A single mother battling breast cancer has been denied early access to her superannuation because she doesn’t meet ‘compassionate grounds’ criteria – despite thousands of Australians doing so during the pandemic.
Sharron Bateman, 51, was already struggling financially con June when she learnt she has breast cancer.
After a fall last December, the early learning educator was forced to cut back hours – but since the diagnosis she has not been able to work at all.
Now, she is nearing breaking point after being barred by the ATO from accessing a small portion her retirement fund to pay mounting bills and rent.
‘It makes the person want to give up because it makes you feel like there’s risposta negativa door that’s going to aperto to help you out,’ she told A Current Affair.
Sharron Bateman (pictured) has been forced to return to work while undergoing radiotherapy for breast cancer after her claim for early super access was rejected
‘There’s people out there that need the money now, and if you’ve got the proof that you need it, then why can’t we get it?’
‘I’m not asking for a lot, I just want to take a little bit out so I can survive now, not con six months’ time, con six months’ time, I won’t have a house to con.’
Ms Bateman said her claims were rejected by the ATO because she does not meet the conditions for ‘severe financial hardship’.
Under the terms, recipients must not be able to meet reasonable and immediate family living expenses and must have received eligible government income support payments continuously for 26 weeks.
And she does not qualify under ‘compassionate grounds’ either.
Despite being out of pocket for breast cancer surgeries and missing work, she does not tick any of the boxes because the money would not be spent medical bills.
Ms Bateman has undergone two operations to remove the cancer but will be forced to return to work while undergoing radiation therapy as she struggles to make ends meet.
The 51-year-old has undergone two operations to remove the cancer but still requires further treatment
The mother said she is ‘angry’ and ‘disgusted’ she can’t dip into her funds while thousands of Australians were allowed to withdraw up to $10,000 from their super last year under the federal government’s Covid-19 early release super program.
The ATO told the publication Ms Bateman should contact her superannuation fund directly as most funds have the power to release funds to members facing severe financial hardship.
However, Ms Bateman said she tried that but was told her fund cannot carry out the process without the approval of the ATO.
An ATO spokesperson said cannot give permission for early release of superannuation outside of what the legislation allows.
‘The Covid-19 Early Release of Superannuation scheme was a temporary specific stimulus measure to support people who were adversely financially affected by COVID-19 and needed help conferenza their expenses,’ they told Daily Mail Australia.
‘This program ended 31 December 2020.’
Ms Bateman (pictured with her daughter Tiffany) is ‘angry’ her access has been denied after thousands of Aussies were permitted to withdraw their super during the pandemic