When Can I Access My Super?

Accessing Your Super Funds

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.

Need help with your superannuation fund or SMSF? Receive a consultation

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.

Advantages

  • 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.

Disadvantages

  • 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.

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Related Posts

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Privacy & Cookies Policy and Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy.

10 Responses

  1. 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

    • finder Customer Care
      NikkiJuly 24, 2018Staff

      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.

  2. 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?

    • finder 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!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  3. 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.

    • finder 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 check out this link.

      I hope this helps.

      Have a great day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  4. Default Gravatar
    JenNovember 9, 2017

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

    • finder 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.

      Cheers,
      Harold

  5. 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. 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 releasing of funds and they recommend talking to an independent financial advisor before you apply for early release of super. You may refer to this page for the instructions on how to apply.

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

      Cheers,
      Liezl

Ask a question
Go to site