All New Zealand citizens and permanent residents living in Australia, who meet the Australian Government’s eligibility criteria, will now be able to access up to A$20,000 of their Australian super.

Access to Australian superannuation funds for New Zealanders living in Australia 

Who can access funds

The Australian Government is allowing eligible individuals, including all New Zealand citizens, or permanent residents, residing in Australia, who have been financially affected by the Coronavirus to access portions of their Australian superannuation funds early.

The Australian Government has confirmed this applies to all New Zealand citizens, or permanent residents, currently in Australia regardless of their visa status, their date of arrival into Australia and their duration of stay in Australia, provided they meet the eligibility criteria set out below, which is the same for Australian citizens. 

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible, individuals must satisfy any one or more of the following criteria:

  • You are unemployed.
  • 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.
  • On or after 1 January 2020, either
    • you were made redundant
    • your working hours were reduced by 20% or more
    • if you are a sole trader, your business was suspended or there was a reduction in your turnover of 20% or more.

Amount that can be accessed

Those eligible will be able to access up to $10,000 of their Australian superannuation funds before 1 July (in the 2019-20 tax year) and a further $10,000 between 1 July and 24 September (in the 2020-21 tax year). Note, only one application per tax year is possible. If an individual chose to receive only $8,000 of the $10,000 available, they could not seek a further $2000 within the same tax year.

The payment would be an “early release” of the superannuation held by the individual. It would be tax free and would not affect other payments such as Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.

How to apply

Individuals eligible for this COVID-related early release of superannuation funds can apply from mid-April directly to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) through the MyGov website: my.gov.au (external link). Applicants will need to certify they meet the eligibility criteria above.

After the ATO has processed the application, it will issue applicants with a determination. The ATO will also provide a copy of this determination to the relevant superannuation fund, which will advise them to release the individuals superannuation payment for the specified amount. The superannuation fund will then make the payment to the individual, without the individual needing to apply to them directly. 

Individuals with self-managed superannuation funds

If you are a member of a self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) who is eligible in accordance with the above same criteria, you are also able to apply through myGov from mid-April for early release of superannuation funds. The ATO will then issue the individual with a determination advising of their eligibility to release an amount. When the SMSF receives the determination from the individual, the SMSF will be authorised to make the payment to the individual direct.

Details of these arrangements are located on the Australian Treasury Department website: Temporary early release of superannuation (external link)