Rest completes $700m early release payments

7 May 2020

Retail employees industry superannuation fund Rest has paid 100,385 members a total of $693.4 million in early release payments to members suffering financial hardship due to COVID-19, with 95% either completed already or will be in the next five business days.

There were a further 15,184 applications worth another $104 million currently being processed, with the money reaching members depending on how quickly it was processed by their bank or credit union.

Rest had made an average of 12,500 payments or $90 million per business day, as of Wednesday 6 May, 2020.

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The total applications Rest received from the Australian Tax Office (ATO) was 122,294 with a combined value of $874 million, with the first payments starting on 25 April.

Vicki Doyle, Rest chief executive, said 3% of applications have been flagged for extra verification as part of its fraud protection process.

“These applications will likely extend beyond the five-day period and we know that this will be frustrating for these members,” Doyle said.

“Many of these members are in a desperate situation, and we are determined to make sure these applications are finalised as quickly as possible.”

Under existing financial hardship grounds Rest would typically receive 100 applications per week, but in the first week of the early release scheme it received 65,000.

“We have a dedicated team reviewing these applications every day and we are always looking for ways we can speed up our processes,” Doyle said.

“However, Rest has a clear obligation to our members to ensure all these payments are legitimate.”

The fund noted that the number of applications it received was significantly below its forecasts before the early access scheme began. It said the average number of applications received per day was trending down.

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The number of applications seems low to me. 120k from the retail industry australia-wide, I would have thought it'd be 3 or 4 times that many. Maybe a lot of people are going through the hard yards of actually getting a mygov account set up.

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