Members continue to empty super accounts

Super funds made payments to 129,000 members over the week ended August 2, APRA’s latest data on early release super show, bringing the total number of super member payments to about 3.9m. The total value of payments during the week was $1bn, $30.3bn overall since the scheme’s start on April 20.

Over the week, funds received 103,000 applications , of which 48,000 were initial applications and 55,000 repeat applications. That brought the total number of initial applications to 3m and repeat applications to 1.1m since the scheme’s start.

Most payments were from industry super funds, Australian Super paying out $4.25bn overall since the scheme’s start; followed by Retail Employees Super, $2.8bn; Hostplus, $2.7bn; Cbus, $1.9bn; and HESTA, $1.5bn.

Members’ repeat applications were for higher amounts at $8,511, while the average payment overall was $7,695.

Super Industry Australia, citing a newly released Grattan Institute report, warned last Friday (Aug 7), the millions of members who had accessed the early release super scheme without topping up their savings, would be more reliant on the pension and still have less income in retirement.

That prospect had created a “generational rift between those just getting by on the meagre aged pension against their children lumped with paying for their parents’ retirements”.

CEO Bernie Dean said: “Anyone saying it’s OK for the lowest income earners to lose more than $3,000 a year in income because the pension is more than enough for them is simply out of touch.”

Grattan modellers had confirmed that of the 2.9m super members who had accessed their super early, the lowest income earners would be the hardest hit. The bottom 20% of wage earners would lose $3,000 a year in retirement and have little or no change in their age pension entitlement because they were already on the full rate.