- Can I nominate who will receive my super on my death?
- If I work part time, what salary is used to calculate my benefit?
- I've got 180 points. Should I still make contributions to SASS?
- My statement tells me I have not been assessed for Additional Benefit Cover. What does that mean?
- My statement says I have a retirement benefit at 58 but it also says I have a preservation age of 55. When can I retire?
- I have retired and submitted the necessary documents to you. When will my benefit be paid?
- How does extended leave affect my contributions and benefit?
- My benefit has been flagged with a family law matter. Why am I not able to access my details and benefits online?
- How do I arrange to start salary sacrificing my compulsory superannuation contributions?
- I have decided to purchase an extra four weeks leave under the new award provisions. Will there be any effect on my super?
- I'm a shift worker. What will happen to my benefit if I take my long service leave (LSL) in the lead-up to my retirement?
- I make contributions to my superannuation scheme but others are paid the Superannuation Guarantee (SG) without having to make contributions. What is the SG and why don't I get it?
Can I nominate who will receive my super on my death?
In the case of the State Authorities Superannuation Scheme (SASS), benefits are paid strictly in accordance with the scheme legislation and there is no provision for a member to nominate a beneficiary as the beneficiaries are prescribed under NSW legislation. In the event of a member's death, the benefit will be paid to an eligible spouse or de facto partner of the deceased member. Where a claim is made by more than one eligible person, the Trustee may decide that a spouse or de facto partner's benefit will be shared and how.
On the death of a member who is not survived by an eligible spouse or de facto partner, the benefit will normally be paid to the personal representatives (generally the executor) of the deceased's estate. For further information, see SASS Fact Sheet 8: Death benefit.
If I work part time, what salary is used to calculate my benefit?
All benefits in SASS are calculated using the equivalent full-time salary of your position. SASS is a service-related scheme, so you accrue your benefit based on the service you give your employer. The pro-rata reduction in the benefit when you work part time is calculated through a reduction in the number of benefit points you accrue. For example, if you work half time, rather than accruing one point for each 1% of your salary contributed for a year, you will accrue half a benefit point. This half a benefit point is then multiplied by the full-time equivalent salary for your position, so the half-time benefit being worth half as much as the full-time benefit. For further information, see SASS Fact Sheet 3: Benefit points system.
I've got 180 points. Should I still make contributions to SASS?
The SASS rules require that you contribute a minimum of 1% of your salary to the scheme. Reaching 180 contributed and maximum available benefit points means you will receive the maximum benefit available from the employer-financed component of your benefit (other than as a result of an increase in salary).
However, you are able to continue making contributions to your personal account at between 1% and 9%. Ongoing personal contributions will continue to be paid into your personal account and will continue to accrue earnings at the rate of your investment strategy. You are also able to salary sacrifice these contributions, with the agreement of your employer, which may provide you with a tax benefit. Continuing to make contributions to your personal account allows you to 'top up' your superannuation savings with no additional administration fees. Remember that salary sacrifice contributions are 'concessional contributions'. For further information, see SASS Fact Sheet 3: Benefit points system and SASS Fact Sheet 16: Concessional contributions cap.
My statement tells me I have not been assessed for Additional Benefit cover. What does that mean?
The optional Additional Benefit is a form of insurance intended to make up the difference between the accrued benefit and the benefit you would have received if you were able to continue in your current employment until you reached your earliest retirement age in the scheme – 58, or 55 in the case of former members of the State Public Service Superannuation Fund (SPSSF).
If your annual statement shows that you are 'Not Assessed', this means that you have never applied to be covered for this Additional Benefit. If you are younger than your earliest retirement age and would like to be covered by this important insurance, you need to complete the confidential SASS Form 431: Application for Additional Benefit cover and lodge it with State Super.
Most applications will be assessed on the information provided on the form. However, if we are unable to assess your eligibility for the Additional Benefit cover based on this information, you may be required to provide additional information or undergo a medical examination.
