Our COVID-19 approach

Updated: 28 September 2020

As the situation around COVID-19 (coronavirus) continues to change, we want to keep you updated on what we are doing to ensure we remained focus on the financial and personal wellbeing of our members and employees.

As the situation around COVID-19 (coronavirus) continues to rapidly evolve, we want to keep you updated on what we are doing to ensure the financial and personal wellbeing of our members and employees remain our focus.

Similar to many organisations, we have implemented a range of measures to ensure that the Fund continues to support your superannuation needs.

These measures includes the addition of resources to respond to an increased volume of enquiries from our members. Consequently, we seek your understanding and patience when communicating with us.

Rather than wait on the phone, you can check your super balance, review your investment strategy and much more via our member portal. You may also find an answer to your question below or on our FAQs page.

We will continue to monitor the situation and encourage you to visit this page regularly for the latest updates.

How we can support you

  • The investment market and your super

    Since the Fund began in 1981, we’ve experienced periods of strong economic conditions and downturns. Regardless of market conditions, we’ve been helping our members manage their super and have been independently recognised for our high quality services. 

    We understand you may be concerned and have questions around the impact of the volatility in investment markets on your super. We’ve answered some common questions we’ve been receiving from our members on this page and encourage you to have a read. 

    If you have further questions, email or call us.

     
  • Temporary early access to your super

    If you’ve been financially affected by COVID-19 and meet the eligibility requirements, you can apply to access up to $10,000 of your super before 31 December 2020.

    Members accessing their super will not need to pay tax on the amounts released and the money they withdraw will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.

    To apply for early release, eligible citizens and permanent residents of Australia or New Zealand must satisfy any one or more of the following requirements:

    - you are unemployed; or

    - you are eligible to receive a Job Seeker payment, Youth Allowance for jobseekers, parenting payment (which includes the single and partnered payments), special benefit or farm household allowance; or

    - on or after 1 January 2020:

    • - you were made redundant;
      - your working hours were reduced by 20 per cent or more; or
      - if you are a sole trader and your business was suspended or there was a reduction in your turnover of 20 per cent or more.

    Please apply directly to the ATO via www.my.gov.au

    After the ATO has processed your application, they will issue a determination to you and the Fund directly. If your application is approved, we will contact you to finalise the withdrawal.

    Applications for early release of superannuation will close on 31 December 2020.

    For more information, visit the ATO website

    Please note that the ATO conducts checks to ensure that applicants are meeting the eligibility criteria for early withdrawal of their super and making sure that applicants are not providing false or misleading information. Read more on this

  • JobKeeper Payment

    The Government’s JobKeeper payment is aimed at keeping Australians in jobs and support businesses affected by the economic impact cause by COVID-19.

    Both employers and employees will need to meet some eligibility criteria before employees can receive the payment. Please visit the ATO website for more information.

  • Reduced drawdown for account-based pensions

    The Government has temporarily reduced superannuation minimum drawdown requirements for account-based pensions such as RetireSmart, RetireChoice and transition to retirement by 50 per cent for the 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 financial years. This is intended to assist retirees by reducing the need to sell their investments to fund minimum drawdown requirements.

    You can check your pension payments and make updates to the payment amount or payment frequency via the Member Portal.

    The Government has also reduced both the upper and lower social security deeming rates to benefit recipients of the Government’s age pension. Currently, the upper deeming rate is 2.25% and the lower deeming rate is 0.25%.

    Please visit the Government’s Treasury website to find out more about these changes.

  • Insurance cover

    What insurance cover do I have?

    You can check the type insurance cover you have by logging in to your account via our Member Portal.

    Are pandemics excluded from the Fund’s death, total and permanent disablement or income protection policies?

    Our policies do not have any exclusion clauses for pandemic illnesses, such as COVID-19 for any existing cover you may have.

    Applications for additional insurance cover are subject to assessment and acceptance by the Fund’s insurer.

    Can I make an Income Protection claim if I am no longer working?

    Income protection insurance covers you if you are unable to work due to an illness or an injury.

