Oversight of the early release of superannuation on compassionate grounds will be transferred from the Department of Human Services (DHS) to the taxman from 1 July.
“The Australian Taxation Office (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,” Revenue Minister Kelly O’Dwyer said in a statement.
She claimed the switch would minimise any fraud risk and “ensure successful applicants received funds sooner in their time of need”.
The DHS has administered early release since 2011 and will accept requests for early release until 30 June, plus process those applications. But from 1 July, the ATO will take over, deciding on requests based on compassionate grounds.
“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,” the statement said.
“This will mitigate fraud risk and negate the need for superannuation funds to independently verify the letter with the regulator.”
The Government said the transfer of powers was one of a number of measures it wanted to introduce to “ensure that the rules governing superannuation serve the interests of members”. “It complements the review under way 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 on the review of super rules later this year.
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