FAQs

Frequently asked questions 

Redundancy 

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 CSS benefit estimate request form [PDF 731 KBfor 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 being completed and sent within around four business days.

Estimates that require manual intervention can take up to 15 business days to be completed and send.

I am under the age of 55, can I claim a pension?

Yes, you can take a reduced maximum pension with a refund of productivity contributions or you can claim a standard CPI-indexed pension with a lump sum.

Please note: lump sum benefits are restricted if you have not yet reached your preservation age.

How is my benefit calculated?

If you claim a full lump sum, no pension, the benefit is calculated by adding your basic contributions, supplementary contributions (if applicable), any productivity component (if applicable) and fund earnings multiplied by 3.5.

If you elect to preserve your benefit and claim either immediately, or at a later date, your pension will be 2.5 multiplied by your basic contributions and interest, multiplied by the age conversion factor at the age you claim.

If you elect the immediate pension it is calculated as a percentage of your final superannuation salary, based on your age and years of contributory service.

Will I have to pay tax on my CSS 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 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?

The  CSS Involuntary retirement (SRR1) application form will need to be completed.

When does my benefit application form have to be completed by?

Elections to preserve benefits in the CSS must be made within 21 days of your retirement date.

If you are preserving your benefit and then electing for immediate payment of the deferred benefit, both the election to preserve and the application for payment of the deferred benefit must be signed, dated and submitted to your personnel section prior to the nominated claim date.

This means that it is not possible for you to backdate your claim.

All other elections can be made up to three months prior to your retirement date and up to three months after.

Do I submit my application form directly to CSS?

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 CSS for processing.

How long will it take CSS 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.

Please note: if you are preserving your benefit and then electing for immediate payment of the deferred benefit, processing will not be completed until after your claim date.

Where can I get more information?

EMAIL   members@css.gov.au

PHONE 1300 000 277

FAX      02 6272 9612

MAIL     CSS
             GPO Box 2252
             Canberra ACT 2601

Pensions (including CPI and tax)

What is the new CPI rate?

The July 2017 CPI increase is 1.0%

How is the CPI increase calculated?

Please refer to the latest news article available in our Latest News section.

If you would like more information on the CPI rates used in the calculation go to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) website.

Why is tax taken from my CSS pension?

CSS 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 CSS and we will apply any changes to your tax on the next available payday.

More information can be found in the Tax and your CSS pension [PDF 334 KB]

I've recently turned 60, will this affect my pension?

Once you turn 60 there may be significant tax changes to your CSS pension. For more information please refer to Tax and your CSS super [PDF 406 KB]

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 CSS website.

I have recently become a pensioner, but I cannot access my online account.

You will need to register for Pensioner Services Online to get access. Go to Register Account and provide your Pension Reference 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, you are entitled to a 10% tax offset on your untaxed component. 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, you are eligible for the 10% tax offset on the pension from an untaxed source.

For more information please see the   Tax and your CSS pension [PDF 334 KB] factsheet available on css.gov.au

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.

Statements 

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 CSS as a result of a family law split
  • are a Delayed Updated Pension (DUP) member
  • have a postponed benefit
  • 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 2011-2012 member statement.

Please call the ATO on 13 10 20 if you have any enquiries.

I contributed to the CSS earlier than my commencement date shows. Why is this?

If you contributed to the CSS, but left and re-joined at any point your statement will always show your latest commencement date.

We still have a record of the earlier commencement date and will use this when calculating your final benefit.

Why is my contributory service less than the actual years I’ve been a member for?

If you have had part-time employment or any leave without pay (LWOP), contributory service is pro-rated for these periods and therefore may be less than your actual years of membership.

More information about these types of employment can be found on the CSS Changing from permanent full-time to permanent part-time [PDF 386 KB]

If you would like to discuss you individual CSS account, please call the Customer Information Centre on 1300 000 277 or email an enquiry using the  member enquiry form — CSS.

What is the rate of allotment?

This figure is an indication of the earnings on your account over the 2013-2014 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, positive returns are not guaranteed and growth will be affected by fluctuations in the global financial market.

As a CSS member you 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 can be found under Investment & Performance.