    You can submit a claim if you have been unable to work and ceased work because you have been medically diagnosed with COVID-19 or any other illness or injury. You will be required to meet all the eligibility conditions including the waiting period and relevant policy terms, before our insurer will assess your claim.

    The income protection policy does not cover you for periods of self-isolation or self quarantine if you have not been medically diagnosed with COVID-19. Additionally, your insurance policies with the Fund do not cover loss of income due to business closures, termination of employment or changes in your employment arrangements e.g. reduced work hours as a result of COVID-19.

    Please refer to the Insurance Factsheet to determine how your Income Protection will be calculated.

    If I am no longer working due to COVID19, are there changes to the eligibility for Total and Permanent Disablement (TPD) claims?

    The Fund’s insurer, are a participating life insurance member company to the Financial Services Council’s (FSC) COVID-19 total and permanent disability (TPD) claims initiative.

    This initiative has been put in place to prevent changes to TPD cover that may be automatically triggered as a result of customers having lost their job, being stood down or having to reduce their hours as a result of COVID-19. To be eligible you:

    • - must be working in yourtheir normal capacity on 11 March 2020;
    • - have had reduced working hours or lost their job due to COVID-19 since 11 March 2020;
    • - have become disabled, as a result of an illness or injury between 11 March 2020 and 1 January 2021 inclusive;
    • - have maintained your TPD cover at the time you become totally and permanently disabled and premiums continue to be paid; and
    • - lodge your completed claim form on or before 31 March 2021.

    Please refer to the Insurance Factsheet for full terms and conditions.

    What types of insurance cover do we provide?

    The three types of insurance that we provide through super include:

    1. Death cover (including terminal illness) – pays a lump sum to your beneficiaries if you die or suffer a terminal illness.
    2. Total and permanent disability (TPD) – pays a lump sum if you suffer an illness or injury that means you are unlikely to ever work again.
    3. Income protection (IP) – pays a monthly income while you are unable to work due to illness or injury. It is paid for a maximum time period (e.g. 2 years known as the benefit period), which can be changed to suit your requirements.

    Learn more here.

    How much insurance do I need?

    Your insurance needs – including death cover, TPD cover and income protection cover - will reflect your personal circumstances, which may include whether you are single, have a partner or a family.

    You may also want to work out how much money your family could receive if something happened to you and you lost your earning power. This may include savings, paid leave, shares, or superannuation. These amounts may be taken into account in determining how much you would then need in insurance.

    What are the benefits of having insurance?

    Insurance is about protecting people from financial difficulty after an unexpected event, like an illness, injury or death. Depending on the level of insurance cover and terms of the policy you may be covered for situations when you need it most. 

    The following are some of the benefits of getting your life insurance through super, such as;

    • - It's often cheaper because we purchase insurance policies in bulk.
    • - You can get the cover you need for you and your family, even if money is tight.
    • - It's easy to manage because premiums are automatically deducted from the balance of your account.
    • - Default cover may be provided to employer sponsored members without requiring a health check.
    • - You can apply to change the amount you want to be covered for.

     For further information visit the ASIC MoneySmart site.

    What are the drawbacks of insurance provided through superannuation?

    Some of the drawbacks include:

    • - Reduces super balance: The cost of insurance premiums are deducted from your super balance, reducing the money available for your retirement, if the investment returns for your account are lower than the total fees, premiums and taxes charged your account balance will decrease.
    • - Default Cover: The default amount and type of cover are not tailored to your individual circumstances.
    • - Subject to cancellation: If you change super funds; have an extended absence from your employer; your employer's super contributions stop or your account balance drops below a certain amount, your cover may cease and you could end up with no insurance.
    • - Ends at specific ages: income protection ends at age 65; Death and TPD insurance ends at age 70. Policies outside of super may cover you for longer.
    • - Multiple super accounts: If you have more than one super account, you may be paying premiums on multiple insurance policies. This could reduce your retirement money, especially where you can only claim on one policy.
    • - Premiums may increase or cover may decrease: Depending on your type of cover the amount you are insured for may decrease as you age or the cost of that cover may increase.

    For further information visit the ASIC MoneySmart site.

