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MilitarySuper: Military Superannuation and Benefits Scheme

Overview of MilitarySuper

MilitarySuper was established on 1 October 1991 by the MilitarySuper Act. MilitarySuper closed to new ADF entrants on 30 June 2016. ADF Super is now available to new ADF entrants. ADF re-entrants who have a preserved employer benefit must continue with MilitarySuper. However, contributors may choose to remain in MilitarySuper or opt out.

MilitarySuper is a hybrid scheme (part accumulation, part defined benefit). Benefits derive from a customer and employer component. The customer benefit is the accumulation component. It consists of the mandated customer contributions, any amounts notionally brought over from DFRDB, plus fund earnings on those amounts. The employer benefit is the defined benefit component. It is based on a customer’s period of ADF service and their final average salary.

The employer benefit is unfunded, except for the portion relating to the employer 3% productivity contributions, paid each fortnight by the Department of Defence, plus fund earnings. Unfunded benefits are paid by the Australian Government.

MilitarySuper also offers an ancillary benefit (which is also available to eligible DFRDB customers) to those who wish to make additional contributions and transfers, such as additional personal, salary sacrifice and spouse contributions.

MilitarySuper customers

Figure 11. Number of MilitarySuper customers over five years

Note: Figures are at 30 June of each year; ancillary customers are not included. ‘Pensioners’ represents the number of pension accounts, not the exact number of pensions (e.g. multiple recipients such as a spouse and orphan children may be paid under one account).

MilitarySuper administration

Contributions

Customers must usually contribute a minimum of 5% (or elect up to 10%) of their super salary into the fund, from their after-tax income. They can also make voluntary payments into their ancillary benefit.

Figure 12. MilitarySuper customer contributions over five years

Note: This chart shows basic and ancillary contributions.

Ancillary contributions

Contributing MilitarySuper and DFRDB customers can make ancillary contributions to accumulate a separate super interest called an ancillary benefit. This benefit can include both pre- and post-tax contributions such as additional personal, salary sacrifice and spouse contributions, which has fund earnings applied in line with the relevant investment option returns.

Ancillary contributions do not count towards a customer’s Maximum Benefit Limit in MilitarySuper, nor impact any DFRDB retirement benefit. The ancillary benefit can only be paid as a cash lump sum, once a customer reaches their preservation age, or it can be rolled over to another super fund at any age.

Benefit payments

Pensions and lump sums

MilitarySuper customers who exit the scheme are entitled to a range of benefits depending on their circumstances.

Employer benefits must generally remain preserved until a customer reaches age 55 and transitions from the ADF. The employer benefit may be paid as a pension before a customer reaches age 55, if the customer transitions under invalidity or redundancy.

Figure 13. MilitarySuper pension payments over five years

Figure 14. MilitarySuper lump sum payments over five years

Note: Lump sums are paid from the MilitarySuper fund and by the Australian Government.

Invalidity and death benefits

MilitarySuper provides invalidity and death benefits. If a customer is medically transitioned from the ADF, invalidity benefits may help them to resettle into civilian employment.

Invalidity classifications

There are three levels of invalidity classification:

  • Class A: Significant incapacity
  • Class B: Moderate incapacity
  • Class C: Low incapacity (no entitlement to an invalidity pension)

Table 32. New invalidity classifications in MilitarySuper

2018-19

2019-20

Class A

1,060

1125

Class B

179

180

Class C

108

136

Note: Figures in the table vary slightly to invalidity exits quoted elsewhere due to some cases relating to customers discharged in the previous financial year; these figures do not include customers who were medically discharged under Rule 32 with no invalidity pension payable having been deemed by a delegate of the Board to have been retired on a pre-existing condition within two years of enlistment.

Invalidity classification review

Customers classified Class A or Class B may be subject to review by CSC until age 55. Customers may also initiate a classification level review up to age 65.

Customers classified Class C at retirement are not subject to periodic reviews, but may request the initial classification be reconsidered. A request should be made within 30 days of the initial classification decision.

Complaints from MilitarySuper customers

The number of complaints received from MilitarySuper customers increased considerably in 2019– 20 compared to the previous financial year. Primary reasons for complaints included investments (with focus on ethical investments, investment policy and performance), issues related to family law splitting, inability to roll funds to another superannuation provider, access to online services and delays in finalising invalidity claims. Early access to superannuation through the Government’s COVID-19 Early Release program also contributed, with six complaints received late in the financial year.

Table 33. Complaints received from MilitarySuper customers

2018–19

2019–20

Complaint received

40

107

Note: This table shows assessed applications including retrospective applications in the relevant reporting year. The number of partial invalidity applications was incorrectly reported as 10 in the 2017-18 CSC Annual Report.

Changes to MilitarySuper’s legislation and Trust Deed

No changes were made to the MilitarySuper Act or the Military Superannuation and Benefits Trust Deed in 2019–20.