New polling has revealed that more than 1 million Australians may attempt to access their superannuation early despite not actually being financially impacted by COVID-19.
Industry Super Australia (ISA) commissioned UMR to undertake the survey, which showed that as many as 40 per cent of applicants to the scheme may not satisfy the eligibility criteria required to access superannuation early at this time.
To qualify for the government’s early release of super, ISA emphasised that claimants must be eligible for a qualifying social security benefit, have lost their job or had a reduction of hours, or if a sole trader, turnover by 20 per cent or more.
Thirty per cent of the 1,100 people polled who were under the age of 65 said they would be likely or very likely to take up the scheme.
But ISA said it was worrying that 40 per cent of those who said they intend on making a claim had not yet been financially impacted by the coronavirus shutdown.
According to the industry super body, “of those who are very likely to claim, 46 per cent said they were still in paid work and their hours had not been reduced due to the COVID-19 economic shutdown”.
Four in 10 survey respondents who indicated a “very likely” approach to accessing their super early also reside in households earning $104,000 or more.
Commenting on the findings, ISA chief executive Bernie Dean said, “It is tempting to tap into your super early, some may want to do so as a savings buffer. But nothing in life is for free, and cracking open your nest egg comes at steep cost – it should be treated as a last resort.”
He warned that the Australian Taxation Office has placed a robust compliance regime in place to catch out those people deliberately flouting the rules, with severe penalties applicable.
“It is important that those that need to access their super can do so quickly, without being caught behind an administrative logjam of ineligible claimants,” Mr Dean added.
ISA said such a high number of ineligible claimants would “not only undermine the policy intent of the scheme but could slow down the processing of applications for those who urgently need financial support”.