Frequently asked questions
Death and invalidity benefits
Can I nominate or change my beneficiaries
No, you cannot. PSS scheme rules determine who receives your PSS benefit in the event of your death, which means the PSS cannot accept binding beneficiary nominations. Under the PSS rules, your benefit will be paid in the event of your death to any eligible spouse and/or eligible children. An eligible spouse is defined as a person who was living in a marital or couple relationship with you at the time of your death, for a continuous period of three years or more. If you were in a relationship for less than three years, Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (Trustee of PSS) may still declare a spouse to be eligible.
If you don’t have eligible beneficiaries at the time of your death, your PSS benefit will be paid to your estate. You may wish to reference your superannuation entitlement in a Will. More information can be found in the Death benefits factsheet under factsheets.
Do I have insurance cover?
Although traditional insurance is not offered through PSS, members do receive death and invalidity cover. This cover is provided under the scheme rules and you do not pay insurance premiums or other fees.
More information about invalidity benefits can be found in the Invalidity benefits factsheet under factsheets.
How do I request a benefit estimate?
In order to obtain a benefit estimate for redundancy, voluntary or involuntary retirement, we require your employer to complete the Estimate Request Form for Employer use only.
Alternatively, you can use the I-Estimator located on Member Services Online to project your potential final benefit.
What are the benefit estimate processing times?
Estimates that can be generated automatically are completed and sent within around four business days.
Estimates that require manual intervention can take up to 15 business days to be completed and sent.
I am under the age of 55, can I claim a pension?
Yes, you can convert your total PSS benefit to a CPI-indexed pension, which is payable for life and indexed twice yearly. Reversionary pensions are payable to any eligible spouse and/or children if you pass away.
How is my benefit calculated?
Your PSS benefit is calculated using the following formula:
Final Average Salary (FAS) x your Accrued Benefit Multiple (ABM)
The FAS for redundancy is calculated slightly differently to normal retirement to include your salary on exit.
The exit salary is pro-rated with the oldest of the last three birthday salaries.
Example: Redundancy FAS calculation if a member leaves 3 months after their birthday.
2011 salary: $60,000
2012 salary: $64,000
2013 salary: $68,000
Exit Salary: $72,000
Exit salary ($72,000 x 92 days) ÷ 365 = $18,148
($60,000 x 273 days) ÷ 365 = $44,876 = $63,024
($68,000 + $64,000 + $63,024) ÷ 3 = $65,008
Will I have to pay tax on my PSS benefit?
Tax is payable on both lump sum payments and pensions.
The amount of tax is affected by the following:
your age at the date you claim
if you are taking a lump sum and a pension
if you rollover your money into another superannuation fund.
For more information read Factsheets on taxation.
What benefit application form do I need to complete?
When does my benefit application form have to be completed by?
Applications should be completed within 90 days of your retirement date.
Do I submit my application form directly to PSS?
No. All completed application forms need to be submitted to your personnel or payroll section first. Your employer will then forward your application form directly to PSS for processing.
Any benefits requiring manual or family law intervention will take longer.
How long will it take PSS to process my application form?
While every effort will be made to process redundancy benefit payments as quickly as possible, accuracy must be of primary consideration when doing so. Therefore, it may take between four and eight weeks from receipt of a complete and correct application form before payment will be made.
Where can I get more information?
PHONE: 1300 000 377
FAX: 02 6272 9613
MAIL: PSS GPO Box 2252 Canberra ACT 2601
Pensions (including CPI & tax)
What is the new CPI rate?
The January 2018 CPI increase is 0.8%.
How is the CPI increase calculated?
Why is tax taken from my PSS pension?
PSS pensions are considered to be taxable income by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and therefore we are obliged to deduct tax from your pension according to the relevant PAYG taxation schedules.
We will deduct any tax concessions you are eligible for automatically each fortnight, unless you have advised us that you wish to claim these concessions on an annual basis through your income tax return.
If you think you should not be paying tax on your pension you will need to apply to the ATO for an assessment. You can do this by completing a PAYG income tax withholding variation (ITWV) form available at ato.gov.au and submitting it to the ATO. Once the ATO has provided you with an assessment, you can forward this information to the PSS and we will apply any changes to your tax on the next available payday.
More information can be found in the Factsheets on taxation.
I've recently turned 60, will this affect my pension?
Once you turn 60 there may be significant tax changes to your PSS pension. For more information please refer to the Factsheets on taxation.
