Our COVID-19 approach
Updated: 27 April 2020
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.
This includes the addition of resources to respond to significantly increased volume of enquiries from our members. Consequently, we seek your understanding and patience when communicating with us during this unprecedented period.
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.
Temporary early access to your super
Following the Government’s announcement on 22 March 2020, eligible members will be able to temporarily apply for early release of their superannuation on compassionate grounds.
From 20 April, 2020, you can apply to access up to $10,000 of your super before 1 July 2020 if you meet the eligibility requirements. You will also be able to apply to access up to a further $10,000 from 1 July 2020 for approximately three months.
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, you 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; or
- your working hours were reduced by 20 per cent or more; or
- if you are a sole trader - your business was suspended or there was a reduction in your turnover of 20 per cent or more.
To apply, please do so 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.
For more information, please click here.
PLEASE NOTE: The ATO will commence investigations into Australians who withdrew up to $10,000 of their superannuation despite being ineligible for this scheme. Read more here.
- - you were made redundant; or
The Government has announced a $130 billion payment to help keep Australians in jobs and support businesses affected by the economic impact cause by COVID-19.
Under the latest Government package, employees will receive a flat payment of $1,500 (before tax) per fortnight through their employer.
Both employers and employees will need to meet some eligibility criteria before employees can receive the payment. Please visit the Government’s JobKeeper Payment website for more information.
Changes to pension drawdown requirements
The Government is temporarily reducing 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.
The reduced drawdown rate will automatically apply to your pension from 1 July 2020. If you would like the new drawdown rate to apply before 1 July 2020, please complete the form that is relevant to you:
If you have already received the age-based minimum for the current 2019/2020 financial year, requesting for the reduced drawdown rate prior to 1 July 2020 may mean that you will not receive further pension payments until after 30 June 2020. If you need assistance with this, please contact us on 1300 658 776.
The Government is also reducing both the upper and lower social security deeming rates to benefit recipients of the Government’s age pension. As of 1 May 2020, the upper deeming rate will be 2.25 per cent and the lower deeming rate will be 0.25 per cent.
Please read the Government’s Providing Support for Retirees factsheet to find out more about these changes.
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.
Can I make a 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.
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 account’ followed by ‘My 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 are making some temporary changes to the way we operate.
While we are limiting the number of employees at our offices and preparing for all of our staff to work from home, we remain accessible via email and phone to ensure we minimise disruption to our services.
Additionally, we are no longer accepting visitors at any of our offices. Members who wish to submit any forms can email the signed document to firstname.lastname@example.org or can post them to PO Box 656, Burwood NSW 1805.
We remain committed to delivering a high standard of service and have equipped our call centre team with additional resources to support you.
We appreciate that our members may will need to adapt to these changes and we ask for your patience and understanding as we respond to an increased volume of enquiries.
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).
To ensure we adhere to the Government’s social distancing measures, we have cancelled all seminars and events until at least the end of July 2020. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates when we resume the sessions.
We apologise for any inconvenience this decision may have caused.
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.
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.
We're here to help
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who are willing to answer any of your questions.