You will be charged a levy based on your age and the amount of cover, which will be deducted from your SASS account each month. This means no extra deductions are made from your pay. You pay only 25% of the cost of the levy; your employer meets the remaining 75% of the cost. For further information, see SASS Fact Sheet 4: Optional Additional Benefit and SASS Form 431: Application for Additional Benefit cover.
Note: If you are employed by the NSW Fire Brigade, NSW Ambulance Service or NSW Police Service, you are not eligible to apply for Additional Benefit cover in SASS. Alternative insurance arrangements apply for eligible fire-fighters, ambulance officers and police officers. For further information, please contact Customer Service on 1300 130 095.
My statement says I have a retirement benefit at 58 but it also says I have a preservation age of 55. When can I retire?
Commonwealth government legislation sets the minimum age at which members can access their superannuation benefits in all Australian superannuation funds, and also sets out how those benefits will be taxed. This minimum age is known as the preservation age. NSW legislation sets out the age at which you can access SASS retirement benefits.
Most SASS members cannot access a retirement benefit from SASS before age 58, although they may be able to access another type of benefit – such as a retrenchment benefit – earlier. If a member of SASS became entitled to another type of benefit after reaching their preservation age, the Commonwealth government rules regarding access to the benefit and the taxation of that benefit would apply. For further information, see STC Fact Sheet 4: When can I be paid my superannuation benefits?
I have retired and submitted the necessary documents to you. When will my benefit be paid?
The following documents are required before your retirement benefit can be processed:
- your application form – fully and correctly completed
- your TFN
- proof of your identity and age
- your employer's advice that you have ceased employment, along with your last contribution
Benefit payments are generally processed for payment within five working days of receiving all the necessary information. If you are taking a lump sum, it will be forwarded to your nominated financial institution, and will generally be received within 4 weeks of your last day of service.
If you are taking a pension it will be paid on the next pension payroll day, providing all information was received at least 14 days before that day. Your first pension payment will include a pension back-dated to the date of your retirement, with benefits generally being paid within 6 weeks of your last day of service.
You should follow up on how your application is progressing to ensure that Mercer has received your documents and your employer's forms, and processing your application. You can do this by calling SASS on 1300 130 095.
You should not rely on receiving your benefit early to pay a major expense such as the settlement on a property. For further information, see STC Fact Sheet 5: Retiring or resigning, what you need to know for payment of your benefit.
How does extended leave affect my contributions and benefit?
You can take extended leave at single pay, double pay or half pay. These are all treated for superannuation purposes as if they were taken at single pay. If you are employed full time, the salary reported is the full-time salary and you accrue benefits at the full-time rate for the period of your extended leave. However, you need to be aware that if you take extended leave at half pay, you will need to make arrangements with your employer to ensure that your contributions are still deducted at the full-time rate from your half-time salary. Part-time employees' leave entitlements are paid on a pro-rata basis. For further information, see the NSW Public Sector Personnel Handbook.
My benefit has been flagged with a family law matter. Why am I not able to access my details and benefits online?
When a superannuation account is flagged as being subject to a family law order or has been reduced as a result of the implementation of a family law order, any requested benefit estimates must be calculated manually and can no longer be calculated automatically by the system. Therefore, all benefits that are subject to family law splits must be manually calculated. You can arrange this manual calculation by contacting Customer Service on 1300 130 095. You can also refer to your Annual Benefit Statement, which shows benefits estimated as at 30 June each year.
How do I arrange to start salary sacrificing my compulsory superannuation contributions?
Salary sacrifice is an arrangement made between you and your employer and forms part of the way you are remunerated. Therefore, you need to approach your employer for the form you will need to complete and return the completed form to your employer. Some employers make these forms available to their employees on their intranet sites; alternatively, you will need to approach your payroll officer or Human Resources Manager.
With the agreement of your employer, you can commence salary sacrificing your compulsory personal contributions to SASS from any future pay. You arrange to salary sacrifice your SASS compulsory contributions directly with your employer's payroll function; this is entirely separate from any arrangement you make to salary sacrifice additional contributions to another 'top up' superannuation fund or to salary package other benefits.
For further information, see SASS Fact Sheet 17: Salary sacrifice.
I have decided to purchase an extra four weeks leave under the new award provisions. Will there be any effect on my super?