Will the age pension affect my pension?
Our pensions are not means tested against any other income support payments. If you are receiving a pension from Centrelink or DVA, it may be affected by our pension. Please contact Centrelink or DVA for more information.
What are the changes to the treatment of the pension deductible amount?
From 1 January 2016 the deductible amount from most defined benefit income streams will be capped at 10% for the purposes of the social security income test used by the Department of Human Services (DHS). The deductible amount of a defined benefit income stream is also known as the tax-free component.
These changes will apply to the defined benefit pensions paid by the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation (CSC) to former Australian Government employees. The amount of pension paid by CSC will not change.
If you or your spouse have defined benefit income streams with tax-free components of 10% or less of the gross CSC pension payments, there will be no change to your entitlements from DHS.
If you or your spouse have a defined benefit income stream with a deductible amount of more than 10% of the gross CSC pension payments, DHS will cap the deductible amount at 10% of the gross CSC pension payment received, when assessing your entitlement as well as your spouse’s entitlement to:
- income support payments
- the Low Income Health Care Card
- for the purposes of aged-care fee assessments.
More information about these changes is available from the Department of Human Services at www.humanservices.gov.au using the search term 'defined benefit' or by calling 132 300.
When will my pension cease/run out?
Your pension is payable to you for your lifetime. Following your death, a reversionary pension may be paid to an eligible spouse and/or any dependant children.
Centrelink have asked me to complete a ‘Details of Income Stream Product form’ (SA330), can you help me with this?
This form asks us to provide information about your income to assess eligibility for Centrelink benefits.
You can call the Customer Information Centre on 1300 001 777, and we can email, post or fax our response to you.
What happens when I pass away?
When the time comes, your family should ensure we are notified at the earliest opportunity. They should gather important documents such as a Will, birth and marriage certificates and the death certificate
(when it becomes available). They should then complete the benefit application form and submit it with the required identity documents (which are outlined in the form). The form is available from the PSS website.
I have recently become a pensioner, but I cannot access my online account.
You will need to register for Member Services Online to get access. Registering is easy and takes only a few minutes. Simply go to Register Account and provide your AGS number.
Has a tax change affected my pension amount?
We will automatically apply eligible tax offsets against your pension, unless you wish to claim them in your annual tax return. You can tell us in writing if you don’t want to claim the offsets fortnightly.
The two tax offsets that may be available to you are:
1. A 15% offset which is available on the taxable taxed component of your pension if you:
- have reached preservation age and any part of your pension was from a taxed source, we will automatically apply the offset to your pension when you reach preservation age. Your fortnightly tax will also change to the marginal tax rate, less the 15% offset
- are a reversionary pension recipient (regardless of age), that has a taxed component and your late spouse was under 60. You will receive this 15% offset at any age until you are 60 years old. Once you turn 60, this will become tax-free
- are an invalidity pension recipient. This offset is available to you at any age.
The taxable taxed component becomes tax-free once you turn 60 years of age.
2. A 10% offset which is available on the taxable untaxed component if you are:
- aged 60 or over. We will automatically apply this 10% offset to your fortnightly pension when you turn 60. Your fortnightly tax will also change to the marginal tax rate less the 10% offset.
- a reversionary pension recipient (regardless of age), and your late spouse was over 60.
From 1 July 2017, the tax concessions on your pension will be capped if your total gross defined benefit pension exceeds $100,000 p.a. For more information please see the The Transfer Balance Cap [PDF 353 KB].
What is the difference between a power of attorney and a third party authority?
A valid power of attorney allows full and complete access to your records, including being able to update personal details where necessary and request information on your behalf. A third party authority only allows information to be obtained about your account.
I have a power of attorney and want to access/change information.
Once we have received a valid general or enduring power of attorney, you will be able to request information and/or update contact details for the pensioner.
A valid power of attorney must include:
- the pensioner’s full name
- the type of power of attorney, for example for financial matters, health matters, or both
- correct certification: certified on the page/s holding the pensioner’s personal information, or within a range of pages
- the dates of validity, for a general power of attorney.
You can post or email a certified copy of the power of attorney to us.
Why can’t I view my Member Statement online?
You will not be able to view your statement online if you are:
- an associate member of the PSS as a result of a family law split
- have a deferred benefit and are over the age of 65
You may also be excluded from receiving a statement if we have received two items of mail ‘Return to Sender’. If you think we may have an incorrect address on file, please call the Customer Information Centre on 1300 000 277 so that we can update your address and request your statement be sent to you.
