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Supporting our members during times of crisis

March 9th, 2022

Supporting First Super members in QLD and NSW. Road sign with road closed due to flooding

If you’ve been affected by the recent flooding in Queensland and New South Wales, you may be wondering if you can withdraw some of your super early to pay for expenses during this crisis. Early release of super is only possible in very specific circumstances, which we will discuss below.

But before that, have you considered the other ways we can help you, or whether you may qualify for financial relief from your state government or the Australian government?

Supporting First Super members in QLD and NSW

We have First Super Member & Employer Services Coordinators on the ground ready to assist you with any superannuation needs or questions. While we may not be able to come to you in person if you are in a flood-affected area, we can help you by phone or email. The Coordinators below are closest to the crisis areas and understand the challenges you may be facing.

Melissa Dundas

Region: Queensland and Northern NSW – Port Macquarie to QLD Border, West to Tamworth, Armidale and Morre

Email: melissa.dundas@firstsuper.com.au

Mobile: 0436 189 785

Authorised representative number: 1268048

Adele Rutter

Region: Sydney Metro West and South West, NSW Illawarra South East Coast, Wollongong and Central NSW

Email: adele.rutter@firstsuper.com.au

Mobile: 0491 147 249

Authorised representative number: 1277539

Eric Thomson

Region: Sydney Metro, NSW Central Coast, Newcastle and Hunter Region to Port Macquarie

Email: eric.thomson@firstsuper.com.au

Mobile: 0452 437 824

Authorised representative number: 1265495

You can also view our full list of Coordinators or speak to our Member Services Team based in Melbourne on 1300 360 988.

Lost your identifying documents?

You will need identity documents and information about your financial situation for early release of super requests and recovery payments (more on these topics below). If these have been destroyed or you can’t return to your home to retrieve them due to the flooding, contact our Coordinators to find out your options about what to do next.

Government assistance for flood crisis

The following financial relief payments are available to people in certain local government areas (LGAs):

Be sure to check your eligibility before applying. Additional LGAs and/or payments may be added in coming days.

Early release of super – do you qualify?

In normal circumstances, you can’t access your superannuation until you retire. But in special circumstances it may be possible to withdraw part of your super early on compassionate grounds or due to severe financial hardship. The reality is most members won’t be eligible for early release, as the rules set by the government are very strict. Learn more below, and if you think you may be eligible follow the ‘Next steps’ listed or contact us for help.

Early release on compassionate grounds

This is where you need money (for yourself or a dependant) to pay for things such as medical treatment, funeral expenses, or changes to your home to accommodate a disability.

  • Next steps? Visit the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) webpage to learn more. It’s important to note that the ATO, not First Super, is responsible for assessing compassionate grounds applications. We recommend speaking to the ATO directly.

Early release due to severe financial hardship

This is where you:

  • cannot meet reasonable and immediate living expenses, AND
  • have been receiving government income support payments continuously for 26 weeks (you may need to prove this with a confirmation letter from Services Australia).

Financial hardship payments are limited to between $1,000 and $10,000 in a 12-month period, and you’ll be taxed on the withdrawal if you are under age 60.

Be alert to scams

Unfortunately, fraudsters prey on victims of disaster, so be wary of anyone who offers to get your super released for a fee. There is no charge for legal withdrawals of super – this is a scam. You should also be careful of any unsolicited calls or emails claiming to be from organisations you trust (like First Super) asking for personal information. If you have any doubts, contact us yourself on 1300 360 988 or at mail@firstsuper.com.au.

Find out more

There are several other situations where you may be able to access your super early, which you can read about on our webpage Accessing your super early.