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Early super drains accounts to 3 figures

By Sarah Kendell
3 minute read

New data released by APRA to a parliamentary committee has revealed the impact of the COVID early super release scheme on member accounts, with around one in four workers who chose to access a payment left with a balance in the hundreds of dollars.

Responses to questions on notice from the prudential regulator to the House economics committee indicate $36.4 billion was paid out as a result of the scheme across 4.7 million separate member payments.

“About a quarter of total payments – 1.2 million – resulted in an account balance post payment that was less than $1,000,” APRA said in response to questions raised by Labor MP Daniel Mulino.

A further 674,000 payments had seen the member left with a balance between $1,000 and $5,999, according to the APRA data.


The regulator said that around 200,000 accounts had been fully depleted and closed as a result of payments made in the early release scheme, while a further 100,000 were fully depleted but remained open, presuming there would be further contributions as the member remained in work.

While a minority of accounts had been completely drained by early release payments, APRA’s data indicated that most member balances among those who had applied for a payment were severely depleted, with the median balance after payment amounting to between $10,000 and $14,999.

Interestingly, APRA’s data indicated that more men than women received an early release payment, with 56.7 per cent of payments made to men compared to 42.3 per cent for women.

More than 900,000 payments were made to men aged 25 to 34, and around 750,000 payments to men between the ages of 35 and 44. Meanwhile almost 700,000 women between 25 and 34 had accessed early super payments, and over 500,000 women aged 35 to 44.