I think my superannuation salary on my statement is incorrect
Your salary for superannuation is reported on your birthday each year by your personnel section. You may receive salary increases throughout the financial year, but until you pass another birthday your salary will not be reported through onto your account.
If you still think your salary is incorrect, you will need to contact your personnel section and advise them to report through the correct or most recent birthday salary.
Why do I have a negative co-contribution?
We have been directed by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to recover co-contributions from members where there has been an overpayment.
If this applies to you, you will notice a negative co-contribution rate reported in your member statement.
Please call the ATO on 13 10 20 if you have any enquiries.
I contributed into the PSS earlier than my commencement date shows. Why is this?
If you contributed to the PSS, but left and then re-joined at any point your statement will always show your latest commencement date.
We still have a record of the earlier commencement date on file.
What is the rate of allotment?
This figure is an indication of the earnings on your account over the 2013-14 financial year. The return averages the changes to your account over this period and because it’s an average it is only an indicative figure.
To determine your rate of allotment, we take your opening balance, average member cash flows (such as contributions and transfers), and closing balance to calculate an indicative return for the year.
Note: This rate of allotment will change if you have switched investment options within the financial year. A pro-rated rate of allotment will be shown in your next member statement.
Why do I have negative investment earnings?
Superannuation investments are designed to provide positive growth over the long term. However, in the short term, investment values will fluctuate, which may result in positive or negative returns. It is important to remember that, while diverse investment strategies have been created to provide a balanced investment return, positive returns are not guaranteed and growth will be affected by fluctuations in the global financial market.
PSS preserved members have the option of switching between the Default Fund, a medium to high risk investment and the Cash Investment Option, a very low risk investment. Because of this, we suggest you seek independent licensed financial advice about your investment options before making any changes. More information about investments and performance can be found under Investment & Performance.
Where is my transfer value on my statement?
It is shown as a separate amount under the table indicating your equity in PSS. However, in some instances involving a transfer multiple calculation, your transfer value will be shown as part of your member, productivity or employer components.
Why is my listed salary lower than my current salary?
Your salary shown on your Member Statement is your salary for superannuation purposes – called your super salary. It is your super salary for your most recent birthday immediately before 30 June each year. If you had a birthday on or after 1 July, your super salary for that birthday will be shown on your next Member Statement.
What is the SIS upper limit?
Your SIS upper limit represents the total benefit available to you if you were retrenched on 1 July 1999; it includes your member component and most of your employer component. On resignation or redundancy before preservation age, you can access as a lump sum the amount lesser of your SIS upper limit or member component.
What are Contribution Due Days?
These are paydays for when you contributed to PSS. If you have less than 260 Contribution Due Days on your Member Statement, your employer will match your contributions to a maximum average of 5%. However, if you reach or exceed 260 Due Days and you have elected to contribute over 5%, your employer will match your rate.
Why did I receive only one statement when I have multiple memberships?
To help you make sense of your superannuation, PSS aims to link your membership if you have had more than one. Your single current Member Statement will incorporate information from all your pervious memberships. If PSS cannot link your previous memberships, you will continue to receive separate statements for each membership.
Do the investment option changes/changed investment return objectives impact on my defined benefit?
The changes have no impact on the determination of your PSS benefit.
For information about the impact of investment returns on your benefit, refer to the Investment Options and Risk booklet, available from the PDS page.
I have seen on your website that you have changed the investment return objective and target asset allocation for the Default option – do I need to do anything?
You don't need to take any action. You should however review the changes to the investment objective and the asset allocations. These are available in the PSS Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and the Investment Options and Risk booklet (which forms part of the PDS), available from the PDS page.
Why has the investment objective changed for the Default options?
Investment return objectives are as follows:
PSS Investment Option
Investment Return Objective - 1 March 2013
Previous Return Objective
|Default||CPI + 3.5%||10 years||CPI + 4.5%|
CSC has changed the investment objective for the Default option because it expects that, for the same level of risk taking, average investment returns in the decade ahead will be lower than those generated in the stronger‑growth environment of the 1980s-2000s. This reflects the ongoing impact of the global financial crisis. As developed economies reduce their debt, growth in economic activity and in corporate earnings is likely to be lower, on average, than the decades preceding the crisis.
