More than $18 billion has been sapped from the country’s superannuation sector, as millions of Australians claim financial hardship due to COVID-19.
Weekly figures released by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority show 2.4 million people have lodged applications to dip into their retirement savings, through the federal government’s early release of super scheme.
As of June 28, $18.1 billion had been drained from the country’s near $3 trillion wealth system, with an average payment request of $7503.
APRA estimates 2.5 million people have lodged withdrawal applications with the Australian Taxation Office, totalling to $19bn.
The scheme was first introduced as a measure to support workers who had become unemployed or experienced a reduction in working hours, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
It allows a person to withdraw up to $10,000 in both the 2020 and 2021 financial years.
According to APRA, 85 per cent of the country’s super funds have received withdrawal requests from members.
Industry fund members make up the bulk of payment requests, with $8.55 billion of total funds coming from five major wealth providers.
AustralianSuper has experienced the largest hit, with 324,666 members requesting a total $2.44 billion.
Close to 265,000 Sunsuper members have lodged early withdrawals with the ATO, with $1.78 billion already being paid out to 252,312 account holders.
Hospitality-based fund Hostplus has handed out $1.62 billion to about 237,000 members, for an average payment of $6861.
Rest, which is the predominant fund for retail industry workers, has paid out $1.66 billion to its members, while Cbus has incurred a $1.05 billion hit to its funds under management.
Originally published as Aussies raid $18b from their savings