COVID-19 Stimulus Package #2 reduction in Minimum Pensions and Deeming


Corona Virus Stimulus Package 2

 

On Sunday the 22nd March the Morrison Government announced it is temporarily reducing the minimum pension drawdown requirements on superannuation income streams for the rest of the 2020 Financial Year and all of the 2021 Financial Year. This affects Account-based Pensions, Transition to Retirement Pensions, Allocated Pensions and Market Linked Income Streams

The measure will benefit many retirees not just SMSF members by reducing the need of to sell equity and bond investments that have taken a hit to their value in the last month to fund their minimum pension drawdown requirements.

There are some tips and traps for those running their own funds so please read the detail carefully.

Minimum annual payments for super income streams for 2019/20 and 2020/21 Financial years.

Age at 1 July

Standard 

Minimum % withdrawal 

50% reduced

minimum pension 

Under 65

4%

2%

65–74

5%

2.5%

75–79

6%

3%

80–84

7% 

3.5%

85–89

9%

4.5%

90–94

11%

5.5%

95 or older

14%

7%

FINER DETAILS with TIPS and TRAPS

Here is some of the finer detail on how these measures will work, along with some tips and traps to consider when taking withdrawals for the rest of this financial year and the full 2020-21 financial year:

  • The measures are forward looking so if a pension member has already taken your minimum pension for the year then they cannot change the payment for this year but they can get organised for 2020/21. So, no you can’t try to sneak a payment back in to the SMSF bank account!
  • If a pension member has already taken pensions payments of equal to or greater than the 50% reduced minimum amount, they are not required to take any further pension payments before 30 June 2020.  For example, many would have taken quarterly or half yearly payments. If they add up to the 50% reduced minimum then you do not need to take anymore payments this financial year.
  • If you still need your pension payments for living expenses but have already taken the 50% reduced minimum then, it may be a good strategy for amounts above the 50% reduced minimum to be treated as either:
    1. a partial lump commutation sum rather than as a pension payment. This would create a debit against the pension members transfer balance account (TBA).  Please discuss this with your accountant and adviser asap as some funds will have to report this quarterly and others on an annual basis. OR
    2. for those with both pension and accumulation accounts to take the excess as a lump sum from the accumulation account balance to preserve as much in tax exempt pension phase as possible going forward to future years.

Let’s look at an example:

Example – 50% reduced minimum pension options

Jenny (66) has an account based pension from her Self Managed Super Fund – The Morrison Pension Fund. The balance of her pension at 1 July 2019 was $800,000, which requires her to take a minimum pension payment for the 2019/20 financial year of 5% ($40,000). Her husband Scotty is still working but will have a large pension on retirement.

Thanks to the Stimulus Package Part #2 she can take a 50% reduced minimum pension for 2019-20, meaning that Jenny is only required to draw down $20,000 before 30 June 2020. As Jenny still needs the income and usually takes her pension every month so has already taken $30,000 for the year. There is still room to use a strategy and benefit. Jenny can now stop the monthly payments for April-June and take a Partial Lump Sum Commutation  of $10,000 to cover her income needs but this will now reduce her Transfer Balance Account by $10,000 as well freeing up the ability to add more to pension phase at a later date (such as on the death of Scotty)

If as of 1 July 2020 Jenny’s Pension account has dropped to $600,000 as a result of the impact of the coronavirus on financial markets, Jenny’s now has the option to do some planning for 2020/21 financial year as well. Based on the 1 July balance Jenny’s 50% reduced minimum pension for the 2020-21 financial year is calculated at $$15,000 or $600,000 x 2.5%. So, she can take the $15,000 via monthly pension payments of $1,250 and her remaining income needs for the year of $25,000 via combination of one or more Partial Lump Sum Commutations during the 2020/21 year. Plan ahead with your adviser to document this properly.

The result of this change is that Jenny can still meet her income needs but will be able to free up some of her Transfer Balance Cap for future use.

More details on this package here Supporting Individuals and Households –Temporarily reducing superannuation minimum drawdown rates

Changes to Deeming Rates

In Stimulus Package #2 the government approved new lower Deeming Rates for Centrelink/DVA income tested benefits. the measure is a further 0.25% drop in Lower Rate to 0.25% and the Higher Rate to 2.25% 

On 12 March, the Government had already announced a 0.5 percentage point reduction in both the upper and lower social security deeming rates. The Government will now reduce these rates by another 0.25 percentage points.

As of 1 May 2020, the upper deeming rate will be 2.25 per cent and the lower deeming rate will be 0.25 per cent. The reductions reflect the low interest rate environment and its impact on the income from savings. The change will benefit around 900,000 income support recipients, including around 565,000 Age Pensioners who will, on average receive around $105 more of the Age Pension in the first full year the reduced rates apply.

What are the new deeming rates?
Situation Deeming rate
Single 0.25% on the first $51,800 of your investment assets, plus 2.25% on your investment assets over the amount of $51,800
Couple 0.25% on the first $86,200 of your combined investment assets, plus 2.25% on your investment assets over the amount of $86,200

Examples provided by Government:

Helen is a single part-rate age pensioner
Helen receives a single part-rate Age Pension. She has $200,000 in financial assets with $175,000 held in a term deposit which returns 1.5 per cent and the remainder in a cash transaction account earning a negligible rate of interest.

Under the former deeming rates, Helen’s Age Pension would have been reduced by $8.50 per fortnight as her income was above the income test threshold. With the change in deeming rates Helen has less deemed income and will now be eligible for a maximum rate Age Pension.

Leslie and Brian are an age pensioner couple
Leslie and Brian are an age pensioner couple. They have $550,000 worth of financial assets. They hold $300,000 in a superannuation account with a conservative investment strategy which returned around 5 per cent last year. They have invested $130,000 in a term deposit with an annual return of 1.5 per cent and hold the remainder in a cash transaction account earning a negligible rate of interest.

Under the former deeming rates, Leslie and Brian’s Age Pension would have been reduced by $65 each per fortnight. Under the new deeming rates, Leslie and Brian’s Age Pension will only be reduced by around $32 each per fortnight.

More details on this package here Supporting Individuals and Households –Reducing social security deeming rates

LASTLY BUT IMPORTANTLY PLEASE BE CAREFUL ABOUT CLICKING ON LINKS IN SMS MESSAGES OR EMAILS. IF YOU WANT TO CHECK ANY ATO/CENTRELINK/Government OFFER THEN GO TO YOUR ADVISER/TAX AGENT OR THE ATO/CENTRELINK WEBSITE DIRECTLY TO VERIFY IT.

Looking for an adviser that will keep you up to date and provide guidance and tips like in this blog? Then why now contact me at our Castle Hill or Windsor office in Northwest Sydney to arrange a one on one consultation. Just click the Schedule Now button up on the left to find the appointment options. Do it! Make 2019 the year to get organised or it will be 2029 before you know it.

Please consider passing on this article to family or friends. Pay it forward!

Liam Shorte B.Bus SSA™ AFP

Financial Planner & SMSF Specialist Advisor™

SMSF Specialist Adviser 

 Follow SMSFCoach on Twitter Liam Shorte on Linkedin NextGen Wealth on Facebook   

Verante Financial Planning

Tel: 02 98941844, Mobile: 0413 936 299

PO Box 6002 BHBC, Baulkham Hills NSW 2153

5/15 Terminus St. Castle Hill NSW 2154

Corporate Authorised Representative of Viridian Select Pty Ltd ABN 41 621 447 345, AFSL 51572

This information has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. This website provides an overview or summary only and it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon as such.

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