Rest FAQs on Coronavirus

BY Australian Retailers Association
09 April 2020

The following answers common member and employer questions on current market volatility, super and insurance. Visit go.rest.com.au/coronavirus for the latest updates.

Is it possible to access my super early?

Q: How can I apply for early access of my super if I can’t work due to coronavirus?

A: Your super is money saved for your retirement, so there are rules the government has put in place around when you can access it.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the government has expanded the eligibility criteria for the early access of super. This will be available from mid-April, and an exact date is still to be confirmed.

The government will allow eligible individuals who’ve been financially impacted by the coronavirus to withdraw up to $10,000 from their super during the 2019-20 financial year, and a further $10,000 during the 2020-21 financial year. While we understand you may need these payments, it’s important to remember super is a long-term investment for retirement - so withdrawing early may impact your income down the track.

The government has announced a range of support options for individuals during the coronavirus pandemic. Before you apply to withdraw super early, it might be worth reviewing if you’re eligible for any other forms of support. You can also speak to a Rest Adviser if you have more questions

Q: How can I apply for the new early access payments?

A: To withdraw super early using this new ‘condition of release’, you’ll need to apply directly to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) online at my.gov.au from mid-April. You can’t apply for it through Rest. You’ll also need to show the ATO that you meet the eligibility criteria. The ATO will assess your application and then determine if you’re eligible for early release. If they accept your application, they’ll tell Rest to make the payment. To ensure any payments can be made as soon as possible, you should check rest.com.au/memberaccess or the Rest App to see if your address is correct and if not, update it online. If we need your bank details visit rest.com.au/contact-us to update it.

Q: Who is eligible for these new early release payments?

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

• be unemployed; or be 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; or

• 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.

People withdrawing super will not need to pay tax on amounts released, and the money withdrawn will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.

Q: When can I apply for these early release payments?

A: The Government hasn’t announced the exact dates to apply from, but advise it should be from midApril. The $10,000 available in the 2019-20 financial year will be available up to and including 30 June 2020. From 1 July 2020, you can apply for an extra $10,000 in the 2020-21 financial year. The Government hasn’t specified how long you’ll be able to apply for this extra $10,000 but advised it’ll be for about three months. As soon as we have more details on time frames, Rest will update this FAQ.

Insurance and the coronavirus

Q: Does my insurance with Rest cover pandemics?

A: Rest insurance is provided by TAL Life Limited. This insurance does not exclude pandemics. Rest’s income protection covers our members who are too sick or injured to work for an extended period. If you suffer from sickness or injury and can’t return to work for an extended period, you may be able to lodge an income protection claim with Rest, once you meet the eligibility criteria.

Q: Does that mean I can make a claim for time off work under my income protection cover?

A: Coronavirus is generally unlikely to be claimable under Rest's income protection cover. Not because we exclude it, but because our default income protection is designed to cover members who are sick and can’t work for the initial waiting period of more than 60 days. In most cases the symptoms of coronavirus don’t result in people being off work ill for more than 60 days. It’s important to check your waiting period, which you can do by calling us, or you can do online from 1 April in the Insurance tab of MemberAccess.

Q: I’ve been made redundant from my job. Can I claim on my income protection?

A: Income protection covers people who are too sick or injured to work for an extended period. Unfortunately, redundancy is not covered by income protection insurance.

How will Rest manage as offices close

Q: Will Rest still be ‘open for business’ as more businesses work from home or limit operations? A: We’ve taken steps to ensure our operations and services are maintained for the duration. You can continue to contact us as normal using email, Live Chat, the Rest App, and our Virtual Agent Roger. You can also call Rest's contact centre on 1300 300 778. However, even with the steps we’ve taken, it’s likely we’ll have high numbers of members calling, leading to delays. If you experience delays, we’re sorry for any inconvenience this causes. We ask for your patience and understanding – we’ll get to your inquiry as quickly as we can.

Q: So many businesses are going to be severely impacted by this. Can you assure me Rest can handle this in the long term?

A: As one of the largest super funds in Australia, like any large financial institution, we have comprehensive plans to manage an event like this. Our processes, back up plans and financial reserves help to ensure we can continue to manage member accounts, make payments as needed, and continue services to our members.

Can I get professional advice?

Q: How can I get professional advice?

A: You can visit rest.com.au/advice for information on what a Rest Adviser can offer. We also provide Online Advice through a number of self-service online tools you can access 24/7. Log into rest.com.au/memberaccess to check them out. For example you can try our ‘Investment FOR MEMBERS 7 choice’ tool to check your investment risk profile, to see what investment option may be right for you.

Q: Do Rest charge for professional advice?

A: We offer simple advice about where to invest your super, at no extra cost for Rest members. We won’t charge you any extra for simple super questions. If you need more complex advice from a Rest Adviser, or comprehensive face-to-face financial planning, you’ll be charged a fee which you may be able to pay out of your super. We’ll always talk to you about this fee first.

Click here for more information. To keep up to date with the latest news and to access resources and information regarding COVID-19 and your business visit: https://www.australian-retailers-association.com/updates-for-retailers-coronavirus

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Australian Retailers Association

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association representing Australia’s $320 billion sector, which employs more than 1.3 million people. As the retail industry’s peak representative body, the ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating, and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.

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