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Millions raid $36bn from super funds: When will you get yours?

Anastasia Santoreneos
·3-min read
Woman pulling $100 notes from her wallet.
Millions raid $36bn from super funds: When will you get yours? Source: Getty

Million of Australians have raided their superannuation, pulling a total of $36 billion from their retirement savings, data from the banking regulator has revealed.

3.4 million Aussies tapped into their nest egg in the first round, which ended on 30 June 2020.

More than 1 million withdrew their super twice, with the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) logging 4.7 million payments in total as of 20 December 2020.

More than 20,000 applications were made over the week to 20 December alone, 7,000 of which were repeat applications. The average withdrawal was $7,643 overall, and $8,284 when considering repeat applications only.

When can I expect my super to be paid to me?

The deadline to access your super early was 31 December 2020, with the Australian Taxation Office confirming that any applications approved on 30 or 31 December will be sent to funds on 6 January.

The official guideline for payment processing time is five business days, but according to APRA, it has taken around 3.3 business days for funds to process payments since the scheme’s inception.

That means it’s likely you’ll receive your payment early next week, or this time next week.

What is the long-term impact of accessing my super?

Money taken out of your super can have a long-term impact on your nest egg.

Figures from the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees found that a 20-year-old woman who took $20,000 from her super could lose as much as $120,000 from her balance by retirement.

A 30-year-old who also took $20,000 from their super could lose around $100,000, while a 40-year-old stands to lose around $63,000.

I took my super out. What can I do?

If you’re concerned about the long-term effects of taking out your super, RateCity research director Sally Tindall suggests you try and replenish it over time.

“The reality is, some people will have no alternative but to tap into their super,” she said.

“If you do, try to put the money back when you’re on your feet again to minimise the long-term fallout.”

Can I still access my super early?

You can no longer access your superannuation early under the COVID-19 withdrawal scheme, as the deadline for that passed on 31 December at 11:59pm AEDT.

However, you may be able to withdraw your super on some compassionate grounds, for example if you need money to pay for:

  • Medical treatment for you or your dependant;

  • Palliative care for you or your dependant;

  • Making a payment on a home loan or council rates so you don’t lose your home;

  • Accommodating a disability for you or your dependant;

  • Expenses associated with the death, funeral or burial of your dependant.

You can also access your super if you’re experiencing severe financial hardship, but you will need to meet both of these conditions:

  • You have received eligible government income support payments continuously for 26 weeks; and

  • You are not able to meet reasonable and immediate family living expenses.

You should contact your super fund if you decide to release your super early for those reasons, or you can visit the ATO website for more information.

Is it illegal to access my super early?

Releasing your super early when you don’t meet the proper criteria is illegal, and can be costly.

You’ll have to pay interest and penalties on your super if you have accessed it illegally, and your assessable income will include the withdrawn amount even if you return it to the super fund later, the ATO states.

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