COVID -19 changes: Early access to your super

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is a challenging time for everyone in Australia (and the world). This is a guide to the changes to early access to super as a response to the pandemic.

This page is about steps you can take to look after yourself and your family financially during the COVID-19 pandemic

Information on this page:
Please click the links below to visit each section

Six changes you need to know about

  1. From 20 April 2020, some people affected by COVID-19 are allowed to access their super early.
  2. Up to $10,000 could be accessed before 30 June 2020. Applications for these funds are now closed. An additional amount of $10,000 can be accessed from 1 July 2020 to 31 December 2020. Only one application can be made for the 2020-21 financial year.
  3. There are eligibility requirements for Australian and New Zealand citizens or permanent residents.
  4. COVID-19 early access to super payments are tax free and will not affect Centrelink or Veteran’s Affairs payments.
  5. COVID-19 early access to super is not available to temporary residents for the 2020-21 financial year.
  6. You can apply for COVID-19 early release of super even if you have previously accessed your super early in other circumstances e.g. on compassionate grounds.

What do the changes mean?

It means that if you are struggling, early access to super is an option available for you.


Australian and New Zealand citizens and permanent residents may be eligible.

To be eligible you must:

  1. Be unemployed OR
  2. Eligible to receive the JobSeeker payment, Youth Allowance for Job
    Seekers, parenting payment, special benefit or farm household allowance OR
  3. On or after 1 January 2020:
    1. you were made redundant,
    2. your working hours were reduced by 20% or more
    3. your business was suspended
    4. for a sole trader, your business was suspended or your turnover dropped 20% or more

 Temporary residents

Temporary Residents are not eligible to apply for COVID-19 early release of super in the 2020-21 financial year.  If your visa has expired and you have left Australia, you may be eligible for the Departing Australia Superannuation Payment (DASP).

Providing evidence

You will not be required to attach evidence to support your application. However you must still retain documents to support your eligibility. There may be fines for early access to your super when you are ineligible.

Important to note:

An application for COVID-19 early release of super cannot be withdrawn or cancelled once it has been submitted. If you no longer want to proceed with the release of your super, you will need to contact your fund.

Implications of applying when you are not eligible

The ATO uses a variety of ways to check the integrity of applications for covid-19 early release of super. Where they are concerned an application may not be genuine then they will review it.

If the ATO finds that you have provided false or misleading information when you applied for COVID-19 early release of super then:

  • the ATO may reverse their approval of your application and the amount that was paid to you under COVID-19 early release of super will:
    • become assessable income
    • need to be included in your tax return and you will pay tax on the released amount.
  • The ATO may issue you with an administrative penalty of more than $12,000 for each false and misleading statement you make

If you receive a penalty notice from the ATO make sure you get advice and contact the National Debt Helpline in 1800 007 007.

Getting advice and information

Your super is your savings for retirement. If at all possible, you should retain those savings for the future.

Speak to a free financial counsellor before you access your super early. A financial counsellor can assist you to:

  • Consider your entire financial situation
  • Discuss options to resolve financial difficulty
  • Discuss ways to avoid accessing your super early
  • Discuss options on how to use your super if you decide to access it early

If you must access your super early, it is recommended you use it to improve your financial stability. Avoid using it (if you can) to pay living expenses which will be ongoing (even after the super has run out).