Investments 

Do the investment option changes / changed investment return objectives impact on my defined benefit?

The changes have no impact on the determination of your CSS 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 CSS Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and the Investment Options and Risk booklet (which forms part of the PDS), available from the PDS page.

Membership, contributions and 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?

No.

New lost member arrangements that come into effect from 1 January 2013 do not apply to defined benefit schemes such as the CSS. Your benefit remains deferred in the CSS until claimed after reaching your preservation age.

However, deferred benefits cannot be left deferred in the CSS 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 deferred 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 either 5% of your salary, or you can choose to contribute 0%.These rates are referred to as your basic contributions.

You can also voluntarily pay supplementary contributions above the 5% basic contribution. These do not have to be in whole percentage rates. For example, you could pay supplementary contributions of 6.5%. Your employer deducts contributions from your after-tax salary.

You can contribute as much as you want, however contributions over the concessional and non-concessional caps will be taxed at the marginal tax rate.

2014-15 FYConcessional capNon-concessional cap
Under 50 $30,000^ $150,000
Over 50* $35,000 $180,000


^ Members aged 49 years or older on 30 June 2014 will have a concessional cap of $35,000

* Members over 70 will be subject to the work test

Death and invalidity benefits 

Can I nominate or change my beneficiaries?

No, you cannot. CSS scheme rules determine who receives your CSS benefit in the event of your death, which means the CSS cannot accept binding beneficiary nominations. Under the CSS 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 CSS) may still declare a spouse to be eligible.

If you don’t have eligible beneficiaries at the time of your death, your CSS 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 [PDF 407 KB].

Do I have insurance cover?

Although traditional insurance is not offered through CSS, 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.

Financial hardship

I’m in financial hardship; can I access my super now?

In certain circumstances you may access part of your CSS 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 superannuation benefits [PDF 362 KB].

If you wish to apply for this type of benefit you will need to complete the Early access to superannuation benefits [PDF 362 KB].

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 funereal 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

Family law

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 [PDF 612 KB]

Fees and charges

What fees & charges do I need to pay?

As a member of the CSS 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.

Legislation 

Where can I find CSS legislation?

The rules governing the CSS are located under our legislation.

Transition to retirement

I’m a contributing member of CSS. Can I do Transition to Retirement?

CSS governing rules do not allow such payments to be made from CSS to contributing members. However, under the current rules, in certain limited circumstances, members can cease their contributory membership of CSS and become entitled to payment of a super benefit while remaining employed by the same employer. For more information please read the Transition to retirement factsheet (CSF24) on our factsheets page.

The Public Sector Superannuation accumulation plan (PSSap) offers contributing CSS 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.

First determine whether CSCri and a TTR strategy is appropriate for you. You must then join PSSap as an Ancillary Member (meaning you 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 you wish to use any super monies you hold outside of government super to begin your CSCri account, you must consolidate them into your PSSap Ancillary Member account first.

For more information on the PSSap Ancillary Membership see Ancillary membership on the PSSap website.

Eligible service period (ESP)

What is my eligible service period (ESP)?

The eligible service period (ESP) start date relates to the date your eligible service period 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) 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 CSS start date, the earlier date applies as your ESP start date. Earlier periods of employment for which you paid a transfer value into the CSS are added to your ESP.

Member statements 

My statement shows I have a surcharge debt; is this correct?

It is easy to confuse terms ‘surchargeable contributions’ and ‘surcharge debt’; both of which appear on your Member Statement. If you have a surcharge debt, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) will inform you. Any debt will appear on your Member Statement under the ‘Surcharge Debt’ heading. If it is blank, you do not have a surcharge debt.

Surchargeable contributions apply to all members; they are a notional employer contribution given to the ATO each year; the ATO then works out if you have a surcharge debt.

What is my SIS upper limit?

Multiple legislative changes were introduced on 1 July 1999 due to the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations (SIS Regulations); one change meant any lump sum benefit amount paid to you as cash before your preservation age must not exceed your SIS upper limit – which is defined as the lump sum immediately available as cash had you been involuntarily retired (retrenched) at 1 July 1999 (specifically, the total involuntary retirement lump sum, less your productivity benefit and Superannuation Guarantee (SG) ‘top up’ amount). SG top up amount is the minimum community-wide superannuation amount that your employer is required to contribute. It is a requirement of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act to report your upper limit on your Member Statement.

