Can I Access My Super Fund Early?

When Can I Access My Super?

Accessing Your Super Funds

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Those who have been making contributions to their super funds may have these lingering questions in mind: When can I access my super, and can I access my super early? What if I need my super now for personal reasons?

In Australia, you can only access your super fund when you reach the preservation age, which starts at 55 years old, or during retirement. The preservation age is concurrent to your birth date; from July 1960 for people at 55 years of age until June 1964 onwards for those at 60 years old.

However, there are certain circumstances in which an early access to your superannuation can be granted, provided that you have met the eligibility requirements and Centrelink has approved your application.

When is it possible to access my funds for an early release?

As stated above, there are two specific events when you can access your superannuation fund - when you turn 55 years old or if you are retiring from the workforce.

However, there are reasons or grounds that allow you to access your super fund earlier than the preservation age or retirement and you must meet the specific eligibility criteria to be have your application approved. These grounds include:

  • Specified compassionate grounds: You can make a claim for an early superannuation release on one or more of the following compassionate grounds:
    • Medical treatment
    • Medical treatment
    • Mortgage assistance
    • Home or motor vehicle modifications
    • Palliative care
    • Funeral assistance

    This is to stop the sale of your house, or to pay medical, disability, or funeral expenses.

  • Severe financial Hardship: If you are experiencing financial hardship and have been receiving income support from Centrelink for at least 26 weeks, you may be able to access your super early by contacting your superannuation directly.Transition to retirement is a government policy which enables you to have an account-based pension even while still working. There are certain requirements before you can be deemed eligible like reaching the preservation age, a minimum investment of $25,000, and more. For further details on these requirements, check with your financial adviser.
  • Temporary residents: Those who live temporarily in Australia can access their super fund; however, you cannot get an early release of your super based specified compassionate grounds. Events that would make you eligible to access your super are death, terminal illness, incapacity, unclaimed money payment or if you are leaving Australia for good. Claimed benefits have a 35% tax.
  • Retirement: The amount of cash you can get when leaving the working world would depend on your preservation age. Your preservation age will be concurrent to the year you were born.
Your Birth DatePreservation Age
Before July 196055
July 1960 – June196156
July 1961 – June 196257
July 1962 – June 196358
July 1963 – June 196459
After June 196460
  • Balance is less than $200: If you changed jobs and the contributions you have made is less than $200, then you will be granted access. Likewise is true if you have found your lost account with a balance of less than $200.
  • Changed status of employment: If you have become self-employed or unemployed and have money in your account which has contributions paid before July 1, 1999, you can access it. Law has granted that payments paid in before that date does not need to be kept until the preservation age.
  • Permanent disability and death: Death and permanent incapacity can also allow you access; provided that you have complete medical proof that you will be unable to work again.

Advantages and disadvantages of early release of your funds

To determine whether or not you should get an early release f your super, it is worthwhile to consider the advantages and disadvantages of doing so.


  • No additional loans: By taking money from your superannuation, you don’t have to borrow or make an extra loan to pay off your debts.
  • Peace of mind: By being able to pay your creditors, you will be saved from the constant harassment and threats by paying off any outstanding debts you have. You won’t also be in constant fear of having your car or house repossessed.
  • Control of your debts: By being able to pay your debts, you would be relieved of further stress. Moreover, you’ll be more in control over your debts.


  • Higher tax: When you access your super before your retirement you won’t be eligible for the lower tax breaks and will have to pay a higher amount in tax.
  • Less money for your retirement: As long as you don’t anticipate future debt problems, it should not be a cause of worry. However, any money taken from your super means lower money during your retirement.
  • Loss of protection: It should be noted that money in your super fund is protected from creditors. By taking them out of your fund, you are also taking the protection away.
  • Exposure to illegal schemes: By taking your money from your super fund, you are inviting trouble from illegal schemes. There have been stories where people have been exploited by charging them excessive rates during financial hardships.
  • Extra charges: Requesting the release of your superannuation may incur extra fees and charges.

When looking at things on a short-term basis, getting your super fund early may seem beneficial. However, extra caution should be taken before making that big decision. Be sure to explore other possible areas how you can solve any financial problems before getting your super early.

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16 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    KentFebruary 20, 2020

    I am about to loose my job, I am 56 years of age, born November 1963, I will be getting a package, that should last me until I get to my Super Preservation age of 59, I don’t entend to get another job – can I access my full fund at this time or only a proportion of it?

      Default Gravatar
      NikkiFebruary 21, 2020

      Hi Kent,

      Thanks for your comment and I hope you are doing well.

      As you are 56 years of age, this is a year over the preservation age of 55. This means you can access your superannuation fund when you are about to retire or stops working. According to our review, the most common conditions of release that allow you to access super benefits early are:

      • Reaching your preservation age and retiring
      • Reaching your preservation age and starting a transition to retirement pension while continuing to work
      • Reaching 65 years of age (even if you have not retired)
      • Being aged 60 to 64 years and ceasing an employment arrangement.
      • Passing away (in this case, your super death benefits will go to your nominated beneficiaries)

      Contact your superfund to know the full process of accessing your super. Should you have further questions, please feel free to message back anytime.


