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ERS spending revealed

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has revealed what people who accessed their super early due to financial hardship caused by COVID-19 spent the money on.

The ABS found that 29% of people who accessed their super in the early release of super program spent the money on mortgages or rent. A further 27% spent the money on household bills and 15% used it to pay credit card debts or other personal debts.

The ABS Household Financial Resources report presents a snapshot of household finances in the months following the introduction of COVID-19 related restrictions.

"We found that for people who accessed the scheme twice, the average total amount withdrawn was $17,441. The average single withdrawal was $7728 for the first opportunity, and $7536 for the second," ABS director of household economic resource surveys Dean Adams said.

The ABS found that private household income, including earnings from jobs, investments and super remained stable in real terms - at $2117 per week in September 2020 - when compared to 12 months prior.

"Around one in five households (19%) had someone receiving the JobKeeper payment through their employer, or in their own business.  Half these households owned their dwelling with a mortgage, while almost half (47%) were couple families with dependent children," Adams said.

"Average government payments rose by $89 per week per household, compared to the previous September quarter, to $300 per week. Over 1.3 million households contained someone receiving the Coronavirus Supplement of $550 per fortnight."

The COVID-19 ERS scheme allowed up to $10,000 to be accessed before retirement for people suffering financial hardship. People could access up to $20,000 of super across two financial years.

A total of $36.4 billion in payments was made as part of the ERS scheme to 3.5 million people. The average amount each person withdrew was $7638.

Read more: Australian Bureau of StatisticsABS Household Financial ResourcesDean AdamsJobKeeper