Frequently asked questions

Please refer to our FAQs if you need assistance with any aspect of your super. 


What is the Superannuation Guarantee (SG)?

The Superannuation Guarantee (SG) is the official term used to describe the mandatory superannuation payments made by employers. Under Australian law, employers are required to contribute a minimum of 9.5% of your salary into your super fund. SG contributions are designed to help build your super and generate an income for when you retire.

Are there exceptions to the Super Guarantee?

Yes, super payments are not required for employees that
1.   Are under 18 and working less than 30 hours per week, or
2.   Earn less than $450 (before tax) in a calendar month

Other exceptions include

- Non-resident employees you pay for work they do outside Australia
- Foreign executives with certain visas or entry permits 
- Employees paid under the Community Development Employment Program
- employees temporarily working in Australia who are covered by a bilateral super agreement. 

What is preservation age?

The preservation age is the minimum age at which you can access your superannuation benefit. If you were born before 1 July 1960, your preservation age is 55; this gradually increases to 60 if you were born after 30 June 1964.

Can I access my super early?

You may be able to access your super benefit early due to the following circumstances 

1.   A terminal medical condition 
2.   Financial hardship
3.   Compassionate grounds
4.   Permanent incapacity

All early release applications are subject to approval by your super fund and may require additional evidence.

See also: Can temporary residents in Australia access their super?

Terminal medical condition

You may be able to claim your super early if you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness or injury that, in the opinion of a specialist medical practitioner, is likely to lead to your death within 24 months from the date of diagnosis.

Please contact us when applying as withdrawing your full super balance may impact your insurance benefits.

Severe financial hardship

If you are in severe financial hardship it may be possible to access up to $10,000 of your super (although this cap is  removed if you are over your preservation age). To claim, you must satisfy one of the following:

1.   You’re under preservation age, unable to afford immediate and reasonable family living expenses and have been receiving Commonwealth income support payments continuously for at least 26 weeks.
2.   You’ve reached preservation age, you’re unemployed (or working less than 10 hours a week) on the date you submit your application and; you have been receiving Commonwealth income support payments for a total of at least 39 weeks.

The minimum amount that can be paid to you is $1,000 and the maximum is $10,000 (minus any taxes). You can only make one withdrawal on the grounds of financial hardship in any 12-month period. If you hold a temporary resident visa, you are not able to apply for financial hardship. 

Compassionate grounds

You may be able to apply for early access to your superannuation benefit if you need help to pay for:
-   Medical or dental treatment for yourself or a dependent, or pay for transport to the treatment
-   Overdue mortgage payments to prevent the sale of your home
-   Funeral expenses for you or your dependants
-   Palliative care costs for you or your dependants with a terminal medical condition
-   Home or car modifications to better accommodate you or your dependant’s severe disability

If you wish to make an application for the early release of your benefit on compassionate grounds, you will need to apply to the Department of Human services (DHS). Please contact our Helpline to discuss the process on 1800 682 626.  

Permanent incapacity

In the event that you become seriously ill or are permanently incapacitated, you may be able to claim your super balance early.  In order to receive any benefit you must show that, due to serious illness or injury, you are no longer able to work in any (or your own) occupation, and not be able to return to work.

For more information please read the PDS.


Who gets my super if I die?

In the event of your death, Equip must pay your super benefit and any insurance benefit to your dependents, unless you do not have any. Dependents can include: 
-   Your spouse (including de facto or same-sex partners)
-   Your children (including step kids or adopted children)
-   Anyone who is financially dependent on you
-   Anyone who has an interdependent relationship with you

In most cases, you can nominate who you would like your benefits to go to via binding and non-binding nominations. 

Binding nomination – A written, legal direction that states who receives your benefit and in what proportions. This is a free service for Equip members.
Non-binding nomination – A preferred nomination that guides your super fund on who should receive your benefit, however, it is not legally binding and may be contested.

If you don’t nominate anyone, it is left with your super fund to decide who receives your death benefit. If you do not have any dependents, your benefit will be paid to your estate and managed as per instructions in your will or for those without a will, via legal procedures. 
Please contact our member service team for more details on (03) 9248 5923.

Can temporary residents in Australia access their super?

Yes, you can access your superannuation benefit once you have left Australia permanently. You are eligible under the Departing Australia Superannuation Payment (DASP) condition of release if:
1.   You entered Australia on any eligible temporary visa and
2.   You have left Australia on a permanent basis and your visa has expired/been cancelled
3.   You are not an Australian or New Zealand citizen
4.   You do not hold a 405 or 410 retirement visa

You can make an online DASP application or download a paper form via the Australian Tax Office (ATO) website 

What happens to my super if I change jobs?

Equip members can switch jobs while retaining the same super account. Just notify your new employer and HR department that you want your Superannuation Guarantee (SG) contributions to be paid into your Equip fund via a Standard Choice form. 

Download a Standard Choice form here

Can I transfer my UK pension into Equip?

Equip has suspended the acceptance of transfers from UK pension schemes until further notice. Until April 2015 Equip was a Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS) under UK law. In April 2015 UK laws changed. Consequently we were required to advise the UK authority Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) that we were no longer a qualifying scheme, due to the differences in UK and Australian law.