My statement shows ‘N’ for tax file number, but I provided it?

Unfortunately, some tax file numbers (TFNs) were accidentally erased from our records in 2008 as a result of a technical issue; please contact us to re-supply your TFN.

Tax and your super 

What tax must I pay on my CSS benefit?

Keep in mind that tax and your CSS benefit is a complicated issue, so it’s best to use i-Estimator or request a benefit estimate that includes taxation requirements.

What is my tax start date?

Your eligible start date for taxation purposes is the earlier of:

  • the date you joined CSS or
  • your date for long-service leave accrual purposes.

Am I entitled to a tax offset or deduction?

Yes, however only if you purchase a non-indexed additional pension, you will be entitled to a deduction against your pension purchased with your non-concessional contributions – that is the contributions you have paid to CSS since 1 July 1983. 

If you are over preservation age, you will be entitled to a tax offset of 15% of the pension you purchased with your member component or the post 1 July 1990 productivity portion of your benefit after any eligible deduction is subtracted from your non-indexed pension.

Third Party (including financial planners)

What is your scheme about?

The Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme (CSS) is a hybrid scheme. While the member contributes, the fund is in its accumulation phase; but once a member leaves their employment and/or claims their benefit, the defined benefit formula is applied. 

Annual statements are provided at the end of each financial year. Statements include a member’s:

  • Total equity
  • Date membership commenced
  • Superannuation salary
  • 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 members@css.gov.au

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 CSS, read the Product Disclosure Statement.

How is a CSS benefit calculated?

There are two different formulas to calculate a member’s CPI indexed pension.

If a member resigns/ceases their membership before 55 and defers their benefit (commonly known as the 54/11), the following formula applies:

  • Basic contributions and interest accumulated over the life of the member’s membership x 2.5 x age factor (e.g. 9.25% for age 55)
  • E.g. $150,000 x 2.5 x 9.25% = $34,687.50 gross annual indexed pension.

Please note: this calculation is also available to members who take an involuntary or voluntary redundancy from age 55.

For more information please read the  on our factsheets page.

If a member works up to, and including, the age of 55 before they retire and claim their benefit, the following formula applies:

  • Final superannuation salary x age factor (based on a member’s age and their years of contributory service)
  • E.g. $60,000 x 37.5 (55 year old with 30 years service) = $22,500 gross annual indexed pension.

For more information read the CSS Age retirement benefit [PDF 394 KB] on our factsheets page.

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 CSS Customer Information Centre on 1300 000 277 or members@css.gov.au

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 CSS 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
  • Co-contributions received from the ATO
  • Money rolled into CSS, where the releasing fund declares a tax-free component
  • Pre 1 July 1983 component if a member’s benefit commenced before this date.

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 CSS and co-contributions.

The taxable-untaxed component represents the majority of a member’s:

  • Employer financed component
  • Productivity contributions received before 1 July 1990 and interest on those contributions

For more Information please visit our factsheets page.

What amount counts towards the concessional contribution cap?

The only amount that counts towards the concessional contribution cap is the productivity contributions. Productivity is generally 3% of the member’s super salary. The exact amount can be found on the transaction summary in the member statement.

The employer component is a notional untaxed figure and therefore is not counted as either a concessional or non-concessional contribution.

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 basic contributions of 5% of their super salary. These contributions will form part of the calculation used for the deferred benefit option. Members can also elect any percentage amount or make one off payments of supplementary contributions. Supplementary contributions will be paid as either a lump sum or non indexed pension only. 

Do CSS members have investment options?

Yes. There are two investment options, 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 CSS??

CSS governing rules do not allow such payments to be made from CSS to contributing members. However, under the current rules, in certain limited circumstances, members can cease their contributory membership of CSS and become entitled to payment of a super benefit while remaining employed by the same employer.

The Public Sector Superannuation accumulation plan (PSSap) offers contributing CSS 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 CSS 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 CSS?

