COVID-19 member FAQs


We understand that many Cbus members are now facing significant financial uncertainty.

A number of support measures have been brought in by Federal and State Governments to help both workers and businesses get through these difficult times, including early access to super.

Withdrawing money out of your super now could have a significant impact on your insurance and the super you have to support you in retirement. We would urge members to consider the broad range of support available and only take money out of super as a last resort.

We’ve estimated* the impact withdrawing $20,000 now could have on your super balance at retirement, based on your current age:

  • Age 25: you could lose about $45,000
  • Age 35: you could lose about $37,000
  • Age 45 you could lose about $30,000

This shows just how important this decision is. Make sure you read and understand the section What should I consider before applying? and contact us if you need help.


You can read an early access fact sheet with examples in other languages as well.

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What should I consider before applying?

Before applying for access to your super, ask yourself a few important questions:

  • Will I have enough money left in my Cbus account to pay for my insurance?
    • If your super balance gets too low, you may not be able to cover the costs of your insurance and this cover will stop.
  • Am I locking in recent investment losses?
    • If you withdraw super after a major fall, you’re selling your super investments at a low price and locking in that loss. If you later top up your super to make up for this withdrawal, you might buy back those investments at a much higher price.
  • Will this impact my lifestyle in retirement?
    • Accessing your super now could significantly impact your quality of life in retirement. It’s important to consider your financial needs now and for the future
  • If I leave a low balance in my Cbus account, could it be transferred to the ATO?
    • If your balance gets below $6,000, and your account is inactive for a period of 16 months or more, we may be required to transfer your account to the ATO.
  • Could I open a transition to retirement stream account instead (if eligible)?
    • If you’re approaching retirement, a transition to retirement income stream account may be another way to access your super.  

Applying when you are not eligible

Before you apply for early access of your super, you need to check the eligibility criteria carefully and keep records that demonstrate your eligibility. If you apply and you're not eligible at the time of submitting your application, the ATO may take action against you.

If you are unable to demonstrate your eligibility when the ATO ask for evidence, they may revoke the determination issued for your application. This means the amount paid to you under early release of super will:

  • become assessable income
  • need to be included in your tax return and you will pay tax on the released amount.

If you provide false or misleading information you could face penalties of more than $12,000 for each false and misleading statement.

For examples of incorrect claims and details on how ATO verifies claims, visit the ATO website.

Who is eligible for early release under the temporary rules?

To apply for early access to your super, you must be a Australian or New Zealand citizen or permanent resident and satisfy one of the following requirements:

  • You’re unemployed.
  • You’re eligible to receive a job seeker payment, youth allowance for jobseekers (unless you’re undertaking full-time study or you’re a new apprentice), parenting payment (includes 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’re a sole trader, your business was suspended or there was a reduction in your turnover of 20% or more.

Temporary residents are no longer eligible to apply after 30 June 2020. Visit the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) website at for more information. 

I'm not eligible for early access, are there any other options for accessing my super?

If you’re not eligible for early access using the new temporary rules, there are other options available if you meet certain criteria.

If you have unrestricted non-preserved money in your account, you can withdraw it any time. Otherwise, you may be able to access your super early in the following circumstances:

  • severe financial hardship
  • compassionate grounds
  • permanent departure from Australia.

For more information about these options, visit the When can I access my super page.

You can also read about early access to your super on the ATO website.

How much super can I apply to access under the new rules?

If you’re eligible, you’ll be able to apply to access up to:

  • $10,000 of your super before 1 July 2020
  • $10,000 of your super from 1 July 2020 (you must apply before 31 December 2020).

When do early access applications close?

Under the temporary rules, if you are eligible, you can apply for up to $10,000 before 1 July 2020 (pre 1 July applications are now closed).

You may also be able to apply for a second payment of up to $10,000 between 1 July 2020 and 31 December 2020.

You must meet the eligibility criteria at the time you apply. The ATO may ask you to provide evidence of eligibility.

Can I apply for early access with less than $10,000 in my account?

Yes, you can apply to access up to $10,000 however if your account balance is lower than the amount you requested, we’ll pay you the balance of your account.

Please note: If you have insurance with Cbus and withdraw your super early, you may not be able to cover the costs of your insurance and your cover will cease. 

Will accessing my super early impact my insurance?

Potentially. Your insurance may stop if there’s not enough money left in your Cbus account to pay your insurance premiums or if you haven’t received a  contribution (from your employer or one you’ve made) in the last 16 months.

If you withdraw the full balance of your account, your Cbus account may be closed and any insurance cover you have will cease.

Please read the relevant insurance handbook for your membership to understand how your insurance may be impacted. 