Third Party (including financial planners)
What is your scheme about?
The Public Sector Superannuation (PSS) scheme is a defined benefit scheme. These frequently asked questions are designed to provide general information about PSS.
Annual statements are provided at the end of each financial year. Statements include a member’s:
- Total equity
- Date membership commenced
- Final Average Salary (FAS)
- Accrued Benefit Multiple (ABM)
- Current death and invalidity benefits
- Preservation components
- Management costs
- Earning rate for the financial year
Members can view and print their statements by logging on to Member Services Online (MSO). In order to log in to MSO they will need a confidential access number. Members can request one by contacting the Customer Information Centre on 1300 000 277 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Statements are generally distributed in late August/early September. Any statement that requires manual intervention (i.e. for family law reasons) will be delayed. All statements will be provided to members by 31 December.
In order for you to obtain information, including a current estimate of funds and benefits payable, the member needs to provide us with an Authority to release information to a third party form which you can access on our forms page.
Alternatively, you may arrange a letter of authority. Three points of member ID and the member’s signature must accompany this letter in order for it to be deemed valid.
For more information about PSS, read the Product Disclosure Statement.
How is a PSS benefit calculated?
A member’s benefit is calculated using the formula:
- Final Average Salary (FAS) x Accrued Benefit Multiple (ABM)
A FAS is generally an average of the last three superannuation salaries reported each year on the member’s birthday. However, when a member is retrenched, either voluntarily or involuntarily, their final salary is also used in the calculation.
An ABM is a multiple based on the member’s years of service, contribution rate and employment status, i.e. full-time or casual periods of employment.
Where can I locate a member's total equity?
You can locate the member’s total equity by referring to their latest annual statement.
How can I get a more up to date figure than the statement provides?
If the member is retiring or leaving eligible employment within 12 months and you have supplied us with a valid authority, you can request an estimate on behalf of the member by contacting the PSS Customer Information Centre on 1300 000 377 or email@example.com
If the estimate is for a date more than 12 months away, the member can use the iEstimator via Member Services Online. For security reasons we can only issue log in details to the member.
Did you know that PSS benefits are usually made up of three different tax components?
These components are tax-free, taxable-taxed and taxable-untaxed. The tax-free and taxable-taxed components are known as ‘funded’ elements, and the taxable-untaxed is unfunded.
The tax-free component is made up of one or more of the following:
- Member contributions received since 1 July 1983
- Co-contributions received from the ATO
- Money rolled into PSS, where the releasing fund declares a tax-free component.
The taxable-taxed component is made up of one or more of the following:
- Employer productivity contributions received since 1 July 1990
- Interest earned on productivity, member contributions, money rolled into PSS and co-contributions
- Member contributions made prior to 1 July 1983.
The taxable-untaxed component represents the majority of a member’s:
- Employer financed component
- Productivity contributions received before 1 July 1983.
For more Information please read the Tax and your PSS benefit fact sheet (PSF32) on our factsheets page.
What amount counts towards the concessional contribution cap?
The components that count towards the concessional contribution cap are:
- the productivity contributions
- the notional defined benefit contribution, and
- salary sacrifice amounts
The productivity contributions are generally 3% of the member’s super salary. The exact amount can be found on the transaction summary in the member statement.
The notional defined benefit contribution is a calculated amount that represents the unfunded employer component of the member benefit.
What amount counts towards the non-concessional cap?
The only amount that counts towards the non-concessional contribution cap is the member contributions. The member can elect to make after tax contributions at any whole percentage from 2% to 10%, or 0% of their super salary. These contributions are used as part of the formula to calculate a member’s benefit. The exact amount can be found on the transaction summary in the member statement.
The employer component of PSS is a notional untaxed figure and therefore is not counted as either a concessional or non-concessional contribution.
Do PSS members have investment options?
Yes. There are two investment options, the Default Fund and the Cash Investment Option. However access differs depending on the member type.
Members who are currently contributing are invested in the Default Fund and are not able to switch between options. In the event the Default Fund has negative returns, the member’s employer will top up the difference in lost money in order to meet the PSS defined benefit formula.
Preserved and associate members
Members who have a preserved benefit are able to switch between the Default Fund and the Cash Investment Option.
An application to switch investment options can only be done twice in one calendar year; and needs to be received by 5pm on the last Friday of a month for it to be implemented on the following Wednesday. In some cases the Friday falls in one calendar year and the Wednesday effective date falls in the next calendar year. In this instance the investment switch counts towards the new calendar year and a member would have one switch remaining for that period.