Salary sacrifice contributions into CSS are not allowed under scheme rules. However, contributing CSS members can choose to salary sacrifice into the Public Sector Superannuation accumulation plan (PSSap), building more wealth in the government superannuation environment. Members may also salary sacrifice into another fund while remaining a contributing member of CSS.

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 CSS membership or final benefit calculation in any way. It means that they will be a member of two government super schemes - CSS and PSSap. Their final PSSap benefit will be entirely separate to their CSS benefit.

Does CSS offer insurance?

Yes and no.

CSS offers total and permanent invalidity and death cover (otherwise known as TPI). This is automatically available for most contributing members who are under the age of 65. Restrictions may apply to members who have less than 20 years contributory service with the CSS and have a Benefit Classification Certificate (BCC). For details on cover amounts and a member’s BCC status please refer to their latest annual statement.

CSS does not offer income protection or trauma cover.

For more information read the Invalidity benefits [PDF 328 KB] factsheet.

I am calling on behalf of a CSS 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 CSS 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 CSS.

What are the CSS benefit options?

CSS primarily offers a standard CPI indexed pension available to its members, with the option of an additional lump-sum or non-indexed pension, or a reduced combination of the two.

In some circumstances a lump sum only can be accessed, forfeiting the option of a CPI indexed pension.

Most CSS pensions are payable for life and often continue to be paid to an eligible spouse and/or children when a member dies. CSS invalidity pensions can be assessed up to the age of 65 and are then paid for life.

How do voluntary and involuntary redundancies work?

For the purposes of a CSS account, voluntary and involuntary redundancy is subject to the same calculations as an age retirement benefit.

However, unlike with age retirement, CSS members 55 and older also have the option of deferring their benefit for one day to gain access to the deferred benefit calculation (commonly known as the 54/11).

CSS members who are considering redundancy can request an estimate, which will show all options and calculations available to them, 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 CSS offer?

CSS does not offer income protection or trauma cover. However, it does offer total and permanent invalidity and death cover (otherwise known as TPI). This is automatically available for most contributing members who are under the age of 65. Restrictions may apply to members who have less than 20 years contributory service with CSS and have a Benefit Classification Certificate (BCC).

For details on cover amounts and a member’s BCC status please refer to their latest annual statement. For more information read the Invalidity benefits [PDF 328 KB] factsheet available on our website.

CSS 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 407 KB] factsheet.

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 three 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 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).

If you wish to make changes to the member’s account, you will need to put your request in writing along with three points of member identification. 

Can the member apply for additional cover?

No. CSS does not offer additional death or invalidity cover.

Does CSS accept binding beneficiary nominations?

No. CSS 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 [PDF 407 KB] factsheet

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 CSS benefit.

Preserved member under 55

Yes. Preserved members under 55 can elect to transfer to a SMSF or non-government/private super fund.

Please note: members who elect to do this will forfeit the employer financed portion (life-time indexed pension) of their benefit.

Preserved member over 55

Yes. Preserved members over 55 (regardless of employment) can access their indexed and non indexed pensions and roll any lump sum amounts to a SMSF or non-government/private super fund.

How can a member access their unrestricted non-preserved component?

Members will generally have an unrestricted non-preserved component. A preserved member can access this component as a cash payment at any time. However, they will forfeit the employer financed portion (life-time indexed pension) of their benefit.

What fees and charges does a CSS member have to pay?

CSS 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 preserved).

Investment management costs are deducted from investment earnings before determining the fund earning rate.

For more information visit the Costs page.

How long are CSS pensions payable for?

All CSS pensions are payable for life and indexed twice per year with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in January and July. CSS 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 [PDF 407 KBfactsheet.

When can a member claim their pension?

It depends on the member type.

Preserved members (including members with a preservation age over 55) can claim any pension amount after reaching minimum retiring age provided they have ceased employment with an employer who had, at any time, contributed to the CSS.If they have not ceased employment with that employer, they will need to meet CSS transition to retirement requirement to access their pension.

Contributing members must have met their minimum retirement age and ceased employment with the employer who had, at any time, contributed to the CSS or have met a CSS transition to retirement requirement to access their pension.

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 CSS?

Contact details are available on our Contact us page.