I’ve applied for early release previously, can I apply again?

Eligible Australian and New Zealand citizens, and permanent residents can apply to access up to:

  • $10,000 of your super until 30 June 2020, and
  • $10,000 of your super from 1 July until 31 December 2020

Temporary residents are no longer eligible to apply after 30 June 2020. 

What happens if my actual account balance is lower than what the ATO showed?

Your super balance shown on the myGov application form may not be up to date. Before you apply, log in to your Cbus account at and check your super balance.

When you apply via myGov, you’ll see a list of all super accounts in your name and the balance for each account. You’ll be asked to nominate how much you want to withdraw from each account – you can withdraw a total of $10,000 from multiple accounts in the same application. 

Do I have to pay tax on early access payments?

No, you don’t have to pay tax on these payments, and they won’t affect your Centrelink, JobKeeper or Veterans’ Affairs payments.

Can I apply for other claims at the same time (i.e. financial hardship and compassionate grounds)?

If you’ve applied for (or plan to apply for) a financial hardship claim, it will not impact your eligibility for the COVID-19 early release payments.

For more information on other types of payments, please visit the When can I access my super page.

How do I apply for early access and how long will it take to receive my payment?

1. Submit your early release application via the ATO’s myGov website.

You’ll need your bank account details and your latest Cbus account balance.

2. The ATO will process your application.

It can take up to four business days for the ATO to process your application. The ATO will send an outcome letter to your myGov inbox and you may receive an SMS.

3. Cbus will review your application

If approved, the ATO will forward your application to Cbus for payment. Cbus aim to make payment within five business days, but payment may take longer if we need to confirm your details.

4. Cbus will make payment to your nominated bank account

It may take up to 3-5 business days to reach your account, depending on who you bank with. 

If I don’t use all of my early release payment, can I pay it back into my super?

Yes, you can. If you decide that you don’t need all or part of the money, you can contribute it back into your super account. Limits do apply, so please visit Making super contributions to check your super contributions limits.

Do I need to provide Cbus with anything after I apply to the ATO?

You don’t need to provide anything to us after you’ve submitted your application. The ATO will provide your details to us and we’ll process your payment as soon as possible.

It’s a good idea to log in to your Cbus account and check that your contact details are correct.

I can see money has been deducted from my Cbus account, why isn’t it in my bank account?

Cbus will aim to make payment within five business days of the ATO sending your application to us. However, it may take up to 3-5 business days to reach your bank account, depending on who you bank with. 

Who can I contact for help with early access?

Please be aware that withdrawing your super early could have a significant impact on your life in retirement. Our team of financial advisers can assist you with any questions about the early release of superannuation. This advice is at no cost as it’s part of your Cbus membership.

Contact Cbus Advice Services on 1300 361 784 (press 4 ), 8am to 8pm (AEST), Monday to Friday or email

How can I build my super up again once my income returns to normal?

Contributing extra to your super can help boost your account balance and make a big difference to your lifestyle in retirement.

There are two ways to contribute to your super account:

1. Concessional (before tax) contributions – includes any compulsory employer contributions, any salary sacrifice contributions you make and any personal (after tax) contributions you’re claiming as a tax deduction. Before tax contributions are limited to $25,000 per financial year.

2. Non-concessional (after tax) contributions – includes personal contributions you make from your take-home salary. After tax contributions are limited at $100,000 (or $300,000 in a three-year period if you’re eligible under the bring-forward rule) per financial year.

There are limits on how much you can contribute in a tax-effective manner. If you exceed these limits, you may pay additional tax on your contributions.

You’ll need to ensure you’re eligible to make a contribution to your super. If you’re over age 67 you’ll need to pass the work test.

Please read our Making extra contributions fact sheet for further information. 

*Source: Cbus, figures updated from 30 April 2020 to replace 'future' dollars with 'today's' dollars. The calculation is provided for illustration purposes and is based on certain assumptions including, but not limited to, the following: Age 25 – starting balance of $22,000, salary of $50,000, and projected balance at retirement of $342,000. Age 35 – starting balance of $60,000, salary of $70,000, and projected balance at retirement of $395,000. Age 45 – starting balance of $85,000, salary of $90,000, and projected balance at retirement of $340,000. Assumes administration fees of $104 (inflating at CPI) plus 0.19% of account balance per year, default insurance cover of 4 units (Manual), a 2.5% per year rise in CPI and a further 1% per year additional rise in living standards. Investment returns are based on the Cbus default investment options – Growth (Cbus MySuper) during accumulation and Conservative Growth during draw down.

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. You should look at your own financial position, objectives and requirements before making any financial decisions.