    What will happen if my insurance is cancelled?

    If it is cancelled, no further insurance premiums will be deducted and you will lose the ability to make an insurance claim, if your injury or illness occurs after that date. 

    Generally it’s not as easy as re-applying for insurance and your application will need to be assessed by our insurer. As part of this process you may need to provide some further information on your employment and medical conditions.

    What are the things I should consider in making a decision?

    Whether you currently hold insurance, are looking to take out insurance or want to opt-out, we recommend that you review your personal circumstances before making a decision, such as:

    • - your personal insurance needs
    • - your current level of cover
    • - cost of insurance cover
    • - super account balance
    • - insurance policy terms and conditions

    You can access details about your super and insurance through our member portal.

    Further information that may assist you, is available through the ASIC MoneySmart site.

    Will my insurance cover continue if my superannuation account closes?

    No, your insurance cover ceases when your superannuation account closes.

    What happens to my insurance cover if there is insufficient funds to pay the premiums?

    Your insurance cover will be terminated if there is not enough money in your account to pay the insurance premiums.

    Can I receive insurance cover in the future?

    You may receive the default insurance cover in the future if you meet the relevant criteria.

    Please refer to the Insurance Factsheet for full terms and conditions.

    Where can I get more information?

    If you are unsure about whether or not you should be taking any action, we encourage you to seek your own advice or contact our Member Services team on 1300 658 776.

    General

    All insurance cover is subject to the terms and conditions of the insurance policies. You can request a free copy of the insurance policies, and/or download the Insurance Factsheet

    We encourage you to review this page from time to time as the information may be updated with further guidance.

  • Easy access to your super account

    Rather than wait on the phone, you can access the following services when you log in to your account via the Member Portal:

    - Check your balances
    - Consolidate accounts
    - Make withdrawals
    - Check your insurance
    - View your Investment Earnings
    - Set up additional contributions
    - Review your investment strategies
    - Change your communication preferences

    If you have not already registered for online access, complete the registration form here

    You may also find an answer to your question on our FAQs page.

  • Check your contact details

    To avoid any delays in processing your requests, please log in to our Member Portal to check your contact details. You can find the information under ‘My details’ followed by ‘View/update personal details’.

    To log in, you will need your Client ID, which can be found in your welcome email or paper letter when you first joined the Fund. If you are unable to find your ID or if need to update your mobile number, please call us on 1300 658 776.

  • Continuing to service our members

    To assist the Government’s efforts in slowing the spread of the virus, we have made some temporary changes to the way we operate.

    While we are limiting the number of employees at our offices, we remain accessible via email and phone to ensure we minimise disruption to our services.

    We remain committed to delivering a high standard of service and have equipped our call centre team with additional resources to support you.

     

    Call us  Email us  Get a callback 
  • Financial planning
    If you need financial planning advice, contact our financial planning team. One of our planners will arrange for a chat via phone or Skype (video chat).
  • Seminars

    To ensure we adhere to the Government’s social distancing measures, we have changed our face-to-face seminars to a virtual format. Register your interest in our webinar education series today.

    You may also find these articles useful to learn more about super and retirement.

     

  • Workplace visits

    To ensure we adhere to the Government’s social distancing measures, we have temporarily stopped visiting workplaces. We are able to still communicate with you by phone, Skype or video conferencing.

    Contact one of our Regional Managers to arrange a meeting.

  • Beware of scams

    When speaking to you regarding your super or personal details, we will ask you a couple of security questions as part of our verification process.

    If you receive unsolicited contact asking you for your details or your super, please do not share your information as they are likely to be a scammer.

    If you believe you have shared any personal information with a scammer, please call or email us.

    Please note: Covid-19 Early Release of Superannuation

    Please be aware that we have been alerted to a possible scam in relation to the Covid-19 Early Release of Superannuation. We have been advised by a number of members that they have received a text message from the ATO advising that their request for early access to super had been approved, when they hadn’t applied for the early release. If you suspect any fraudulent activity has occurred we encourage you to check your MyGov account and contact the ATO with any concerns.

    Read more about how you can protect your super against scams.


     

     


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