Catering business owner Mykel De Laat applied to withdraw $10,000 from his Hostplus account as soon as the scheme opened on April 20 and was approved by the tax office two days later, but has still not been paid. “Still nothing,” he said. “I need to pay rent and now I’m in the s— with them. It’s just an endless domino effect.”
“This the industry fund for the one industry that was shut down first. They should be the ones who have been better organised. The way we’re being treated is so poor,” Mr De Laat said.
Former hospitality worker Kiarra Henderson contacted Bendigo MP Lisa Chesters after spending two hours on the phone to Hostplus’ customer service line trying to finalise her claim.
“Surely there is something that can be done to encourage these super funds to do the correct thing or at least make them improve communications with clients on the actual stages of process for our funds,” the letter said.
Hundreds of Hostplus members have posted messages on the fund’s social media pages, complaining of crashing apps and poor communication.
A Hostplus spokesman said the ATO was “ultimately responsible for administering and approving the release of these payments by super funds” and denied any delays. “Hostplus is meeting all its payment obligations within government established timeframes.”
Rest Super received 94,264 applications as of Wednesday totalling $683 million from the ATO as of Tuesday this week, making up 5 per cent of the fund’s total members. Members in their thirties have been most likely to apply and the average withdrawal has been $7,248.
Rest member Richard Stockdale lost his job at a butcher on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast at the start of March. He was defaulted into the retail sector fund while working at Coles and Woolworths in 2006 and now has a balance of more than $60,000.
Delays with Centrelink payments means it’s been almost two months since the 40-year-old had any income. Mr Stockdale says he can’t afford to visit his daughter in Brisbane and struggles to pay for essentials like food and rent. “We’re lucky to have a grapefruit tree out the side of the house but if I eat another grapefruit, I’m going to go bananas.”
Mr Stockdale said he spent four hours on the phone to Rest on Tuesday to be told his application was under review.
“But no one actually has any reason why. I said, ‘I have one bank account, I have one super fund, I’ve had the same phone number for years, I’ve changed all my details months and months ago as far as addresses go. What could you possibly be reviewing?'”
A Rest spokeswoman said around 90 per cent of payments had been processed within five days. “Those that aren’t meeting this timeframe are because of the need for additional verification for certain accounts. Rest has also identified and intercepted some fraud attempts.”
Charlotte is a reporter for The Age.