For more information about investment options and fund performance please visit the Investment and performance page.
Is transition to retirement available in PSS?
No. PSS governing rules do not allow transition to retirement strategies in the scheme.
The Public Sector Superannuation accumulation plan (PSSap) offers contributing PSS members the opportunity to stay within the government superannuation environment as they transition from working life into retirement via the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation retirement income (CSCri) transition to retirement income stream. Visit the CSCri website for more information.
Contributing PSS members must join PSSap as an Ancillary Member (meaning they will be a member of two government super schemes). PSSap Ancillary Members can start a TTR strategy using CSCri, an account-based retirement product. If they wish to use any super monies they hold outside of government super to begin their CSCri account, they must consolidate them into their PSSap Ancillary Member account first.
For more information on the PSSap Ancillary Membership see Ancillary membership on the PSSap website.
Can members salary sacrifice into PSS?
Salary sacrifice contributions into PSS are not allowed under scheme rules. However, contributing PSS members can choose to salary sacrifice into Public Sector Superannuation accumulation plan (PSSap), building more wealth in the government super environment. Members may also salary sacrifice into another fund while remaining a contributing member of PSS.
To salary sacrifice into PSSap, members must first join PSSap as an Ancillary Member. See Ancillary membership on the PSSap website for information on how to join.
Important: joining PSSap as an Ancillary Member will not change their PSS membership or final benefit calculation in any way. It means that they will be a member of two government super schemes –PSS and PSSap. Their final PSSap benefit will be entirely separate to their PSS benefit.
Does PSS offer insurance?
Yes and no.
PSS offers total and partial permanent invalidity and death cover (otherwise known as TPI). This is automatically available for all contributing members who are under the age of 60; and there are no premiums payable for the basic cover. Restrictions may apply to members who have less than three years contributory service and have been classified as a Limited Benefits Member (LBM). For details on cover amounts and a member’s LBM status please refer to their latest annual statement.
PSS does not offer income protection or trauma cover.
For more information read the Invalidity benefits fact sheet (PSF12) on our factsheets page.
I am calling on behalf of a PSS member, how can I get information?
If we have verbal or written authority from the member, we can provide a nominated third party with information on their account.
Verbal authority: Before we can release any information we need to perform an identification check on the member and receive verbal authority to speak with the nominated third party. Verbal authority is only valid for that call.
Written authority: We accept written authority supplied by a member, so long as it clearly states the name of the person/s and firm (if applicable) nominated as a third party.
However, we have a Third Party Authority form which is our preferred method of receiving access requests.
All requests for written authority must be signed by the member and include at least three points of valid identification that we can match to their PSS membership.
Each time you (the third party) call, you will be asked to provide four points of member identification.
Examples of identification include:
- full name
- membership/reference or AGS number
- date of birth
- current address
- current employer (contributing members only).
Completed Third Party Authority forms can be scanned and emailed, faxed or posted to PSS.
What are the PSS benefit options?
PSS members generally have access to a CPI indexed pension or a lump sum, or a combination of both. If a preserved member has already accessed all or part of their unrestricted non‑preserved component, they no longer have access to an indexed pension option.
Note: this option can be reinstated if a preserved member re-contributes to PSS through eligible employment prior to claiming the remainder of their benefit.
Most PSS pensions are payable for life and often continue to be paid to an eligible spouse and/or children when a member dies. PSS invalidity pensions can be assessed up to the age of 60 and are then paid for life.
How do voluntary and involuntary redundancies work?
For the purposes of a PSS account, calculations for voluntary and involuntary redundancy, differ slightly from those used to determine an age retirement benefit.
A redundancy Final Average Salary (FAS) is calculated by incorporating the final salary on retirement weighted by the period since your last birthday.
PSS members considering taking a redundancy can request an estimate by contacting their employer. Alternatively, most members have access to Member Services Online (MSO) and can use the online i-Estimator tool to calculate their benefit options.
Note: for privacy and security reasons, access to MSO can only be supplied to the member and it is at their discretion whether they provide account access to a third party.
What kind of death benefits, insurance and beneficiaries does PSS offer?
PSS does not offer income protection or trauma cover. However, it does offer total and partial invalidity and death cover (otherwise known as TPI).
