AvSuper COVID-19 updates
Updated on 5 October 2020
We’ve established this dedicated web page to provide information to AvSuper members about our response to COVID-19 and the impact, where relevant, on superannuation.
We will update this page as relevant information becomes available to keep you informed so please check here regularly or subscribe to our social media pages (see links below) to be notified of updates.
Please remember that AvSuper will never email or text you asking for your password or account details. We suggest you read our keeping your AvSuper account secure fact sheet and contact us if in doubt about any messages received.
We want to assure you that we continue working to minimise disruption to our various member services. Our office was unattended for some time, but we have now returned to the office, although systems remain in place in case we have to resume remote working arrangements. You can contact us as usual, however, we are limiting access to the office for others and are running many advice appointments via an online platform (such as Zoom) or phone.
Reduced minimum withdrawals for income streams
Usually, you must withdraw a minimum percentage of your account each financial year. The exact minimum percentage depends on your age (refer to our website if you are unsure what percentage currently applies to you). For 2020-21, you can now choose to withdraw half as much.
We wrote to all of our income stream members to explain how this measure is being implemented, and many members have taken up this option. If you are thinking about it, you can read about your options here or call our Member Advice Consultants for help.
If you had elected to receive the minimum payment amount, we automatically reduced your 2020-21 payment to the lower rate. If you wish to change your payments or have other queries about your payment schedule for 2020-21, please contact us to discuss your specific situation.
Early access to superannuation
The Government has provided people access to some of their super to help cope with the financial impact of COVID-19.
Eligible members can apply for one withdrawal of up to $10,000 between 1 July and 31 December 2020 (note this has been extended from the original September end date) whether or not they applied for a 2019-20 early release payment. To apply for a COVID-19 related early release withdrawal, you must log into MyGov and follow the ATO instructions – no application fees apply and there is no other way to apply.
Please note that while making a withdrawal will be possible, it is still advisable to consider if this would be in your best interests as any withdrawal may crystallise losses in markets, may end your insurance cover (if you leave a low balance), and will reduce your final retirement savings. Our Member Advice Consultants are available to discuss the options and implications for our members.
While the system is based on self-assessment, please note the ATO is able to conduct detailed checks to ensure eligibility was correctly applied and is likely to begin this process soon. Anyone found to have taken an early release payment without being eligible will have the withdrawn amount added to their taxable income for the year and face a possible fine of up to $12,600 for a ‘total disregard of the rules’. If you are not sure of your eligibility after receiving an early release payment, we recommend getting in touch with the ATO as soon as possible – a voluntary disclosure may reduce any legal consequences.
Once approved, the ATO directs us to pay the money to the member and we are processing those requests as quickly as possible (usually within 3 to 5 days). We are sending an SMS to all members requesting the early release to ensure the request is valid (see our super scam warning) and again once the payment has been made.
Of course, existing access to superannuation laws still apply, and we continue to manage those claims as quickly as possible.
AvSuper is continuing to follow the guidance from international and local health authorities and we are responding according to our pandemic plan. As at 5 October 2020, we can confirm that AvSuper has not had any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in any of our locations.
The ongoing health and safety of our people while also continuing our service commitments to our members remains our priority. This includes reviewing our systems, protocols and operations management on a regular basis.
If you cannot reach us via 1300 128 751, we encourage you to:
- Leave a voice message for us to return your call as soon as possible. Our team will be able to return your call from remote locations, so while there may be short delays in call backs (depending on call volumes), we will be able to return your call
- Use the Call Me back function on our website and again someone from our team will be able to contact you, generally at the time that suits you (if you provide your preferences!)
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Our member services staff will remain able to reply to your emails during business hours
- Use our AvChat function on our website for an online chat with one of our team members during business hours.
We remain focussed on our members during this challenging time but acknowledge that some members may experience delays – thank you for your patience so far. We will continue to provide updates to members via email, via updates to this web page and on our social media sites.
Do we have your current contact details?
With the unexpected changes to work practices this year, it is more important than ever that we can contact you if required. Please log into Member Online or call us to check we have your phone and email address correctly recorded.