Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Superannuation queries:


Last updated: 29 April 2020

With a large volume of queries from you, our members, we have tried to answer some of the most common questions below. However, if you can’t find the answer to your question in these notes, please get in touch.

Investments - If you are looking for details on investments in the current markets, please
have a look here

Account Details - You can check your account balance and other details by clicking the 'Member login' button in the top right of this website.

Thank you for your understanding.

Contact Details - If you want to talk with our smartReps, they can support you with account information and contact details – including making sure your email address is up to date and you receive the latest information from smartMonday

Our smartCoach team are available to help with more specific questions about investments and your insurance cover.
 
Volatility in investment markets

It is an understatement to say the world has changed over the past few months. Globally, we are facing uncertain times with significant impacts already visible on our social and economic way of life, our wealth, and on our health.  In response, governments around the world are implementing laws and policies to provide health and economic support to combat the disruption around us.

Financially, the 1st quarter of 2020 has realised the lowest quarterly returns for Australian shares since 1987.  But this headline statement doesn’t capture the struggle investors, (including almost all Australians with superannuation), have had to come to grips with.

The uncertainty in the market reflected the rapid pace of the economic shutdown.  Now, with the focus starting to turn towards assessing the length of the shutdown, and what may follow after, a more positive sentiment is starting to grow. This change can be seen in the generally upwards movements of the share market over the past few weeks.

While we expect volatility in the share market to continue for some time, it might be reassuring to note that the overall long term ‘trend line’ for the growth of the Australian share market is consistently positive – meaning over time, the share market has tended to increase in value, despite short-term drops.

There is no doubt that most, if not all super balances have been negatively impacted by the current market volatility.  But some balances have been impacted more than others.  This is primarily due to the type of investments held in each account.  Each type of investment, such as Cash, Fixed interest / Bonds, Equities, Property, has a unique risk and return profile.  Shares for example are generally regarded to be a potentially high risk but high reward investment while money in the bank has historically been viewed as a low risk but low reward investment, which is definitely the case today as returns on cash are currently among the lowest in history.

A key element of successful investing for the long term is diversification.  This means spreading your nest-egg across investments with different risk and return profiles. If you are in smartMonday’s default investment MySuper option, Aon MySuper, the MySuper investment ‘lifecycle’ automatically adjusts members’ exposure to growth investments, which are typically higher reward but have higher risk, and defensive investments, which typically are lower reward but are lower risk, as the members gets older. Through this strategy, older members are invested in a lower risk investment portfolio and will be less likely to be affected by the market volatility, than younger members.  But, those younger members have more time in the market to make-up for the current downturn.

If you are in retirement (or approaching that time), consider all your options before making any significant changes to your investments. This may include reviewing your retirement strategy with the assistance of a financial adviser or if you are a smartMonday PRIME or DIRECT member, chat to a smartCoach, to see if your objectives are still being met.

 
Read our latest investment information here. 
 
Can I claim some of my Super, if I am financially impacted by COVID-19?

While superannuation (super) helps people to save for retirement, the Federal Government has recognised the need for those individuals who are affected by the COVID-19 to make early withdrawals of funds on compassionate grounds.
 
 
What is the change?
You may be able to access some of your super early. The Federal Government has introduced temporary changes to super access in response to COVID-19.

These changes allow people financially impacted by COVID-19 to access up to $10,000 of their super in 2019-20 financial year and a further $10,000 in 2020-21 financial year.
When can I apply?
Applications for this early release payment are now accepted by the Australian Tax Office (ATO) since 20 April 2020 and members will have until 25 September 2020 to apply.
Am I eligible?
If you are considering applying for an early release on compassionate grounds relating to COVID-19 eligibility will be based on a few criteria. It’s best to check them out at the ATO website. The measures are in place to support people facing financial hardship (for example if you are struggling to pay bills or buy essentials).
How do I apply?
The claiming process is through the myGov function on the ATO website. You will not be able to apply through smartMonday directly. Once the ATO has made a determination it will write to the member and also the super fund to release the early release payment.
 
What else should I consider?

It can be hard to re-build a super balance once it’s been drawn on.  If you take advantage of withdrawing some money to meet your current needs you may want to put into place a plan to  increase your superannuation contributions  when you get back on your feet.  The maximum withdrawal is $20,000 over 2 financial years but you do not have to take the full available amount.

Understand your current financial needs before making the decision to withdraw your superannuation funds.
 
Beware of scammers

Applications can only be made through the myGov website. Anyone contacting you stating they are from a trusted organisation such as the, Australian Taxation Office, your bank, or smartMonday, could be attempting to steal funds or your personal information. Be cautious, if you have any doubts, do not provide personal information over the phone or in emails and definitely don’t click links that could be suspect, If you are unsure, we recommend you check with that organisation by using the contact details found on their website.
 

Will a withdrawal impact insurance?