We are aware that the Australian Treasury Department is having discussions with HMRC to clarify the situation; however, it is possible that any UK pension transferred to Equip will incur an additional tax penalty of up to 55%. To avoid any additional tax liability for members, Equip has decided to suspend the acceptance of transfers from UK pension schemes until further notice.

The HMRC website includes the following notification:

If a scheme has ceased to be a QROPS, individuals who transferred their pension savings to that pension scheme before it ceased to be a QROPS will be subject to UK tax on the same basis as if the scheme had remained a QROPS. They will be able to remain as members and receive a pension paid from the sums transferred without automatically incurring additional UK tax charges.

You can find more information on the HMRC website here.

How do I find my lost super?

Finding your lost super is simple and easy using our SuperMatch service. All we need is your consent to use your Tax File Number (TFN) to search for any lost super you may have. 

Click here to try use our Supermatch service. 

Growing your super

How do super contributions work for the self-employed?

Super contributions are your own responsibility if you’re self-employed. You can make contributions in the following two ways.

-   Contribute at least 9.5% of your before-tax salary to your super fund. 
-   Make a lump sum payment 

Your pre-tax super contributions are taxed at 15% up to the contribution cap. Any contributions exceeding this are taxed at your marginal tax rate.

If you’re under the age of 50 and self-employed, you can contribute up to $30,000 in pre-tax contributions per year. If you are aged 50 and over, you can contribute up to $35,000. Please note that these caps are subject to change in the future.

How can I boost my super with voluntary contributions?

You can see how your super balance compares to other people in your age bracket by visiting our Move the Dial page. If you’d like to boost your balance you have a variety of options, including

-   Salary sacrifice – You can make additional contributions to your super from your (pre-tax) salary. This not only boosts the amount, it can save you tax. 
-   Spouse contributions - This is an after-tax contribution that can help boost your spouse’s balance,  and may provide you with a tax offset in return. 
-   Voluntary after tax contributions - Contributions made from your take-home pay or savings. If you make personal (after-tax) contributions you may also qualify for the Government co-contribution. 

How does the Government co-contribution work?

The Government Co-contribution is a scheme put in place to help low income earners boost their retirement savings. If you meet certain criteria and make after-tax contributions to your super, you could receive an annual top up from the government, e.g. for every $1 in additional contributions you make (up to $1,000), the Government will chip in $0.50, up to $500. 

If you are eligible, your co-contribution will be calculated and automatically placed into your super by the Australian Tax Office (ATO). 

Download the PDF to learn more.

Why should I consolidate my super?

Consolidating your super into one account can be beneficial if you’ve had more than one job and, as a result, have more than one super account. Consolidating your super means you can

-   Keep track of your super and your account activity from one convenient place
-   Cut down on extra fees and costs from other funds
-   Potentially discover lost super

Before moving any super, it is a good idea to check with your current fund/s about any insurance you may have with them and if there are any exit fees involved with transferring your balance/s. 

For more information on how to transfer your super into Equip, click here.

What is salary sacrifice?

Salary sacrifice is when you ask your employer to direct some of your pre-tax salary into your superannuation account. This is in addition to the mandatory Superannuation Guarantee (SG) contributions already made into your super account. Salary sacrifice contributions are taxed at the lower rate of 15% rather than the marginal tax rate. 

There are limits on how much you can put into your super via salary sacrifice each year. Under the concessional (pre-tax) contributions cap, you can contribute up to $30,000 including your 9.5% Superannuation Guarantee (SG) contributions. If you’re over the age of 50, your contributions cap is higher at $35,000 and also includes your Super Guarantee contributions. 

If you would like to start making salary sacrifice contributions, you should contact your employer’s Human Resources or payroll office. Please note that these caps are subject to change in the future.

Download the PDF to learn more.

What is contribution splitting?

Contribution splitting is when you split your pre-tax contributions from your account to your spouse’s account (or vice versa). Your contributions can only be split once a year and are free of charge between Equip accounts. For external super funds there is a $120 charge per transaction.

Employer contributions are eligible for splitting. This includes
-   Superannuation Guarantee payment
-   Salary sacrifice contributions
-   Other employer funded contributions 

If you are considering contribution splitting, we recommend speaking to a financial planner.

How do spouse contributions work?

A spouse contribution is an after-tax contribution paid by one partner into the other’s super account. Under 2015/2016 tax rules, if your partner is earning less than $13,800 a year, you may be eligible to receive an 18% tax offset on super contributions of up to $3,000. 

If your spouse is aged between 65 and 70, you can only contribute if your spouse satisfies that they have worked at least 40 hours over a 30 day period.

Download the PDF to learn more.

How can I make my super last?

People are living longer than ever, so it’s important to understand how much money you will need in retirement and how long it will need to last. You can get started by consulting the following resources:

1.   Equip’s Retirement Calculator can estimate how long your super will last, and how it may be impacted by the Government Age Pension.
2.   Products like Equip MyPension are designed to invest your superannuation in retirement, while providing you with an income. 
3.   Speaking to a financial planner can help you understand retirement planning options like a transition to retirement pension (TRP).

