12 June 2018
Media Release - #2018066, 2018

In the role of: Minister for Revenue and Financial Services [19 July 2016 - 28 August 2018]

Early release of superannuation on compassionate grounds transferred to the Australian Taxation Office

The Turnbull Government is improving the early release of superannuation process by ensuring successful applicants receive funds sooner in their time of need.

From 1 July 2018, responsibility for the administration of the early release of superannuation benefits on compassionate grounds will be transferred from the Department of Human Services (DHS) to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

"These changes will expedite the assessment of early release applications, improve the integrity of the process and allow the funds to be released more quickly to successful applicants," Minister O'Dwyer said.

The ATO is responsible for most of an individual's interactions with the superannuation system. This change will enable the ATO to build on these existing relationships and provide a more streamlined service to members.

A key improvement under the new process is the ATO providing electronic copies of approval letters to superannuation funds at the same time as to the applicant. This will mitigate fraud risk and negate the need for superannuation funds to independently verify the letter with the Regulator. Individuals will also upload accompanying documentation simultaneously with their application, rather than the current 'two-step process'.

DHS will accept early release applications up until 30 June 2018. There will be a short transition period where DHS will continue to process those existing applications and complete any necessary reviews. From 1 July 2018 the ATO will process all new applications.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank DHS and its staff for administering the early release provisions since 2011," Minister O'Dwyer said.

This transfer of function is one of a range of measures the Government is progressing to ensure that the rules governing superannuation serve the interests of members. It complements the review underway on the rules governing the early release of superannuation benefits on compassionate grounds and in cases of severe financial hardship. Treasury will report to the Government based on the review findings later this year.