Remember that your insurance cover may be cancelled if:
  •  your super account balance is insufficient to support the monthly deduction of insurance costs
  • Your account balance falls below $6,000
 
The balance you need to maintain will depend on the cost of your insurance, which can vary on a number of factors such as your age, occupation, and any special loadings you may have.

You can provide us with a written election to keep your insurance regardless of your account balance, as long as there is enough available to pay the premiums.  Please visit smartMonday.com.au/pmif.

In any case, we’ll contact you before cancelling any insurance cover in your account. If you’re unsure, please login to our smartMonday website or call our smartReps.

Providing support for retirees
 
Reduced minimum drawdown requirements
 
The Federal Government has temporarily reduced superannuation minimum drawdown requirements for account-based pensions and similar products by 50 per cent for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 income years. The current and new rates are illustrated in the table below.
 
Age Current default minimum % drawdown Reduced minimum % drawdown for 2019/20 and 2020/21 FYs
Under 65 years 4 2
65-74 years 5 5
75-79 years 6 3
80-84 years 7 3.5
85-89 years 9 4.5
90 – 94 years 11 5.5
95 + years 14 7
 
This measure will benefit retirees with account-based pensions and similar products by reducing the need to sell investment assets to fund minimum drawdown requirements.
 
Reduced deeming rates
 
The Federal Government is also reducing both the upper and lower social security deeming rates by a further 0.25 percentage points in addition to the 0.5 percentage point reduction to both rates announced on 12 March 2020.
 
For more information please access these sites at: treasury.gov.au/coronavirus and moneysmart.gov.au/covid-19-financial-assistance 
 
 
Your insurance coverage

We want to assure you that COVID-19 has no impact on your existing insurance cover. If you need to make a claim related to COVID-19, as with any other claim, you will simply need to meet the eligibility requirements for your type of cover.
 
The role of insurance

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to raise medical concerns, insurance can be an important protection for you and your loved ones. Members with death, total and permanent disability, or income protection cover should be comforted to know we do not have any pandemic exclusions – confirmed true and correct.

It’s important to remember our default income protection is designed to cover members who are sick or injured. While we don’t exclude COVID-19 you will need to be medically certified as unable to work due to sickness or injury for before benefits would start to accrue.

Waiting and benefit periods apply and will depend on the benefit you hold within your smartMonday account.

Please Note:
Loss of employment, such as Redundancy or Retrenchment, is not covered by income protection insurance.

In the unfortunate event of a claim, we are here to help you with the claim process. If you do need to make a claim, call us to discuss your eligibility, the claim process and the options that may be available to you.

Your income protection cover will not be impacted if you’ve been asked to work from home by your employer, so long as you are otherwise eligible to claim. If you have question or would like more information, please call or email (see below for contact details).
 

What’s happening with the smartMonday team?

smartMonday, and our wider organisation Aon, have adopted a flexible workplace approach and are using technology to work remotely. We are committed to supporting you and have a ‘business as usual’ approach. Our focus on you, the member, continues to be our priority.
 

 


 
 
 

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smartMonday PENSION

 

 

Not sure who to call?

Speak to a smartCoach on 1300 262 241 or email smartcoach@smartmonday.com.au
 

smartMonday is a registered trading name of Aon Hewitt Limited ABN 48 002 288 646 AFSL 236667 (Aon), the sponsor of the Aon Master Trust ABN 68 964 712 340 (the Fund). The trustee of the Fund is Equity Trustees Superannuation Limited ABN 50 055 641 757 AFSL 229757 RSE Licence L0001458. smartMonday PRIME, smartMonday DIRECT and smartMonday PENSION products are part of the Fund.

Aon has prepared this document and has taken care in its production. The contents of this document has been obtained from sources that Aonbelieves to be reliable. Aon does not warrant, represent or guarantee the accuracy, adequacy, completeness or fitness for anypurpose that this document may be used and accepts no liability for any loss incurred by anyone who relies on it. Any information provided in this document is of a general nature, that is, your personal objectives, needs or financial situations were not taken into account when preparing this document and accordingly, you should consider the appropriateness of any general advice we have given you, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs before acting on it. You should seek personal financial advice that is tailored to meet your financial goals, circumstances and needs. In any case, any recipient shall be entirely responsible for their use of this document. Past performance should not be considered a guide to future performance.
© 2020 Aon Hewitt Limited – Financial Services Guide

Make Mondays matter

smartMonday is a registered trading name of Aon Hewitt Limited ABN 48 002 288 646 AFSL 236667 (Aon), the sponsor of the Aon Master Trust ABN 68 964 712 340 (the Fund). The trustee of the Fund is Equity Trustees Superannuation Limited ABN 50 055 641 757 AFSL 229757 RSE Licence L0001458. This document has been prepared by Aon. smartMonday PRIME, smartMonday DIRECT and smartMonday PENSION products are part of the Fund.
© 2020 Aon Hewitt Limited – Financial Services Guide

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