.

After this, you can log in on your insurance provider’s dashboard to check your current account balance, or you can look for the last statement sent to you either via regular mail or email.

Out-of-Country Citizens’ Eligibility

Citizens who are living in a different country being impacted by the coronavirus pandemic are still eligible to claim their super fund. This applies to all citizens and permanent residents. Temporary residents are also eligible to claim the stimulus package, but they must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • You currently hold a student visa for 12 months or more and are able to prove that you cannot support living expenses;
  • You hold a temporary skilled work visa, and your working hours are zero, but you are currently working for an employer;
  • You hold a temporary resident visa, and you cannot support your daily living expenses.

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing significant changes to the way people live. It is a hard battle to fight. Thankfully, you have superannuation to rely on if you’re in a tough spot. Use the money wisely because we are still living in an uncertain time. Keeping an amount tucked away for future use or emergencies is highly advisable.

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