When Can I Access My Super?

The age you're eligible to access your super depends on which year you were born, with the earliest being 55 years old.

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In Australia, you can only access your super fund when you reach your preservation age, which starts at 55 years old, or when you retire. Your birth date will determine your preservation age.

What's my preservation age?

Your preservation age is the age at which you can access super if you have retired, or if you have started a transition to retirement pension. Your preservation age is calculated based on when you were born, as outlined in the table below:

Date of birthPreservation age
Before 1 July 196055
1 July 1960–30 June 196156
1 July 1961–30 June 196257
1 July 1962–30 June 196358
1 July 1963–30 June 196459
From 1 July 196460

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.
  • 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 http://www.moneysmart.gov.au or the ATO website at http://www.ato.gov.au/super. regarding this matter or simply phone the ATO on 13 10 20.

      I hope this helps.

      Have a great day!


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