How Rest can assist members in financial distress

Occasionally, our members find themselves in unexpected situations where they struggle to make ends meet. It can be a difficult and stressful time, and members often approach their super fund for help. This is because when members feel they have exhausted other avenues, they see their super balance as a last resort to fixing their financial problems.

There are very strict rules set by the government in relation to releasing super before retirement. Whilst some members will meet the criteria, some will not. When members are experiencing financial distress, a no from their super fund can be devastating. When members call or Live Chat with us about financial distress, we undertake an assessment of their current situation. We look at all the possible options available them, including insurance claims and eligibility conditions for early release of super.

Where we identify that a member may be able to claim under their insurance policy, we get the process started with them straight away. Sometimes a member may not even be aware they can claim through their super insurance policy, so our aim is to assist them in working out whether they are eligible to claim. If there are other options available to assist the member, we provide them with the information they need to get the ball rolling. In some cases, we’re able to transfer the phone call to the relevant service, including Australian Taxation Office. Our priority is to ensure members are aware of their available options. For many though, these options fall outside superannuation and what Rest can help with. In those circumstances we provide them with information about a free financial counselling service available through the National Debt Helpline.

The National Debt Helpline offers members information and practical support. They can also assist members with resources to take positive steps towards improving their financial position. This can include referrals for face to face financial counselling, legal, family, community and housing support services.
Financial Counsellors are a great resource and can help take the pressure off members by supporting their dealings with creditors, service providers, banks and other financial institutions. They can also provide helpful tools to aid conversations with other parties and offer assistance with budgeting or cashflow management, plus planning tools to help them get back on track.