Important eligibility condition flagged for early release
SMSF clients that have been unemployed for a number of years may be eligible for early release of super, but it is vital they are able to show that they are facing financial difficulty, says a technical expert.
SMSF Association deputy chief executive Peter Burgess explained that in order for clients to apply to access their super early, they need to meet at least one of the eligibility conditions.
“In addition to a client meeting at least one of these conditions, they also need to show that they’ve been adversely impacted by the pandemic,” Mr Burgess said at the SMSF Association Technical Day last week.
With some of the conditions, it’s quite obvious that the client has been financially impacted, he said.
“[For example], if they’ve been made redundant as a result of the pandemic or their hours have been reduced, then it’s pretty obvious that they’ve been impacted and that they qualify,” he explained.
Other conditions, however, are not as obvious, he noted.
“Where the client is unemployed and perhaps has been unemployed for a number of a years, it may not be so obvious that they have been financially impacted by the pandemic,” he said.
“In fact, we’ve had a number of advisers ask us questions about unemployed clients. The common scenario is where the client has been a stay-at-home parent and they’ve been unemployed for many years.”
They can qualify to access their super early under this measure, Mr Burgess said, as long as they can show that they have been financially impacted by the pandemic.
“It’s been put to us that it’s not difficult to show that someone has been impacted. The fact that they’re paying more for their toilet paper could be an indication that they have been financially impacted, but that’s clearly not the intent of these provisions,” he stated.
“So, in addition to meeting one of these conditions, they also need to show that they’re facing difficulty making ends meet and those difficulties have been caused by the coronavirus.”
Miranda Brownlee is the deputy editor of SMSF Adviser, which is the leading source of news, strategy and educational content for professionals working in the SMSF sector.
Since joining the team in 2014, Miranda has been responsible for breaking some of the biggest superannuation stories in Australia, and has reported extensively on technical strategy and legislative updates. Miranda has also directed SMSF Adviser's print publication for several years.
Miranda also has broad business and financial services reporting experience, having written for titles including Investor Daily, ifa and Accountants Daily.