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SMSF benefit payments

Last updated 15 December 2015

Over the five years to 30 June 2014, benefit payments from SMSFs averaged $23.1 billion a year (see appendix 1, table 5). Benefit payments have increased each year from $17.1 billion in 2010 to $30.7 billion in 2014. SMSF members receiving benefit payments also increased by 32%9.

Both average benefit payments per fund and median benefit payment increased by 29% over the period. In 2014, the average benefit payment increased to $120,000, and median payment to $61,000.

In 2014, 82% of all benefit payments were in the form of a pension, an increase from 68% in 2010. This increase was largely due to a rise of 11% in 2013 pension payments, mainly as a result of improved data collection on the SAR. From 2013 label changes were made to better capture lump sum and income stream benefit payments for members that may have previously reported a combination of such benefit payments.10

Transition-to-retirement income streams have steadily increased from 10% of all benefit payments in 2010 to 13% in 2014. Similarly, SMSF members in receipt of transition-to-retirement income streams have increased from 17% of those receiving benefit payments in 2010, to 20% in 2013 and 2014.

The average benefit payment per member increased each year, to $72,000 in 2014 compared to $61,350 in 2010. However, benefit payments as a proportion of the average member balance remained steady over the same period, at approximately 7% of the average member balance (see appendix 1, table 5).

In 2014, members aged under 55 years reported the lowest average benefit payments of $35,000, a shift from members in the 55-59 age range in 2010 to 2013.

The highest average benefit payment also shifted from members aged 65-69 years in 2010 and 2011, to those 75 years and over from 2012, increasing in value to $88,000 in 2014.

The majority of members receiving benefit payments were aged 60-69, with the proportion decreasing slightly over the period from 62% in 2010 to 58% in 2014. Conversely, there was an increase in the proportion of members aged 70 years and over receiving benefit payments, from 23% in 2010 to 31% in 2014.

Over the five-year period, there was a shift in the age demographic of members receiving benefit payments, with a decrease in the proportion of members 64 years and under corresponding with an increase to those 65 years and over (by 11%).

For information on income stream benefit payments specifically, see supplementary tables 5.1, XLS file.

9 Based on 2010–2014 SAR lodged data.
10 For further information on label changes, refer to the SMSF annual return instructions available on the ATO website.