The benefits from SASS are based on your salary at or near your exit from the scheme. If you purchase additional leave, your salary – including your salary for superannuation purposes – will be reduced to 96.15% of your salary if you purchase an additional 10 days of leave, and 92.3% of your salary if you purchase an additional 20 days of leave. Your salary is reported annually to the scheme and is used to calculate the cost of your contributions for the following year. It is also used to calculate the value of your benefit at retirement, retrenchment, invalidity or death, and the value of a preserved benefit on resignation. A reduction in your reported salary will also reduce the value of monthly Additional Employer Contributions made by your employer (if applicable).
Your final average salary – which is used to calculate the value of a SASS benefit on retirement and the basic benefit – uses your salary when you exit the scheme and at the previous two Annual Review Days. A reduction in any of these salaries would result in you receiving a lower benefit.
For further information, see SASS Fact Sheet 6: Salary for superannuation purposes.
I'm a shift worker. What will happen to my benefit if I take my long service leave (LSL) in the lead-up to my retirement?
As a shift worker, your salary for superannuation purposes may include a loading that depends on the number of shifts you worked in the 12 months prior to the salary reporting date. There may be a loading of 0%, 10%, 15% or 20% applied to your base salary for superannuation purposes, which depends on the number of shifts you have worked in the 12-month period, for which you have received a shift penalty.
If you take LSL in this period, you will not be working shift work, however, the shift loading will still be calculated, based on the number of relevant shifts you would have actually worked during the relevant period but for being on LSL.
Some members will have their shift allowance calculated using a different method. Where there is in force an agreement between, or a practice accepted by, a trade union and the employer of a contributor which was in force immediately before 18 December 1987, and the effect of that agreement or practice is that amounts that the employer pays to the contributor as shift allowances are treated as a loading for superannuation purposes, then that amount continues to be treated as a loading for superannuation purposes, provided it exceeds the amount that would have been calculated under the standard shift loading method. It should be noted that if this applies to you, and you take LSL, as you will not be working shifts you will not be receiving shift allowances, so you may move to the standard method for determining a shift loading, and therefore potentially be reducing the loading that applies to your salary for superannuation purposes.
A reduction in the salaries reported at the previous two annual review days and/or at exit will result in a lower benefit being paid. A reduction in your reported salary will also reduce the value of monthly Additional Employer Contributions made by your employer (if applicable).
For further information, see SASS Fact Sheet 6: Salary for superannuation purposes.
I make contributions to my superannuation scheme but others are paid the Superannuation Guarantee (SG) without having to make contributions. What is the SG and why don't I get it?
The beginning of compulsory super in Australia occurred as a result of a national pay rise awarded in 1986 on condition that the pay rise be saved in the form of superannuation, to remove its potential inflationary effects and extend access to superannuation benefits universally to all Australian workers.
Individual unions were given the authority to negotiate with employers to have a 3% superannuation benefit included in their awards on the basis of agreeing to productivity improvements. This benefit is often referred to as 'award super' or 'the productivity benefit'. It was granted to members of SAS Trustee Corporation (STC) schemes from 1 April 1988 and is known as the Basic Benefit.
By the early 1990s, the Commonwealth Government recognised that it needed to enforce payment of superannuation contributions. In 1992, the Government introduced the Superannuation Guarantee (SG), which was to be administered by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
The SG set minimum – rather than maximum – levels of superannuation contributions that an employer must make on behalf of their employees. This meant that for members of superannuation funds whose employer-funded benefits were worth more than the SG, the employer was not required to pay more. However, your employer is required to ensure that the employer-financed benefit payable is equal to or more than the SG that would have accrued.
For this to occur, STC schemes measure the employer-financed benefit payable (including the Basic Benefit and Additional Employer Contributions) against the SG that would have accrued. If the employer-financed benefit payable from the scheme is lower than the SG payable, an additional amount representing the difference is also paid. Therefore, if the 3% Basic Benefit plus the employer-financed benefit payable is less than the SG, a shortfall representing the difference is payable. This amount will be included on your Annual Benefit Statement.