Early super payouts tick over $7bn, as claims near $8bn

Superannuation funds have been estimated to have made around 855,000 individual payments for the early release by Thursday, totalling around $7.1 billion, as claims have approached $8 billion.

The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) has published the estimate for the 10 days following the commencement of the scheme, up to 30 April.

It has come as the government on Friday declared 950,000 claims had been approved by the ATO, with a total value of $7.9 billion.

The industry body’s analysis has suggested the average withdrawal is around $8,200, with it indicating that a substantial number of applicants have less than the maximum amount of $10,000 in their account. Some applicants were said to be withdrawing only what they need rather than the maximum amount.

The number of early release payments processed by funds was estimated to be running at 200 times the typical weekly average. 

ASFA said preliminary estimates indicated that close to 98 per cent of applications had been paid within the set limit of five working days. 

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ASFA chief executive Dr Martin Fahy commented super funds and administrators have been working hard to support members despite having “only 18 working days to prepare for one of the biggest system changes in 30 years”. 

“These are anxious times, particularly for people who have lost their job or have had to close their businesses due to the COVID-19 crisis,” Dr Fahy said. 

“Funds have worked co-operatively with government and regulators to change systems to process this unprecedented volume of transactions and ensure early release financial hardship payments have been made quickly and safely.

“The strength of Australia’s world-class compulsory super system has enabled super funds to play this important role in supporting Australians in these unique circumstances and superannuation is committed to playing a key role in rebuilding the economy, by providing much needed capital for the recovery.”

ASFA added that up to 95 per cent of applications had benefited from straight through processing and triggered only minimal amounts of exception handling. Some funds were reported to experience “slightly higher” levels of exception handling.

The number of claims rejected were small, with the denials due to anomalies or concerns around fraud because an account had been closed or an invalid bank account number was supplied. 

Early super payouts tick over $7bn, as claims near $8bn
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