Overview of changes

On 22 March 2020, the Australian Government announced its economic support package to help Australians who are under financial stress as a result of Coronavirus. This legislation has now passed.

 The package includes :

  1. Temporary early release of superannuation (super)
  2. Temporary reduction of minimum pension payment requirements for retirees.

Temporary early release of super

About this change

The Government is allowing eligible Australians to apply to withdraw up to:

  • $10,000 of their superannuation in financial year 2019-20 (before 1 July 2020)
  • plus up to a further $10,000 in financial year 2020-21 (from 1 July until 24 September 2020).

These payments are tax-free and will not affect any Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments you receive. Members will be required to apply directly to the ATO, rather than through their super fund.

Am I eligible?

The Government has confirmed that 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  at the time you make the application have been reduced by 20 per cent or more compared to the second half of 2019; 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 at the time you make the application compared to the second half of 2019.

Are Temporary Residents allowed to access their super?

Australian citizens and permanent residents are eligible to apply for the scheme. New Zealand citizens, with Australian held super, are also eligible. Temporary residents are not eligible for this but may be eligible for the Departing Australia Superannuation Payment.

Read about your current options in our Financial Support Guide

When can I apply?

  • You can apply for early access to your super through myGov from Monday 20 April 2020.

How do I apply? 

  • You can register your interest with the ATO now by logging in to your myGov account and following the ‘Intention to access coronavirus support’ instructions. 
  • The ATO will then notify you by email or SMS when applications for early access open.
  • If you don’t already have a myGov account, you can set one up by selecting 'Create an account'.

As part of the application, you will be required to input the bank details you would like the money paid into and you will need to authorise the ATO to provide it to your super fund to release the money into that account. 

How long will it take my super fund to receive the notification from the ATO?

If you have your super with Essential Super or Colonial First State (CFS), it will take 1-2 business days for your notification to be received by your super fund once the ATO has approved it. 

Do I need to contact Essential Super or CFS?

No, you do not need to contact Essential Super or CFS as part of this process. 

How can I check Essential Super or CFS have my correct bank details?

You do not need to contact Essential Super or CFS to provide your bank details or confirm your current bank details in this instance because your super fund will use the bank details provided by the ATO.

What documents do I need to provide to prove my identity?

As this process is completed by the ATO any identification requirements will need to be provided to the ATO. You do not need to provide Essential Super or CFS with any proof of identification documents as part of the application process.

What are the tax implications for accessing my super under Coronavirus Compassionate Grounds?

People accessing their superannuation early in this circumstance will not pay tax on amounts released and the money they withdraw will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.

What if I don’t use the whole amount of money I withdraw?

You will be free to recontribute any unused amounts to your superannuation in the future (within contribution caps) if you are eligible. 

How many coronavirus early release of super claims can I make?

The Government has confirmed that members will only be permitted to make one compassionate grounds claim (even if the member holds multiple funds) under Coronavirus this financial year 2019-20. You will also be able to make another claim from 1 July 2020 until 24 September 2020 if you are still eligible. After this date you will not be able to submit any further claims.

I want to apply for $10,000 to be released but have less than this amount in my super account. Can I still apply for $10,000?

No. Individuals can only make one application per financial year, to a maximum of $10,000 across all super funds. If you apply for $10,000 against an account that has only $8,500 – you will only receive the $8,500. However, if you have multiple accounts with less than $10,000 in any one account, you are able to nominate more than one account from which amounts are to be released when you apply to the ATO.

For example, if you had two super accounts with $5,000 in each, you will be able to claim $5,000 from each fund at the time you make the application.

Temporary reduction of minimum pension payments 

About this change

To provide retirees with more flexibility in managing their retirement incomes, the Government has announced it is reducing the minimum pension payment requirement for account based pensions and similar products by 50% in both 2019-20 and 2020-21.

Am I eligible?

All account based pension holders are eligible.

How do I request to reduce my pension payments?

  • To request to reduce the amount of your pension payment, you will need to check the process with your superannuation provider by visiting their website or contacting them. 
  • If you are a Colonial First State (CFS) FirstChoice member, you can request to reduce the amount of your pension payment by:
    • Completing the Colonial First State ‘Pension Payment Update’ form and uploading it via FirstNet or returning it via post, using the reply paid address noted on the form. 
    • You can also email it to ClientMaintenance@cba.com.au with the email subject heading: Change of Pension Payments – Reduction In Minimums.
    • To log in to FirstNet, you will need your Online Identity Number (OIN), which is available on your last statement and your password. 
  • If you don’t know your OIN, you can provide a few details about your account and enter a security code (FirstNet Code) that we’ll send to your linked mobile phone number. Alternatively, learn how to register for FirstNet Code
    • Note: CFS are currently working through the changes required of their systems and forms to adjust to the new pension payment minimums being implemented by the Government and will provide further updates to members and advisers as they become available.

By how much can I reduce my pension payments?

The amount by which you can reduce your pension payment will depend on your age:

Minimum annual pension payment
NEW minimum annual pension payment for 2019-20 and 2020-21
Under 65
65 - 74
75 - 79
80 - 84
85 - 89

Minimum percentages are calculated on account balance at commencement of pension and at the start of each subsequent financial year.

Need more help?

You should consider speaking to a financial adviser before making any decisions to withdraw or change your super or pension account.

More support and guidance is available to CommBank customers during these uncertain times, visit our Coronavirus support hub.

Things you should know

Colonial First State Investments Limited ABN 98 002 348 352, AFSL 232468 (CFS) is the issuer of interests in Commonwealth Essential Super ABN 56 601 925 435 (Essential Super) and is a wholly owned but non-guaranteed subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124 (Bank). The information is based on the understanding of the initiatives that have been announced by the Commonwealth Government and current regulatory requirements and laws as at April 2020. This document may include general financial product advice but does not consider your individual objectives, financial circumstances or needs.  You should read the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and the Reference Guide for Essential Super carefully and consider whether the information is appropriate for you before making any decision regarding this product. Download the PDS and Reference Guide at or call us on 13 4074 for a copy. The Bank and its subsidiaries do not guarantee the performance of Essential Super and an investment in this product is subject to risk, loss of income and capital invested. An investment in Essential Super is via a superannuation trust and is therefore not an investment in, deposit with or other liability of the Bank or its subsidiaries. Where we mention ‘we’, ‘us’ or ‘our’, we mean CFS.