When can I access my super?

You can access your super under one of the following three conditions:

-   When you reach 65 (even if you are still employed) 
-   When you reach your preservation age and fully retire
-   When you are on a Transition to Retirement Pension (TRP) and still working.

There are limited circumstances when you may be able to access your super benefit early for medical or financial issues. 

Find out more on our Accessing your super page

How much super will I need for retirement?

The amount of super needed in retirement varies on an individual basis and is dependent on a number of factors including; your income, your lifestyle and your savings. 

While there isn’t a simple answer, Equip’s Retirement Calculator tool can give you an idea of how long your super benefit will last and project your future income based on your circumstances. All you need to do is answer a few simple questions based on your income and retirement objectives. 

Try our Retirement Calculator here 

If you would like personal advice, we also recommend speaking to one of our financial planners.  

How does casual/contract work affect my super?

If you often work irregular hours or have gaps in your employment, it can mean that you can’t always contribute to your super on a regular basis. This can affect your benefit in the long term and the amount you have to retire with. 

However if you are eligible, you could receive up to $500 in super contributions from the government under the Government Co-contribution scheme. 

Find out more about Government Co-contribution here.


What types of insurance are available through Equip?

Equip offers three types of cover.

Death: A lump sum benefit paid to your financial dependents on your death. If you suffer from a terminal illness, you may be eligible for an advance payment of your insured death benefit.

Total and permanent disablement (TPD): TPD insurance supports you and your dependants financially upon your permanent disablement or death through accident or illness. 

Salary continuance (SC): SC cover is designed to provide you with up to 75% of your annual salary should you be temporarily unable to work through injury or illness. 

Learn more about Equip insurance and how to apply here.

What are the benefits of insurance through my super?

Taking out insurance through Equip can provide you with a number of benefits that could save you money and provide you with peace of mind. The benefits include:

-   Low premiums: Equip insurance is competitively priced 
-   Insurance to suit you: With Equip, you have access to death and total and permanent disability insurance, as well as salary continuance cover
-   Minimal health evidence: In most circumstances, you are given an automatic level of insurance cover when you first join the fund as an employee, without you having to provide any health evidence
-   Easy payments: Never forget about paying or budgeting for your premiums as payments are debited straight from your account (provided you have sufficient funds).


What is a transition to retirement pension (TRP)?

A transition to retirement pension (TRP) is an account that allows you to start accessing your super before you retire. It is a flexible way to gradually move from work into retirement while supplementing your income and contributing to your super. To be eligible for this, you will need to have reached your preservation age. 

Learn more about the transition to retirement pension (TRP) here

How do I receive payments from my Equip super fund once I retire?

Any regular payments or lump sums withdrawals are paid directly into your nominated bank account. You can choose to receive your payments on a fortnightly, monthly, quarterly, half-yearly or annual basis. Once you application has been processed, the payment due dates are as follows:

Fortnightly – Every second Thursday
Monthly – The 15th of each month (or the working day prior if the 15th falls on a weekend or public holiday)
Quarterly – The 15th of every quarter month i.e. March, June, September and December
Half-yearly/annually – We will commence payments on a 6 or 12 month basis once you have contacted us with a nominated month for your first payment. Your payment date will still remain the 15th of any given month unless you request a change. 

What is an account based pension (ABP)?

An account based pension (ABP) is a flexible and tax effective strategy that can provide you with a regular income stream during your retirement. It can be started with a lump sum once you have fully retired and reached your preservation age. You can adjust your payments (subject to a minimum amount) or make lump sum withdrawals at any time.

You must draw a minimum amount from your ABP account per year which is calculated using an age based percentage and your account balance (see below). Your income payments are tax free once you reach the age of 60. 

Age           Percentage of account balance 
Under 65     4%
65 – 74         5%
75 – 79         6%
80 – 84         7%
85 – 89         9%
90 – 94         11%
95 plus         14%

Learn more about the Account Based Pension (ABP) here

What's the difference between an Account Based Pension (ABP) and Equip MyPension?

Although both are account based, Equip MyPension and an ABP are different in their approach to your investments and how they are managed.

Equip MyPension is a pre-packaged product, designed as a long term strategy to look after your investments and income while growing your savings. It doesn’t allow you to change or select investment strategies, as these are locked in to our ‘3 bucket’ strategy. While you can choose your annual income, it is intended for those who wish to take out no more than 7% of their initial account balance as income per year. 

An account based pension (ABP) is a more flexible investment option, designed to provide you with a regular income stream from your super benefit. It allows you to change your investment options. You can also adjust your income payments or draw out lump sums at any time (subject to a minimum amount). 


What are my investment options with Equip?

We offer two different types of investment products for our members: 

1. Equip’s six Diversified options:
-   Contain a range of asset classes, balancing growth and defensive assets in different proportions

2. Equip’s six Single Sector options:
-   Enables you to invest in a single asset class or your desired mix of asset classes, from low risk (such as Cash) to high risk (such as Overseas Shares).

Before considering any investments, we recommend speaking to a financial advisors.

How long will your super last? Check the MyFuture calculator