This is automatically available for all contributing members who are under the age of 60 and there are no premiums payable for the basic cover. Restrictions may apply to members who have less than three years contributory service and have been classified as a Limited Benefits Member (LBM). For details on cover amounts and a member’s LBM status please refer to their latest annual statement.
For more information please read the Invalidity benefits [PDF 324 KB] fact sheet.
PSS legislation does not accept binding beneficiary nominations. Instead, potential recipients of a death benefit are assessed at the time a member dies. Generally, death benefits are payable to an eligible spouse and/or any dependent children in the first instance. In the event there is no eligible spouse or dependent children the benefit will be paid as a lump sum to the estate.
For more information please read the Death benefits [PDF 348 KB] fact sheet.
I have Power of Attorney (POA) for a member/pensioner? What do I need to do?
You need to post us a certified copy of the Power of Attorney (POA). To be valid, the POA or an attached cover letter needs to contain at least 3 points of identification, which can be matched to the member’s file and must show the member’s signature.
Each time you (the Power of Attorney) calls, you will be asked to provide 4 points of identification.
Examples of identification include:
- full name
- membership/reference or AGS number
- date of birth
- current address
- current employer (contributing members only)
If you wish to make changes to the member’s account, you will need to put your request in writing along with 3 points of member identification.
Our contact details can be found under contact us.
Can the member apply for additional cover?
Yes. Additional death and invalidity cover (ADIC) is available to most contributing members. The cost of additional cover is generally inexpensive when compared with similar cover taken privately. This is because half of the premium is paid for by the member’s employer and is provided at group rates. The annual cost of cover ranges from $0.24 to $6.76 per $1,000 of additional cover. ADIC is provided by AIA Australia Limited (ABN 79 004 837 861, AFSL 230043).
To obtain an ADIC quote please contact the PSS Customer Information Centre on 1300 000 377 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Does PSS accept binding beneficiary nominations?
No. PSS legislation does not accept binding beneficiary nominations. Instead, potential recipients of a death benefit are assessed at the time a member dies. Generally, death benefits are firstly payable to an eligible spouse and any dependent children. In the event there is no eligible spouse or dependent children the benefit will be paid as a lump sum to the estate.
For more information please read the Death benefits fact sheet (PSF03) on our factsheets page.
Can members roll out to a self managed super fund (SMSF) or non-government/private super fund?
It depends on the member type:
Contributing member any age
No. Contributing members cannot roll out any part of their PSS benefit.
Preserved member under 55
No. Preserved members of the PSS cannot roll out their benefit to a SMSF or non-government/private super fund.
Preserved member over 55
If the member is retired from the workforce or over 65 they can roll out their PSS benefit to a SMSF or non-government/private super fund.
If the member is not retired from the workforce and under 65 they cannot roll out to SMSF or non-government/private super fund.
How can a member access their unrestricted non-preserved component?
Members who joined the scheme before 1 July 1999 will generally have an unrestricted non-preserved component otherwise know as a SIS upper limit. A preserved member can access their SIS upper limit or their member component (the lesser of the two) as a cash payment at any time (prior to preservation age). To do this they will need to complete the Preserved benefit—Member contribution/transfer value claim form (PBC) available on our forms page.
Please note: if a member elects to take all or part of their benefit out, they will forfeit the option of a life-time pension at retirement. This option can only be reinstated if the member rejoins eligible employment and contributes to PSS.
What fees and charges does a PSS member have to pay?
PSS members do not pay any administration fees or member transaction costs. Instead, these costs are covered by a member’s current employer (or former employer if they are a preserved benefit member).
Investment management costs are deducted from investment earnings before determining the fund earning rate.
For more information visit the costs page.
How long are PSS pensions payable for?
All PSS pensions are payable for life and indexed twice per year with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in January and July. PSS pensions can, in most circumstances, also be paid to an eligible spouse and/or children in the event of the member’s death.
For more information pleased read the Death benefits fact sheet (PSF03) on our factsheets page.
When can a member claim their pension?
All members (including members with a preservation age over 55) can claim a pension at age 55 provided they have retired from the workforce.
Members who retire on the grounds of involuntary or voluntary retirement can claim a pension from any age even if they a below age 55.
What are the contact details for PSS?
Contact details are available on our contact us page.
Membership, Contributions & Transfers
If I have not paid contributions for more than 12 months, am I considered a lost member and will my benefits then be transferred to the ATO?
