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 for early access to my super? (below) 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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Who is eligible for early release under the temporary rules?

The Government is allowing eligible individuals facing financial difficulties as a result of Covid-19 to access up to $10,000 of their super before 1 July 2020.  You may also be able to access up to a further $10,000 from 1 July 2020 until 24 September 2020.

To be eligible for early release, you must satisfy any one or more of the following requirements:

  • you’re unemployed, or
  • you’re 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.

On or after 1 January 2020:

  • you were made redundant, or
  • your working hours were reduced by 20% or more, or 
  • if you’re a sole trader – your business was suspended or there was a reduction in your turnover of 20% or more.

You must also be an Australian citizen, permanent resident or temporary resident. Restrictions apply to temporary residents – see Can I apply for early access if I’m a temporary resident below.

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 24 September 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.

You may also be able to apply for a second payment of up to $10,000 between 1 July 2020 and 24 September 2020.

The ATO will assess your eligibility once you apply.

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?

It is important to be aware that in certain circumstances you may lose your insurance by making a claim for early release of super.

The insurance most members get through Cbus provides ongoing financial protection and security for you and your family. If you withdraw your super and your balance gets too low, you may not be able to cover the costs of your insurance and your cover will stop.

You may need to seek financial advice before finalising their application.

Can I apply for early access if I’m a temporary resident?

If you’re a temporary resident, you can apply to access up to $10,000 of your super before 1 July 2020.

To be eligible, you must meet one of the following requirements:

  • You hold a student visa that you have held for 12 months or more and you’re unable to meet immediate living expenses.
  • You’re a temporary skilled work visa holder, you remain engaged with your employer and you're unable to meet your immediate living expenses.
  • You’re a temporary resident visa holder (excluding student or skilled worker visas) and you can’t meet immediate living expenses.

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

Account balances displayed by the ATO may not be up to date. Please log in to your account to check your current balance before you apply.

  • Please note, you can only make one application through the ATO in each financial year, your application can include requests to release super from up to 5 super accounts.

For example: If you request a payment of $5,000, but you only have $4,000 in your Cbus account, we can only pay you $4,000. You won’t be able to reapply to access more money from any other super accounts after you have submitted your 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?

If you’re eligible for early access, you must apply directly with the ATO through the myGov website. Please contact the ATO if you experience any issues with applying online. 

Before you apply, check your bank account details as incorrect details will delay your payment.

Please be aware of an increase in scam activity. We remind you that Cbus will never email or text you requesting personal information, financial information or a payment.

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.

Once my application is approved, how long will it take to receive my payment?

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 help you decide if withdrawing your super early is right for you. 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

*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.