    Default Gravatar
    CarolJuly 19, 2019

    Hello. I am 62 years old nearly 63. I am going to retire at the end of this year. I would like to take a lump sum as I have reached my preservation age, will this be possible.

      Default Gravatar
      NikkiJuly 20, 2019

      Hi Carol,

      Thanks for your question. You can very well receive your super as a super income stream, super lump sum or a combination of both. Check with your fund to find out what options are available to you.

      The super withdrawal option that you choose may affect the amount of tax you pay and the amount of money you have for your retirement so check this with the Australian Taxation Office as well.

      Hope this was helpful. Don’t hesitate to message us back if you have more questions.


    Default Gravatar
    StuartDecember 12, 2018

    Hi I’m 58 years old and still working, I don’t make any contributions myself
    I need a fair bit of work done on my teeth am I able too take some of the funds from my super account

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MayDecember 18, 2018Staff

      Hi Stuart,

      Thanks for your question.

      I understand that you’d want to get access to your super funds. Generally, you can access your super when you reach the preservation age (which starts at 55 years old) or during retirement. However, these are not the only requirements, but you also need to meet specific eligibility criteria so you’ll be approved. The grounds you’d need to be mindful of includes:

      1. Specified compassionate grounds;
      2. Severe financial Hardship;
      3. Temporary residents;
      4. Retirement;
      5. Balance is less than $200;
      6. Changed status of employment;
      7. Permanent disability and death.

      Each of this ground is explained in detail above.

      You may also want to check the guide about accessing your super early, which you might find useful.

      I hope this helps.


    Default Gravatar
    BiancaJuly 24, 2018

    I want to pay for my dads funeral from my super fund care super as I’m going through hard ship

      Default Gravatar
      NikkiJuly 24, 2018

      Hi Bianca!

      Thanks for your message.

      Sorry to hear about your Dad’s funeral.

      Generally, you can use your savings from your Superfund after the age of 55.

    Default Gravatar
    TravisJune 2, 2018

    Is there any way I can transfer approximately $40,000 from a super industry account to a smsf and then use that money to invest in anything I choose?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniJune 3, 2018Staff

      Hi Travis,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      Basically, you just have to complete the rollover initiation request form to transfer whole balance of superannuation benefits to your self-managed super fund. Since you mentioned a certain amount to transfer, I suggest that you visit Australian Securities and Investments Commission website at or the ATO website at regarding this matter or simply phone the ATO on 13 10 20.

      I hope this helps.

      Have a great day!


    Default Gravatar
    JohnMay 11, 2018

    Hi, I’m turning 60 at the end of the year.
    Because of failing health I took a voluntary redundancy 2 years ago and moved overseas for a better life, whilst I still had some health.
    I’m wanting to get my super as soon as I turn 60 I believe Tax free.
    I have been living on my savings and they are running real low.
    I can not afford any type of lifestyle in Australia compared to where I am.
    Is waiting till 60 the best option and how long would it take for me to access my money then.
    I’d love to get my hands on $20k now but I don’t think that’s feasible.

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniMay 11, 2018Staff

      Hi John,

      Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.

      You can access your super when you reach your ‘preservation age’. This is the minimum age, set by law, that your super must be ‘preserved’ until. Your preservation age is currently between 55 and 60, depending on when you were born.

      When you reach preservation age, you can access your super as long as you are permanently retired (or reached age 65). If you haven’t permanently retired, you can still access part of your super via a transition to retirement pension.

      For more info on how you can cash in your super, please refer to ATO’s guide in claiming your super.

      I hope this helps.

      Have a great day!


    Default Gravatar
    JenNovember 9, 2017

    I am wondering if I can access my super early to buy a car I am 57 on salary .

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      HaroldNovember 9, 2017Staff

      Hi Jen,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      There are two specific events when you can access your superannuation fund – when you turn 55 years old or if you are retiring from the workforce. As per checking you are at the right page please check further information provided above.

      I hope this information has helped.


    Default Gravatar
    GarySeptember 25, 2017

    I am now 57 I have a few different supers can I redraw early for health reasons I may have to retire early so how much can I take and what tax is involved I want to pay off home so I don’t lose what I’ve worked for ?

      Default Gravatar
      LiezlSeptember 25, 2017

      Hi Gary,

      Thanks for reaching out. The compassionate medical reason is one of the valid grounds for the early release of superannuation. You or the dependent must have: a life-threatening injury or illness, acute or chronic pain, or acute or chronic mental illness. The Australian Government Department of Human Services (DHS) will review the application and release of funds and they recommend talking to an independent financial advisor before you apply for early release of super. You may refer to Services Australia’s early release of superannuation guide to know how to apply.

      As for how tax applies to your super withdrawal, you may check ATO’s guidelines.


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