New lost member arrangements that came into effect from 1 January 2013 do not apply to defined benefit schemes such as the PSS. Your benefit remains preserved in the PSS until claimed after reaching your preservation age.
However, preserved benefits cannot be left preserved in the PSS past age 65. Therefore, if you do not claim your benefit when you reach age 65 and ComSuper has not received any money on your behalf for the past 2 years and it has been 5 years since we last had contact from you, then all or part of your benefit may be transferred to the ATO as unclaimed money.
Please make sure the contact details you have provided to us are up to date. This will ensure that you receive regular member statements and other fund updates about your preserved benefit.
How do I change my contribution rate?
If you would like to alter your contribution rate, please contact your pay office or personnel section.
Please note that varying your contribution rate can affect your final benefit. You may wish to seek independent licensed financial advice before making any changes.
Is there a limit on how much I can contribute into the fund?
You can contribute between 2% and 10% as a whole percentage of your salary, or you can choose to contribute 0%. Your employer deducts these contributions from your after-tax salary. Contributions over the concessional and non-concessional caps will be taxed at rates determined by the ATO.
Your productivity and Defined Benefit Contributions (DBC), as well as any ADIC premiums paid by your employer, are classed as concessional contributions for tax purposes. Your member contributions, as well as any ADIC premiums paid by you, are classed as non-concessional contributions for tax purposes.
|2017-18 FY||Concessional cap||Non-concessional cap|
* Members aged 65 and over will be subject to the work test
Can I transfer/roll money from another superannuation fund into PSS?
Only contributing members of the PSS can transfer money in. In order to do this you will need to follow two easy steps:
- Tell your old fund that you want to transfer benefits to the PSS. If they ask you for the policy number of your new fund you should quote your AGS number.
- Ask for the transferred cheque to be made payable to ‘The Public Sector Superannuation Scheme’. The fund will send the cheque directly to us at:
GPO Box 2252
CANBERRA ACT 2601
I’m in financial hardship; can I access my super now?
In certain circumstances, you may access part of your PSS benefit early on severe financial hardship, or other specified grounds (not available to associate members).
In order to qualify for access to your benefit early, you must satisfy some conditions of release. More information can be found in the Early access to super benefits factsheet under factsheets.
If you wish to apply for this type of benefit you will need to complete the Early access to superannuation benefits application form under forms.
If you do not qualify for early access to your superannuation benefits on severe financial hardship grounds, you may consider asking the Department of Human Services to approve the release of benefits on specified grounds. Some examples of the types of expenses you may be able to claim include:
- medical expenses
- renovations to your home necessitated by severe disability
- some funeral expenses
- mortgage/home loan payments - to prevent loss of your home.
All enquiries regarding applications for early release on these grounds should be directed to the Department of Human Services on 1300 131 060. An application form is also available from their website at www.humanservices.gov.au
I’ve separated from my partner. What do I need to do?
Super can be split for family law purposes. More information about family law can be found in the Family law and super splitting booklet under publications.
Fees & Charges
What fees & charges do I need to pay?
As a member of the PSS you do not pay any administration fees or member transaction costs. These costs are covered by your employer (or your former employer if you are a preserved benefit member). We deduct investment management costs from investment earnings before determining the fund earning rate.
More information can be found under costs.
Where can I find PSS legislation?
The rules governing the PSS are located under legislation.
Transition to Retirement
I’m a contributing member of the PSS. Can I do Transition to Retirement?
PSS governing rules do not allow transition to retirement strategies in the scheme.
PSS members can however select a transition to retirement income stream through the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation retirement income stream (CSCri). It is one of two income streams available to you, the other being a standard retirement income stream.
To transition to retirement you must join PSSap as an Ancillary Member (meaning you will be a member of two government super schemes). See Ancillary membership on the PSSap website for more information.
Eligible Service Period (ESP)
What is my eligible service period (ESP)?
The ESP start date relates to the date your eligible service period (ESP) commenced and is used to calculate the various components of your superannuation lump sum payment for taxation purposes.
Generally, your ESP is the number of days between the date you commenced your current employment (which may be earlier than the date you joined the CSS or PSS) and the date your payment is made. If you were formerly a CSS member who commenced membership before 1 July 1983 and you have a long service leave start date that is earlier than your PSS start date, then that earlier date applies as your ESP start date. Earlier periods of employment for which you paid a transfer value into the CSS or PSS are added to your ESP.