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About CSS

The Commonwealth Superannuation Scheme (CSS) is designed for eligible Australian government employees.

  • Opened on 1 July 1976

  • Closed to new members on 30 June 1990

  • CSS is a hybrid fund, providing both Accumulation and Defined Benefits. This means part of your benefit is based on contributions into the fund, plus investment earnings, and the other part is determined by a formula.

The following information outlines the general workings of the fund and is not intended for preserved members, pensioners or those with a spouse account or associate benefit.
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How it works

As a CSS member, how your entitlements are calculated depends on your age at retirement. Your benefit will typically be calculated as an age retirement benefit if you cease employment from age 55. You also have the option to preserve your benefit at least two calendar days before your 55th birthday, and claim a Deferred Benefit once you reach age 55. This is often referred to as 54/11.

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You and your employer make contributions

  • As a contributing member, you are required to make basic contributions each fortnight from your after-tax salary.
  • These member contributions will be either 0% or 5% of your super salary.
  • You may also voluntarily pay supplementary contributions. These can be any amount in addition to your basic contribution, and can be paid as a one-off or as regular fortnightly contribution.
  • Your employer contributes 2-3% of your super salary each fortnight you are employed by that designated employer into your CSS account. This is known as a productivity contribution.
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Boost your savings

As a CSS member, you can also access a personal accumulation account through a PSSap membership*. A PSSap account can accept contributions that are not permitted to be paid into CSS, such as salary sacrifice and spouse contributions. You can add extra money to your super by making before-tax and after-tax contributions, or consolidate your super by transferring in money from other super funds.

*Subject to eligibility requirements

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Leaving eligible employment?

If you leave eligible employment before your minimum retirement age, you can elect to preserve your benefit in CSS to claim at a later date. Your benefit may be referred to as a Deferred Benefit. Your preserved member and productivity components will be invested and will be affected by fund earnings. Your employer financed component will be determined at the time you claim. If you leave eligible employment after reaching your minimum retirement age, you typically must claim your benefit unless you’re eligible to postpone.

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We invest your money

All contributions paid to your CSS account are invested, but the final value of your entitlements may also depend on factors such as your final salary, age and length of contributory membership. The tax components of your benefit depend on the amount of contributions paid, and the net returns from their investment over time, minus fees and costs (see below). CSS offers two investment options: Default Fund and Cash Option. More information about investment can be found in our Investment options and risk booklet. Your member and productivity components will reflect the amount of contributions made and the investment returns.

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Fees and costs

As a CSS member you do not pay any administration, switching or other ongoing fees as these costs are covered by your employer (or former employer if your benefit is preserved). We do not charge any fees for managing your account. However, fees and costs that relate to the investment of your contributions are deducted from investment returns.

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Inbuilt Death and Invalidity Cover

As a contributing CSS member you’ll receive automatic death and invalidity cover at no cost.

Generally, you are covered for a benefit based on your entitlement had you worked to age 65. The calculation is capped at 30 years of prospective service or your actual contributory membership, whichever is greater.

Your benefit will also depend on your final super salary and when you joined CSS. If you have less than 20 years’ contributory membership, and a Benefit Classification Certificate (BCC)* applies to you, your benefit may be reduced.

CSS Death and Invalidity benefits

*A BCC may have been issued upon you joining CSS if your entry medical examination identified an existing medical condition that may have affected your ability to reach your maximum retiring age. A BCC ceases to apply after 20 years of contributory membership. A BCC may be issued later if it is found that you failed to disclose information or provided false or misleading information relating to a condition that risked your ability to reach maximum retiring age.

When you’re ready to retire

There are a number of ways you can withdraw your super in retirement, and how you access your money will depend on your specific circumstances. Depending on your circumstances, you’ll generally be entitled to claim a lifetime fortnightly indexed benefit, and either a lifetime fortnightly non-indexed benefit, a lump sum or a combination of these.

  • Age retirement

    The indexed pension is generally calculated as a percentage of your final super salary. The percentage is determined by your age and length of contributory membership at the time you cease.

    You can also claim a non-indexed pension using both your accumulated member and productivity contributions, or just your accumulated member contributions, or take these components as a lump sum. This benefit is calculated as a percentage of the components you choose to use. The percentage is determined by your age. The non-indexed pension is limited to 20% of your final super salary if you retire at age 60 or more. This limit reduces if you retire before age 60. Any excess contributions will be payable as a lump sum.

  • Deferred Benefit

    The indexed pension will be calculated by multiplying your accumulated basic contributions by 2.5, then dividing the result by an age factor.

    You can also claim a non-indexed pension using your accumulated member and productivity contributions, or just your accumulated member contributions, or take these components as a lump sum. This pension is calculated as a percentage of the components you choose to use. The percentage used is determined by your age.

Plan retirement

We're your guide

As a CSS member you can access free education material to help you make the most of your super through webinars, videos and seminars, as well as financial planning* to help guide you through your questions.

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PSSap Ancillary Membership

This factsheet is for contributing CSS or PSS members who want to make super contributions in addition to the member contributions required by their scheme.

Fees and other costs

This document outlines the fees and costs that you may be charged. It forms part of the CSS Product Disclosure statement.